Self-care vs. Self-indulgence

 I have this problem where what I want, and what I actually need rarely line up. What I feel like doing is almost never what I actually need to be doing. I think it is a pretty common problem. What really matters though is not how we feel, but rather how we act. I spent years so discontent with myself and my life. I thought I knew how to fix it, but I didn’t. I thought the reason I was unhappy was because my life circumstances weren’t allowing me to do what I needed to feel better.

If I could just stay in bed with no one bothering me for just a day or two, then I would feel better. If I could just eat whatever I wanted for a day or two, surely I would feel better. If I could get some new clothes and home décor, that would help. If I got more breaks from my kids I could manage so much better. I’m just too overwhelmed, tuning out to Netflix all night will definitely help. A cookie will help. Working more might help. Staying home full time is the answer. I just want to sleep. A spray tan will for sure improve things, right? The list went on and on.  Turns out doing what I felt like doing didn’t dig me out of the hole I was living in.

The truth is I did need something. I needed to show up to my life. I needed to be present. I needed to REALLY take care of myself rather than constantly indulging myself. This difference is the key.
The thing about staying in bed, binge watching shows, eating all I craved, buying new things,  over scheduling myself to feel fulfilled, and acting how I felt like acting all the time is that it was all an elaborate escape plan rather than a solution. I didn’t come out of these things feeling renewed and ready to work hard at life. I felt a temporary escape from the hell I was living in. A band-aid on a bullet hole, as T Swift would say. I claimed it was needed “me time” but in reality it was just a temporary hiding place. Self indulgence at its best.

Now I fight every single day to act as I should, rather than as I feel. It can be exhausting. Loving my kids when I don’t feel like it, serving others when I just don’t want to, not clicking “add to cart”, and passing on junk food… We all have to do 500 things a day we don’t want to do. So how do we keep our cup full when we constantly have to dump it out? SELF CARE. Real, quality care.

When I feel completely at my edge, I open my mouth now. I ask for help. I admit I need a nap. I spend my alone time reading, writing, and learning new things. Take a class. Pick up a new hobby. Spend quality time with yourself. Bettering yourself. Exercise. Get outside. Work on a creative project. Get to know yourself better. Being overwhelmed, overworked and over tired is life, but true self care is vital for survival. When you use your time wisely you do return to your life ready to fight! You have something to give. You have to be well to be able to serve those around you. The oxygen mask has to be on you to enable you to save someone else. It isn’t selfish and it isn’t a waste. It is survival.

We might not NEED a mani/pedi, the latest trends in fashion or a girl’s weekend in NYC, but we do need to have a healthy relationship with ourselves and to make our wellness a priority.  Calm down. I am not condemning any of those activities. We all know I religiously keep up with the Kardashians, spend an embarrassing amount of time on my eyelashes, and if the opportunity arose to run away with my friends for a weekend I would have my bags packed! My point is to maybe try a little harder to take care of ourselves in the way we need, even when it isn’t the way we want.

xoxo Julie


  1. I had quite a moment related to this last week. I went in to convenient care to get checked for a sore throat, and when the doctor was examining me he asked what I was feeling and what brought me in. Something about having him look straight at my face, askin how I felt, with intent to only focus on me and to help me --- I almost started crying --- which was a little embarrassing but took me totally by surprise because I didn't feel emotional going in! I've thought about it a lot and have realized how powerful (and real and vulnerable) it feels to genuinely be asked that question, when some one is focused solely on you and truly wants to know. I want to do that for other people more often. For my husband. For my kids. Often my kids need it at a time that feels really inconvenient but if I can get myself to just focus on them it means all the world. I've also realized I need to try to catch myself some meaningful therapy before I get to the brink like you mentioned. (Phew! Sharing all the feelings here tonight.)

  2. Ok I'm thinking more thoughts here that want to be shared. :) After I had W there was some dark days for me, and I had so many of the 'it would be better if ...' thoughts. It was so heavy. I felt like my situation was so hard and nothing was going to change. I wanted B to rescue me. I wanted my family to come and rescue me. I wanted my neighbor to rescue me, and on and on. Then I was able to have a realization after pleading for help in prayer that I have already been rescued. (I know it's not testimony sharing time ... I'll be brief) it was knowing Christ has already borne my grief that finally helped me to stand a little easier. That thought does help me often still when I'm down in the trenches. We are truly not alone in life.

  3. This and your Periscopes have got me thinking today. I'm sick so I'm feeling like I can veg out and eat crap but then I get frustrated that I'm not losing my baby weight and I'm not feeling connected with my kids. So I want to look into more about self-care. Got any reading you would recommend? I'm LDS too so I'm good with talks and or church stuff as well as other reading.