If you’ve been hanging out here awhile then you know that my motto for self-care is “Ask yourself what you need.” And then do that thing. If you check out my Self-Love Workbook then you’ll see that my brand of self-care isn’t about manicures and vacations – but actionable steps that can improve your life, tough self-love.
We’ve got to show a little tough love to ourselves on occasion. Sometimes we need to do something but we don’t want to do it. So we push it to the back-burner. There’s a lot of self-care that’s hard, that’s painful, and that stirs up a lot of unpleasant emotions and feelings. We need to do those things anyway. As someone that has anxiety and depression – it’s even more difficult to do some of those essential things. They trigger that anxious response and we tell ourselves that because it makes us feel bad initially – it can’t be self-care. I’ve used that excuse. I’d like for my self-care to be only the things that comfort me and make me feel good ALL THE TIME. But that’s not life.
We’ve got to do things that are for our greater good even when they’re scary and unpleasant.
Here are some ways to practice tough self-love.
Control your social media.
Social media can trigger a lot of different emotions. You know that family member you can’t stand and then you go and hate-scroll through their page? Yeah, don’t do that. Same thing with your exes or former friends. Or that person who is always trying to start debates about stupid stuff? Boundaries! Resist the urge to read comments on articles if they’re going to bum you out and despair humanity.
Unfollow, unlike, unjoin people/pages/groups that aren’t having a positive effect on your life. Create a social media atmosphere that contributes something positive to your life. “Like” positive and inspiring Facebook pages, join groups that you’re excited to be part of, *ahem* the Self-Care Circle, and let go of those friends, family, and acquaintances that feel toxic.
Take control of your finances.
This one can be really tough, especially if you’re already living paycheck to paycheck. If you’re struggling, ask for help and see if there are any resources in your community that can assist you. If your problem is money management – focus on the ways you can start getting better at it. Make it fun, use printables, calendars, planners, spreadsheets, charts and give yourself a budget that you’re able to follow.
Don’t live in your victimhood.
This one is tough – there’s a thin line between honoring your story and the experiences that have created you – and letting it be all that you are. It’s so tempting to sometimes stay in that space of hurt and trauma because it’s something you’ve identified with for so long. Find ways to be something more than just your hurts.
Go to therapy.
It feels so good to talk to someone. Therapy is a huge help because it allows you a safe container for your feelings. If seeing a therapist in person stresses you out or makes you feel uncomfortable – there are alternatives. There are online programs like BetterHelp and TalkSpace that will allow you to text or video chat with a real-life therapist. You can also check out life coaches, there are many that focus on self-love, self-care, and all that good stuff.
Stop comparing yourself, especially on social media.
I’m not immune to it! All of those witchy people on Instagram with their perfectly set up altars and their crystals, and everything looks perfect? Even I get a little envious. I tried to do it once, I was honoring the full moon and trying to make everything look picture-perfect and it completely took me out of the zone, there wasn’t any magic behind it – it helped me stop comparing. Those picture-perfect images are not what real life is made of.
Work on your bad habits.
We all have crappy habits that we know aren’t good for us. Maybe it’s time to quit smoking or stop gossiping at work. None of us are perfect, we have flaws and character defects and that’s okay, that’s why we’re human. There’s nothing wrong with a little self-improvement and personal growth, so don’t be ashamed to challenge those things about yourself and work on changing them.
Get rid of things you no longer need.
When I moved out of my apartment and into my house – I realized how much junk I was holding onto. Clothes that didn’t fit, things from my childhood, love-letters from people I no longer even liked. I let it go, and it felt wonderful. Every month, take a trash bag and fill it up with things that it’s time to let go of. Sell them, give them away, throw them away – make space for better things.
Make a doctor’s appointment.
Or dentist, lady-doctor, eye-doctor – what have you. This one is my Goliath. I have what they call “white coat hypertension” which means that when I go to the doctor or dentist I get so anxious and panicky that my blood pressure rises. I’m trying to work on it and even have a dentist’s appointment next week! We can do this!
Clean out your phone.
If you have unpleasant reminders of people on your phone in pictures, chat threads, or just contact info – get rid of it. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it now – but it’s something that triggers you – move them to google drive or save them somewhere out of the way where you won’t be reminded of it on a frequent basis. Also – you are allowed to block people. Free yourself. And stop texting that person you know is bad for you – it’s not worth it.
Create boundaries with people.
Say no. Stop being around people that suck the life out of you. Find new friends that get you without you constantly having to justify who you are. Find love like that too, you don’t deserve anything less. Ask for what you need.
Learn how to stick up for yourself. If someone is infringing on your boundaries or making you uncomfortable – say so!
If you feel stuck in life, change things up. If your job is sucking the life out of you and you feel like you’re trading your soul for a paycheck – find a new job. It’s scary, terrifying even, but don’t settle for something that makes you unhappy. Same goes for relationships, family situations, and life in general. If something isn’t working – try something new.
Do the hard stuff.
Take a look at your life. Ask yourself what you hate about it. Then fix that thing. There’s always something you can do to make a situation easier. Even when it seems hopeless or you feel like you don’t have options – you do. In those situations sometimes the only thing you can do is ask for help. So ask.
Give yourself pep-talks.
My secret weapon for doing the things I don’t want to do – is how I talk to myself. “You’re doing so good.” is my mantra for believing in myself. When it comes to the difficult self-care, go into Mom-Mode, imagine you’re having to explain to a kid why x is good for them. You don’t yell and verbally beat them up – you make it sound positive, you focus on the benefits, and you’re reassuring – that’s how I treat myself.