Why is Self-Care Such a Grind?

We all know self-care is critical for staying balanced in a totally unbalanced, whacked out world. So why does it seem like way too much work?

There?s lots of science that explains this, and I even wrote a blog about it back in 2021.

( Why Health Habits Fail | Want to understand why every time you try something new, the results don?t last? ) Which I conveniently forgot about as I got back to the business of living my own busy life.

But then something interesting happened. One of my weekly accountability partners changed the format of our meeting. We have a template we use where we write down three things we?re going to accomplish during the week. Nothing new there.

The change that was adopted was a new topic added called REJUVENATION. Three things we committed to doing for ourselves.

I chose:

  1. Meditation 7 days
  2. Yoga 1 day
  3. French lessons on Duo app 7 days

We also give ourselves a percentage rating for both biz and personal goals. If I went to yoga, I gave myself 100%. If I didn?t, it was 0%. I became more consistent with my commitments to self-care, but I still wasn?t loving it.

I did it because the overachieving perfectionist in me wanted that 100%. But even though I was making my goals (mostly), there was a little resentment at ?having to do it.?

Rejuvenation felt like three more chores on my long list of things to do.

I kept those three things on my list for months. There was a lot of the usual one step forward one step back happening. But I kept them on the list. For months not a lot seemed to be happening. Yoga was easy because it was only once a week. The meditation wasn?t too hard either because the app I use (Balance) lets you pick how long you want to meditate. So, if I was pressed for time, I?d do five minutes and check it off my list.

French was harder. I got frustrated and wanted to give up but kept pushing forward because it was on the list. And as it happens, it was the first thing to show me that something was starting to change. I was remembering things I had previously struggled with. I could read French and have a general idea of what was being said. I picked up on it when it would pop up on tv shows. Sweet progress! With meditation, I began to pick a track for what I needed in the moment rather than an obligatory 5-minute check-in.

Self-care had somehow turned into something I wanted to do. Not something I had to do. I was benefiting from the health promoting properties of meditation and yoga and learning something new that I?d chosen for myself.

As I wrote in my earlier blog, one of the main reasons healthy habits don’t stick is that we’re conditioned to expect quick results. When we don’t see immediate changes, we feel discouraged and seek out something new or different. This constant cycle of starting and stopping prevents us from experiencing the long-term benefits of healthy choices.

Pushing through the time commitment phobia and my own stubbornness got me to the other side. The side where self-care is as rewarding and magical as it always promised to be.

What three things will you commit to for the next few months? I?d love to hear what you think.

Enjoy the summer months,

Dr. Kat