I know I preach self-care a lot but I’ve been noticing a trend lately that I think is a great illustration of practical self-care. And the moral is that practicing self-care isn’t always doing what you want.
Wait – boring self-care???
“Boring self-care” is the kind that doesn’t look glamorous, it doesn’t translate well to Instagram, but it’s the little things you do that keep your life balanced. Now this isn’t always fun to do, and it isn’t the self-care we’ve seen branded or commodified, but things like going to bed on time, eating well, being intentional about time alone and with people are all important.
Recently I saw cool art on Instagram promoting boring self-care such as doing dishes, taking medication, unfollowing social media accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, letting yourself not be busy, or doing laundry. (check out @makedaisychains y’all)
I have friends that practice self-care in so many different ways – yoga, booking one night a week off to not be social, journaling, running in nature, snowboarding, photography. The range is endless – but the little everyday things really add up.
An important aspect of self-care to keep in mind is is practicing it before you hit a breaking point – which can be part of the boring aspect. Because it might not feel important or necessary or fun – but preventing bigger issues coming up is a main function of self-care.
Duck, Duck, Extrovert
As an extrovert my boring self-care sometimes means having time alone. It’s not boring because I can’t find fun things to do alone – it’s because FOMO is real and I don’t want to miss fun things friends might be doing. When left to my own devices I’ll spend days or even weeks without proper alone time.
I currently have the pleasure of living in community with five really wonderful girls and this past weekend I took a shower and realized that was the longest I’d been alone in almost two weeks. Which. Is. Wild. I’m an extrovert and I love people but y’all shouldn’t go two weeks without time to yourself. Sometimes you gotta spend time with you.
Maybe you already do it, maybe it needs to be added to the routine – but be intentional about spending quality time with people. Go for walks, go out for ice cream, go to brunch – build relationships because they are important and so good for you. But also give yourself time alone.
But here is where boring self-care comes in. Sometimes I have to say no. I can’t let FOMO make me go on every possible outing, adventure and ice cream run (well, maybe every ice cream run). The point is sometimes I have to learn to say no. Maybe if you’re an introvert sometimes that means forcing yourself to say yes because a balance of time to yourself and time with people is important.
Outer Space and Inner Space
In the last few days of being intentional about giving myself space I’ve noticed that my ability to process thoughts, feelings, and produce creative ideas is better when I’m alone. Even just brainstorming this blog and giving my mind time to wonder and centre myself is easier when I give myself space to be alone.
This might seem obvious to you if you’re an introvert, or simply someone who doesn’t think spending time with people, either in person or on the phone every waking moment for two weeks is a good idea. But I really love people and it’s easy for me.
Brené Brown talks about being busy as something people do to numb themselves and avoid things they don’t want to face. In her most recent book, Braving The Wilderness she writes, ‘Crazy-busy’ is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us.”
When I know my pattern is to over socialize and not take space some of the most important self-care I can practice is to do the ‘boring’ thing and create that space. Space to think and feel and process and create, and to not be busy.
Maybe you relate or maybe it’s totally foreign but I would encourage you to think about what boring self-care you need to do.
Are you avoiding either spending time with people or yourself? Community is a lovely thing and I’m beyond excited to be where I am – but remembering to balance fun with the potentially boring but meaningful self-care is what will make me a better version of myself. What do you need to be doing?