When Self-Care Becomes Toxic

I’m totally guilty of this.  We all know the seasons of life when our focus on wellness/health/healing, comes naturally.  Perhaps you’re focused on a specific goal:  trying to conceive, training for an event, weight optimization etc.

The list is well intentioned and it’s created with great enthusiasm…but it’s only sustainable for so long.  During these times of focus, the self-care to do list can become REALLY lengthy and really overwhelming.

I’m talking about those rituals and routines that we would all love to engage in on a regular basis *if* we had all the time in the world, could eliminate outside stressors and distractions, had unlimited funding, resources and support, boundless motivation etc. etc. etc.

Things like:

  • getting at least eight hours of quality sleep every night
  • eliminating blue light/screen time before bed
  • waking up with meditation, movement, journaling and time to read inspiring content and continuing education
  • regular vigorous exercise in communion with gentle movement for just the right balance of stress reduction
  • taking daily vitamins and supplements
  • eating an organic whole foods-planted based diet free of processed foods
  • minimizing caffeine, sugar, alcohol
  • waking with lemon water
  • making time for play/fun and connection
  • eliminating environmental toxic burden from daily stress to cleaning products
  • making your own bath and beauty products
  • optimizing your micro biome
  • making the time to engage in complementary therapies: acupuncture, massage, therapy etc.,
  • making time for your relationships
  • putting the screens aways and being fully present with your child, children, spouse, family, friend(s) etc. etc. etc. etc.

Oh. My. Gosh.  The list goes on and on and on and on.

And for people who are proactive, motivated individuals this list can become really extensive.

It can start from the moment you wake up…drinking the warm lemon water and sitting on the squatty potty while meditating, journaling and reciting inspiring mantras (is this just me—hah!?) to the moment you go to sleep which might involve that final round of meditation and daily gratitude.

If it sounds like a full-time job, if it makes your heart race just a little bit reading this list…well, I’m not surprised.

And, does this extensive list of “self-care to dos” take the pleasure right out of self-care AND increase your stress level all at once?

Well, yes…I’m willing to say that it can and does…if you’re not mindful (oh, yes, mindfulness.  Another thing on the list!)

So, what happens when this self-care routine becomes stressful?  When it starts to feel like an exhausting burden? When it goes from fueling you to frying you?

I can tell you.  The pendulum swings in the opposite direction in an effort to restore equilibrium and we revolt a bit…neglecting the very things we were so passionately pursuing and attempting to maintain because it’s simply not sustainable.  Plain and simple.

This is a work in progress for us all.  We are always evolving.

One of the most important things to remember is that what’s right for us on any given day, may not be the same thing that’s right for the next day, or week, or month.

As women, hormones ebb and flow.  We must work with them and with our bodies as opposed to against them in an effort to achieve wellness—whether you are trying to conceive, pregnant or postpartum—this message applies to us all.

And, I’m working on this too.  In an effort to lead by example, I’m taking my own advice this weekend.

I’ll be honest. I’m a bit fried.  4 AM wake-ups and an extensive list of wellness to-dos, life to-dos, in combination with loads of eustress and distress lately have culminated to a revolt.

My revolt is taking the form of resistance toward everything from my fitness to mindfulness, supplements and diet.

Yikes!  I think I’ve really pissed myself off—haha!

And having been here before, knowing this is what I can expect, I’m just settling into it.

Instead of fighting it, I’m allowing myself to revolt (kind of like a pouting toddler or enraged teen) in order to regroup and create a more sustainable, realistic set of wellness goals going into this new week.

But, like any good parent, I’m instituting some boundaries and ensuring that the revolt is time limited.  I will indulge it for one more day while reflecting on how to use this information and experience to create positive change.

So, as we look toward a new week, my challenge for us all is to create sustainable, nourishing, energizing and loving wellness wishes and intentions…

Hang in there!  It’s hard work to take care of ourselves.   Here are a few ideas on how you can take a break today!

50 Ways to Take a Break

Have you been here before?  Does this resonate with you?  If so, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned through your own process!


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