Self-care has become trendy; there are 4.6 million #treatyoself posts on Instagram alone.
As you scroll through the posts, you see a lot of food; pastries, desserts, pizza. Good food can definitely be considered self care. Especially as a mother, it can be difficult to fit in a satisfying meal amongst the chaos. But when does this cross the line into self-sabotage?
I use food as a comfort, like a lot of people. Whenever I am worried, anxious or stressed, I’ll reach for something sweet. In the moment, I feel so much better. Until the sugar crash hits me and I feel more drained than I did before. Or all the greasy deliciousness of a pizza makes me bloated and uncomfortable 30 minutes later.
It’s a dangerous game to start classing unhealthy binge eating as self care. Sometimes self-care absolutely calls for a homemade batch of cookies, a steaming hot pizza delivered to your door and eaten in bed, but it’s also important to notice when these acts are detrimental. When it’s your new norm to eat takeaway, grab a few cookies whenever you pass the pantry, or turn to food when you’re upset, you are forming unhealthy habits.
I’ve fallen into this trap recently. With never ending winter colds and stomach bugs sweeping through our household, I’ve been extremely complacent with what I’m putting into my body. I’ve also skipped my planned workouts because I wanted to nap, have a lazy day or felt too tired. Taking a break is important, treating yourself with yummy foods is important; but everyday isn’t a treat, and if you’re left feeling worse than before, have you really cared for yourself?
If you find yourself turning to food when a stressful situation hits, ask yourself what you’re feeling. Similarly to alcohol, or drugs, food can be used to block out something unpleasant and serve as an enjoyable distraction. Instead of continuing to bury yourself in food, take a look at what triggered you to eat, and see if you can work through it without the crutch of food. Perhaps you meditate for 5 minutes, or put on your favourite song and dance your worries away.
Self-care should make you feel good. Caring for yourself can be a sacred soothing act, if you let it. My favourite acts of self-care are taking a hot bath once my daughter is asleep, reading a good book in bed, writing in my journal, or having a long yoga practice.
I’ve realised my ‘self-care’ habits lately have been making me feel worse, not better. I’m making a real effort to focus on eating healthy foods that make me feel energised, and moving my body often instead of being inactive and suffering with the resulting stiffness.
Take a look at how you treat yourself, are you truly caring for yourself? Have you protected some bad habits under the guise of self-care? Focus on feeling good, physically and mentally, and you’ll start craving different things; a fruit smoothie and yoga becomes more appealing than pizza and Netflix. As you adopt healthier habits, and start genuinely caring for yourself, the ripple effects of a healthier you will spread through every area of your life.
Roseanneis the blogger behind the honest and inspirational personal blog Roseanne Writes. Native to Scotland, now calling Canada home, Rosanne helps mothers navigate motherhood while remaining true to themselves. You can read Roseanne’s full bio, and follower her personal blog here.