On Self-Care and Nurturing

“I like to be surrounded by splendid things.” Freddie Mercury

As children, we are taught not to be prideful, to rid ourselves of ego, not to let our successes “go to our head.” Obviously, this is meant to keep us from becoming conceited, overly self-involved assholes. In some cases, though, I think we lose sight of the importance of taking care of oneself, both physically and mentally. 

As I move down the path toward recovery from my eating disorder, I am continually reminding myself that I am worth the effort. When in the grips of something like anorexia, a voice in your head is incessantly screaming about what a disgusting, low-life piece of shit you are. You feel that you don’t deserve to eat and when you do, you experience intense, irrational guilt. I believe that an enormous aspect of recovery involves learning how to appropriately care for and nurture yourself.

In fact, nearly everyone could use a little bit of self-nurturance. 

Choices of ways to nurture oneself are bound to be a little different for each individual, but the basic idea is to take time to partake in little indulgences and pleasures. I find this is especially important when going through a difficult period of life. When everything feels chaotic, painful or out of control, that is when you need to take a moment to yourself.

My mom always used to say that when I was feeling sad I should take a bath or shower then spread my neck and shoulders with a yummy scented lotion. Such a simple idea! No, this isn’t going to pull you out of an episode of depression or solve a major life dilemma, but something about feeling clean and good-smelling inhabits a person with just the slightest little boost of confidence and the feeling that, “yeah, I really do deserve to be taken care of.”

For me this means: taking the time to use a hair mask or paint my nails, buying my favorite coffee even if it costs a little more, wearing clothes that make me feel pretty, and buying new and flavorful foods.

For more on the topic, I highly recommend a book given to me by my best friend at college, “Transformation Soup: Healing for the Splendidly Imperfect” by Sark.

“…Paint stars on your ceiling; make noises when you eat; put a clown nose on when you drive; wear a flower behind your ear; light candles every night; send yourself (or anyone else) a bouquet of yellow tulips; use your best dishes every day, especially when you eat in front of the refrigerator.” From “When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair” by Geneen Roth

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