The message that we ‘should’ all engage in self care is everywhere. This can leave self care feeling like one more thing to put on our to do lists. At every turn – be it magazine covers or blog posts – we’re promised happiness and contentment if we simply follow “these 4 simple steps”.
Lists tell us what we ‘should do’ to keep life pleasurable, and they sound so easy: meal plan, make more lists, be more organized, etc. The information is presented in such a way that it leaves us feeling hopeful for a redefined outlook. However, simplified statements like this can also encourage the critical voice inside all of us to click on. Over time the volume of that critical voice turns up and we can become very unkind to ourselves (e.g., “I should have known better”; “That was a stupid thing to do”; “If I had just done it this way then none of that would have happened”).
So this self care post does not list all of the things you ‘should do’, but rather invites you to recognize the critical voice that might live inside you. This may not be easy and it may not be as simplistic as other posts you’ve read. However, we cannot make change to the manifestations of the critical voice until we make space for it. Notice the impact this voice has on you; notice how you feel in your body after it has spoken. Notice how willing you are to listen to the part of you that says “I’m exhausted”, “I’m missing my kids”, or “This is not fun anymore”. Make space to recognize the toll this voice is taking on you. It is only through recognizing the scope of this voice that you can begin to shift and change it.