Real true radical self care is a shit show! It’s messy and not Instagram worthy. It’s saying yes, and then saying no, its seeming flaky and unreliable. It’s asking “who’s going to be over there?” When you get an invite because, lets be honest certain people’s energy can be very suspect. Radical self care is ugly and you probably look and feel your ugliest while doing it. It is extremely inconvenient, and it is especially inconvenient to the people around you, because they need you to be there for them, for your commitments, for the promises you made before you realized how toxic of a head space you were in when you made them.
Sometimes thinking of all the things you have to take off your plate to have a REAL day off with no distractions is too overwhelming so you don’t do it, you don’t do any of it.
Most recommendations for self care require you to do something, to find a part of your “happy self” all of a sudden just because you declared it “self care day”
Radical self care requires experts and tools, I believe we all have the capacity to take a break, put on our email away message and take a break for a day or a week. But radical self care is a lifestyle change, that’s ugly and painful before it becomes flowery, coconuts, Shea butter and massages.
In a saner world, self-care wouldn’t be a sort of ‘last resort.’ I feel like the world we currently live in only sees the need for self-care when the exhaustion is just short of killing us, and we need a life altering break from the unbearable pressure of life, work, and/or running a business.
What I’ve come to realize is that self care is not a spa date for an hour, it’s not at the bottom of bottomless mimosa during a chill Saturday brunch, it’s not sitting in the bathtub for hours with candles listing to Jill Scott (although that sounds amazing). From my personal experience, being someone who is a “yes” person, who pushes my schedule to the limit, and who has been battling a year of burnout and exhaustion, radical self care starts with being radically honest with yourself about what you really want, what you hate, and understanding the roll that you personally played in creating this toxic environment that you are now constantly trying to escape from. Radical self care requires deep work and some ugly crying!
It also requires setting boundaries that if you were good at setting boundaries to begin with you may not be at this very point.
I feel like I’m painting this really bleak picture, but my goal with writing this, was to share a different perspective then what is usually thrown at us on social. So for some, self-care entails creating and sticking to daily nutrition and exercise routines, while avoiding debts as much as possible. Others practice self-care by facing their problems head-on, i.e., turning the distraction into a solution.
Either way, self-care doesn’t come easy. It takes a great deal of discipline and conviction to pull it off. For example, conditioning your mind to avoid unnecessary exhaustion by taking calculated breaks to do things that relax you. This could be a hot bath while enjoying your favorite Lizzo song, or if shit is really real, heading to the closet break room to F up some shit!
What radical self-care should be is making a decision to create a life we are always actually living in at all times. Taking the ebb and flow of it, and still showing up for ourselves every single day. It sounds simple, yes. But it is really not – it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (recovering from a c-section is at the top of that list), considering that you are forced to do the things you usually want to avoid.
Self-care involves an honest assessment of your failures and disappointments with the aim of re-strategizing. These moves will not bring instant gratifications for you or others. You WILL offend a lot of people and make sacrifices for others. You will lose some people and possibly some contracts, and money, for the sake of not having to stand on a roof top and explain to everyone that right now you are choosing your damn self. You will have to live on your terms only – without taking a cue from anyone else.
Radical self-care means abolishing normalcy for uniqueness. It would be best if you were ready to walk and work alone. Perhaps, you think it’s about getting your dream body and staying in touch with your circle of friends – it is not! Radical self-care will force you to decide how motivated you are to maximize your potential and crush every single goal you have set. Or it will also test your will and comfort to do absolutely nothing to clear your mind and body so that whenever you are on the other side of this, creativity can begin to flow through you again.
I don’t think there is a finish line to this, you just get better at recognizing when the need for self-care creeps in and you begin to address it daily with how you start to show-up for your life.
Let’s stop glamorizing and prioritizing consumer self-care over actual personal radical self-care. The latter is that part where you parent yourself and take crucial decisions that determine your mental and physical wellness – both in the long and short runs. It means realizing that life’s stringent and unreasonable demands are not enough reasons to turn into a chronic procrastinator, drunk, or pot head.
You want to take care of yourself lovingly, rather than a quick fix. You are not broken, as tv and online ad’s many persuade you to believe, you are human. Live and Love the human experience. After all, the former solves almost all the problems you tried to ‘fix’ initially.
Radical self care means taking your super women or man cape off and just being your own hero! Radical self-care exposes and equips you to be your inner hero. You are rewiring yourself to surmount the usual life challenges automatically. It means reviewing your list of goals and re-prioritizing where necessary. You start meeting your personal needs rather than waiting for others to meet them.
With radical self-care, you understand who you should, and are meant to be, and from my experience this is a step you take everyday. And understandably, figuring it all out as you go is messy. You only need to start now – with those challenges staring right at you. The rest will come naturally and at the right time.