Take a nap but not if it isn’t needed. That’s the difference. If you need a nap, take it. That is self-care. But if you throw yourself down on the couch and channel surf until you pass out, that’s self-indulgence. This won’t help you. There are so many other things you could be doing than wasting time by wasting time. Read, research, complete a challenge in the book, take a walk, DANCE…anything is better than doing nothing. Take care of your needs but be aware of time suckers.
I love a good Netflix binge, but I do my best to limit the number of episodes of anything I am watching. I love cuddling up to a juicy episode of Lucifer, but I want to do that for as many nights as possible. Tom Ellis is a lovely man to watch- WOW. Okay, back to why we are here. We are gonna read through the difference between self-care and self-indulgence. Find your copy of Around the Writer’s Block by Rosanne Bane and let’s get to it. Fill your favorite cuppa, grab a handful of the Halloween candy you already bought (Mmmm…KitKats). Turn to page 93 and read along if you like.
You deserve a break. (HA! KitKat- I’m so punny.) No, really, you do. We all, at some point, need a break. But there is a difference between need and want in this aspect. Self-care is a need. We need quality food, and proper rest to be at our best. Self-indulgence is a greasy cheeseburger and staying up all night binging Netflix or Hulu. One of these will make you a better person the next day and the other…not so much.
The goal behind self-care is to truly take care of yourself to become a better you. This doesn’t limit your choices if they are to benefit you. Go to a concert with a friend. That is DOING something for you. Go to a poetry reading at the local bookstore, travel a few towns over to check out a new place to eat. Engage your brave side and do something a tad outside of your comfort zone. It may inspire you to get back to the page and write an adventure. You won’t know until you try. Self-indulgence will only lead you to the remote and the sofa. Blah.
Now, with all of that ‘don’t waste time sitting on your butt’ talk, there is a time when you should do nothing and nothing, in this case, is a good thing. Studies have shown that when you learn a new skill or do something new, your brain needs time to absorb the details and mull it over. You learn new skills by rehearsing and reinforcing the event in your brain. Downtime allows your brain to sift through the memory over and over to solidify them and turn them into long-term memories. Chill. Allow your mind to rest. You learn better when your brain has time to digest the information it has taken in.
We are trying to build better habits. You must understand, to build a habit takes time and practice. I go to the gym 4-5 times per week, but it didn’t start that way. God, no. Twice a week. Slow steps into the meat of the room. It was daunting and took nearly a month before I picked up a free weight and even then, it was when no one was around. I stuck to the safety of the machines and watched others do the exercises I wanted to try. It has been 5 years now and I can and do, everything. I no longer fear the things I once avoided. I do this for me.
What do you do for you?