Oftentimes when we hear the word “pamper” or “treat yourself” we are automatically tossed into a luxury hotel suite, soaking in a claw food tub and snacking on macarons with a glass of wine in hand. It’s often something of a quick escape, a way to momentarily forget about what ails you and insead enjoy a moment of peaceful relaxation.
Well I’m here to challenge that thinking. What if, instead of chocolate cake and face masks, the way to relax was in doing the hard work? That the way to pamper yourself isn’t a few minutes (or hours) of forgetting your life, but remembering exactly what you want it to look like? Deciding to carefully craft the type of life you want to lead, instead of trying to get away from the one you have?
Let’s think of it in terms of baking ingredients. Doing things like facials, taking a bath, or shopping is like butter, flour or eggs. Good enough on their own, sure. But it’s when you make it more complicated- growing a business, advancing a skill, or training for a marathon- that’s how you go from butter, flour and eggs to cookies. It’s through these more complex forms of self care and pampering that you create a true reward for yourself. It’s not always about what’s easy or even what’s relaxing. It’s about what sustains your life. Mixing relaxing with hard work that you do for yourself. A balanced diet, if you will.
How do you do it? You just gotta change the narrative. Folding clothes sucks. But having a neat closet and an easy time getting ready in the morning feels indulgent. It feels like shopping without spending a dime. Maybe you dress better or wear those earrings because now you can actually see them.
Sure, taking a relaxing bath now and again is nice. And sure, folding clothes every day sucks. But it’s all about mixing it up and balance. Listen to that inspirational podcast while you take your bath. Jam out to music while you fold your clothes. Don’t let being lazy with half-assed “I deserve this break” derail you from the things you want in life. A break is fine and needed and should be enjoyed! But putting a break and the easy thing over everything else is sometimes the worst type of self-care you can do. It’s self sabotage.
There are always exceptions to the rule. In 2018 I was pregnant and exhausted. I did FAR less work on the blog. And now in 2019 with a baby I’m taking it slow. But I didn’t give up. It’s not about working until you’re totally burnt out or stressed. It’s about taking small steps towards what you want in life. It’s never giving up. It’s finding a way to prioritize yourself and your goals however possible, even when it’s easier to flop yourself on the couch or make yourself busy with menial tasks like the dishes.
It’s about balancing those necessary types of self care (like dressing nice or doing your hair) with the mundane tasks that make your life work in a practical manner (like folding laundry, or doing it to begin with) and combining it with long term goals (like learning piano or growing a business) to create a life that truly feels fulfilling. It’s about not getting so bogged down with the everyday “urgencies” that you end up putting aside the goals and dreams you really want to achieve. We’ll always be busy. It’s about making time for what’s most important to you.
Self love and treating yourself can be eating an extra cupcake, or doing your hair, or re-decorating your home. There’s no one way to do it and by flopping on the couch with Netflix every day, you’re relaxing in a way that isn’t moving you forward. By all means, watch your tv shows. But do what you love too. Don’t be too scared or too busy or too tired to go for your dreams. Work towards them and you’ll see how amazing and fulfilling your life will become.