Self-Care: Except Not The Kind You’re Being Taught By The Industry
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These are my goals when I create self-care content. Because, for the last decade, I have tried an actual ton of techniques, only to find myself failing time and time again.
Why couldn’t I just keep going with the things I was seeing as effective?
Well, because they were expensive (and treatment was, too); they took too much time out of my already busy day (and I hated feeling ashamed for failing at making myself a priority); and because I didn’t have extra funds to dedicate to a weekly massage or a monthly yoga membership, I thought I couldn’t do self-care right.
While it’s true that these activities being sold to us can – when the aforementioned barriers aren’t present – do a lot of good for our mind/body/spirit, it is also true that for many of us, the ends are ruined by the means. It’s just not applicable to my lifestyle or financial situation to frivolously spend money on unnecessary treatments.
So, I would give up on myself over and over, and then the messaging I internalized was “You’re the problem, not the self-care,” which is the exact opposite of what self-care is meant to do for you.
Meanwhile, the self-care industry is exploiting society’s interest in these practices. In 2020, Google searches for self-care products went up 250% percent since 2014. WOW.
Thankfully, I would remember the sessions with my trauma-informed therapist who would always remind me to do things to take care of myself. It was annoying because nothing felt practical or powerful enough to overcome the anxiety, fear, and internalized negativity. But I knew SHE was not trying to sell me something that would not work, and so I set out to figure out how to make self-care applicable to my daily life.
So, what works?
The truth is, the most successful I have ever been with self-care is when I break it into much more digestible chunks, of things that are easy to fit into my day:
A podcast episode in the (cold) shower.
An audiobook in the car.
A walk with my people or pets.
Standing barefoot in the yard.
EFT for five minutes at lunch.
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A vent session with my best friend.
Or a larger self-care project, like decluttering the entire house, broken into 15-minute daily chunks.
These are the activities that give me instant feel-good energy without all the hassle of planning.
Are you getting uncomfortable or sitting there in disbelief?
Personally, I think it is because the self-care industry has made us believe that a financial and time investment must be larger than what it is for any of the things I’ve listed. But the truth is, they may advertise and sell it to you, but there are other modalities that are just as effective as they are free (but they will not tell you that because they do not make money that way).
Is there something you love doing that makes you feel good about who you are? Do more of that.
Are you unsure what you would love? Try a different self-care practice each month and add what you love to your toolbox. Mix it up. Start small so you don’t get overwhelmed and add to your practice each month. Write affirmations down and tape them to your mirror. Try the cross-stitching or plant collecting or karaoke-ing you have always wanted to do.
None of it is wrong.
Do you have a hobby? It is self-care.
Do you have an interest? It could be self-care.
Do you have 5-minute sections of the day you are scrolling Instagram or TikTok that you could use to check in with yourself about how you are feeling that day instead? When you put down your phone and check on your feelings, that’s self-care, too.
Use your own ingenuity and fit these things into your lives without it feeling like a ton of extra. When you feel less pressure, it’s much more likely to stick. And if you are not sure where to start, you are welcome to hang out with me. I keep myself accountable by hosting free monthly self-care explorations on my Instagram page. There, I bring in experts in the field to help us learn the monthly techniques and create accountability groups for the women who want to try out the practices, so we can all encourage one another.
It’s free. Accountability helps with sustainability. And we learn what is effective for us, add it into our days, and commit to creating a life that includes pouring in to our own cups in a much more approachable way.
Lastly, and especially, please take care of yourself on your fertility journey. Remember, sometimes boundary setting is healthy self-care, too.
Change your perception of what is valid. Remember that what you see in advertisements isn’t always what will work best for you and give yourself 15 minutes a day of truly exploring ways to better your life. It’s so possible, and you are so worthy.
Lindsay Fischer is not only an infertility survivor but a domestic violence survivor, who - after ten straight years of trauma - is thriving as a best-selling author of several books, including The Two-Week Wait Challenge. Lindsay believes every woman has the power to change their lives, even when they've been knocked on their asses, and she challenges everyone to stop comparing surface levels and starting exposing souls with honest, open conversations that build community. You can find Lindsay on Instagram here.