When self-care becomes a burden

At Bird, we are of course all about self-care practices. We absolutely advocate prioritising actions that take us away from ‘fight or flight’ and towards relaxation, rest and repair.

However, we know that sometimes, without us really noticing until much further down the line, it’s possible for those self-care practices to turn into a heavy burden. ‘I must do daily mindfulness’ ‘I have to run three times a week’ ‘I drank too much alcohol and that’s terrible for my self-care and wellbeing.’

When we begin to think like that our self-care practices turn into processes that produce more cortisol (our stress hormone) in our systems, which of course is the opposite of what they’re there to do.

This has happened to me with my step tracking app on my phone. I try and do 10,000 steps every day, and boy has that turned into a chore. I don’t see it as a beautiful opportunity to step away from technology and breath some fresh air, I see it as something I desperately need to hit in order to feel a sense of satisfaction. I’m constantly checking the numbers too – so my screen time has actually increased.

In response to this, and any other self-care practice that has become a burden, something needs to change. When a self-care practice become a burden rather than a helpful process we can either change the way we view it, or let it go completely.

This might look like remembering how amazing it feels it be in Childs pose in yoga (as opposed to forcing yourself onto the mat again because you promised yourself you would). It might look like stopping swimming altogether, because the burdensomeness outweighs the benefit. Or it might look like walking without my phone so I can really feel the freeing benefits of striding out along the seafront.

Whatever the situation, self-care is there to be self-caring. When those practices become the creators of stress and anxiety we need to re-address the situation and make some tweaks along the way.

With love as always, Hannah and Team Bird.

PS. If you would like to explore working with us either through 1:1 coaching or group workshops please contact us here.

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

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