Updated: May 17
Feeling the weight of work deadlines, taking care of aging parents, 592 unanswered emails, having nothing to wear to a friend's wedding, and the energy-zapping, body-altering descent into menopause, an afternoon of retail therapy was just what my inner therapist suggested. Clearly, I was in need of some self-care and surely I deserved to enjoy those things that could get me there. I came home home like a triumphant warrior, pleased with the spoils of my victory. I washed my face with goats milk, applied the facial mask with ashwagandha and Vitamin C, preciously dabbed the anti-aging eye cream, and the face serum with hyaluronic acid, indulgently lathering my skin in a lavender body lotion. For a moment I was relaxed. I smelled like a spa - the fragrance of self-care. Almost immediately after my ritual of skin care was done, I felt pangs of distress at the list of unfinished tasks, which I now had less time to focus on due to my shopping trip and subsequent product application frenzy. I told myself it was needless guilt, and that this was something I deserved. In the days ahead, I derived less and less pleasure from the creams, and facial rollers, and serums. These luxurious items became normalized as part of my daily routine - a routine that still had the same amount of stress as it always had, only now with a MUCH larger credit card bill. In a world that is hell-bent on having you continually spend - nothing is sacred - not even inner peace. It's nice to have nice products, no one is denying that, but self-care is more than skin-deep.
What I quickly learned is that true Self-Care comes from managing stress & learning to balance the demands. No amount of bubble bath can wash away poor sleep and negative health habits. What we all deserve is Wellness. Wellness is the quality of your life, based on your state of health. This means taking active steps towards possessing positive mental, emotional, AND physical health. When we take care of these 3 areas of health, we create a strong, internal support system. The stronger a structure is, the more weight (or stress) it can handle. A house will withstand a thunderstorm much better than a tent. So when we talk about self-care, the same is true. ASK YOURSELF: Are the steps I'm taking building me a better, stronger house, or am I just painting the sides of the tent in pretty colors and adding flowers? Nicole Lerario is a stress management coach and wellness speaker whose work is informed through her studies in bodywork, yoga, tea and meditation. She is available for talks, workshops and one-to-one coaching. If interested, contact @ FullCupLifeCoach@gmail.com PS: Let's Share! Comment below on what you do to strengthen your resistance to stress. #consciouscommunitea