Sometimes, Self-Care Doesn’t Feel Very Good

When most people talk about self-care they reference activities like taking a bubble bath, getting a massage, or spending time with friends. While all of these activities can be considered self-care activities – after all, they help you feel relaxed and fulfilled – the ways people take care of themselves doesn't just include things that feel good right away. Sometimes, in fact, self-care can feel really bad … at least at first.

Sometimes, self-care means taking care of your home in ways you just don’t want to. It means cleaning up the kids' toys before you go to bed because you know how anxious you feel when you wake up to a dirty house. It means spending money to fix the drain in the shower or replace the air vent filters or the leak in the ceiling instead of spending the money on your nails or a massage because you know that, even if it would feel good to get your nails done now, it’s just not a wise move to let your home fall apart.

self-care
Image via Unsplash/ Cassidy Phillips

{ MORE: 21 New Year's Resolutions Every Brand New Mom Should Make This Year }

Sometimes, self-care means taking care of your relationships – not just investing in those that are most valuable and healthy for you but, also, letting go of those that you know don’t work anymore. Letting go can feel so, so hard. Sometimes you might feel like you’re betraying someone you should be loyal to or cutting someone out of your life who's done a lot for you or turning your back on someone who is, or who you consider to be, family. The thing is, relationships either drain us or fill us and, if a relationship is draining you than letting go of it, no matter how painful it is to do, is a really important way to take care of yourself.

Sometimes, self-care means taking care of your work. It can mean working doubly hard during your day so you can go home without having to work after bedtime, or saying goodbye to a job that doesn’t fit with your life anymore. When you take care of work you take care of you.

Sometimes, all the time really, self-care means taking care of the you that’s deeper than a massage or manicure or pedicure could ever reach. It might mean finally calling your OB about the postpartum depression you’re worried you’ve been struggling with or it could mean working with a therapist to help you untangle things inside of you that have been tangled up for far too long. Self-care might mean trying a new medication or exercise routine or sleep schedule and, while none of these can feel particularly good right away, they’ll all help you enjoy life differently and more deeply over time.

{ MORE: Is Venting About Motherhood Actually Making You More Miserable? }

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As we move into 2019, take the opportunity to prioritize self-care this year. As you think about how you’ll care for yourself, consider opting into a few feel-good-right-away self-care activities and a few feel-bad-now-but-good-later self-care activities in order to do right by your number one fan!

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Sometimes, Self-Care Doesn’t Feel Very Good

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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