Everyone is always going on about self-care. We understand that it is important to take breaks, to rest, to do something nice for our mental health. I sometimes find that “traditional” self-care measures make me feel guilty.

When I settle in for an hour-long massage, my mind mentally begins a countdown. While I’m not incapacitated by anxiety, my mind cannot forget that I’m unreachable for an hour–that if my kids get sick or hurt, I won’t get that message for up to sixty whole minutes. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the massage; I do. But, as the only local parent (my husband works out of town each day) without any family around, it does cross my mind that I’m sacrificing my availability for my self-care.

I feel the same way about manicures and pedicures. While I can check my phone and be present for any emergencies, I find that I don’t necessarily enjoy the process. It’s nice to get my nails done, but it’s an extravagance that I don’t really need, and I don’t find it ridiculously enjoyable. So, it feels like I’m sacrificing hard-earned money for something that’s frivolous.

I’ve really tried to think of quality self-care items for myself, and I’ve done a much better job over recent months of choosing things that feel like an investment in my long-term wellbeing. I think of therapy as one of these things. My trainer and workout sessions are another. This blog. Meditation, when I remember to do it.

And, of course, there are the other more frivolous things—like the photofacial I got done today (OMG. This is my first one ever, and I may already be addicted). But, that feels like an investment in my longterm skin health, which is something I can get behind. Day 31.

Published by Quitter

I’m a college professor, wife, and mother of 2 small kids. I’m on a recovery journey 20 years in the making.

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