Tag Archives: self love

The unsexy side of self-care

When I started talking about my own self-care as it relates to mental health, I had no idea July was minority mental health month. I am not a minority, but I can definitely empathize with the challenges associated with getting help if you feel like something is wrong.

In that spirit, NAMI has some amazing resources and I hope you’ll check them out. If you want something a little more accessible to kick off with, Emilie and Bridget did a fabulous podcast on this topic recently.  Stuff Mom Never Told You is not a new podcast, but I recently started listening to it religiously when Emilie and Bridget started hosting, so it’s new to me. But I was on a roll with the mental health piece so I also listened to this old episode about maternal mental health the other night (it does make washing dishes a little more exciting) and I really got me right in the “mom gut.” Talking about mental health during and immediately following pregnancy is hard. There’s such a thin line between normal and not normal.

Please, please, please – talk to someone if you feel like something is wrong. It can be discouraging if you can’t find someone to listen. But we are out there, people who love you and want to hear your story.

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To my own “stuff”, I had my first therapy appointment on July 26th. It was such a relief to be with someone who started out by saying I wasn’t crazy for feeling overwhelmed and emotional. It was a relief to be with someone who said we would take some actionable steps to deal with stress. While I am not at all opposed to medication, it was nice to be with someone whose first instinct wasn’t to medicate me. A wholistic approach is exactly what I want and need.

I also recognize that as a white woman, being in therapy is such a privilege. I am not faced with social stigma that comes from seeing a therapist. I am better able to pay that co-pay. If it does come down to needing some medication, that is something that can be managed. In unpacking my invisible knapsack I can arrange to see a therapist that shares my racial and socio-economic background. If you are looking for someone who looks like you (representation matters so much!) please check out Ourselves is Black. They offer a state-by-state directory of mental health professionals of color. You can also visit the Black Mental Health Alliance for state-by-state resources.

Sometimes self-care takes on a sexy veneer. There’s something very chic about having a bubble bath, getting a mani/pedi, or having a facial. There is almost never anything sexy about crying in an office because you feel overburdened and like you’ll never feel like yourself again. But this part of self-care is way more important than soaking in the tub or having pretty nails.

What can you do to commit to taking care of your own mental health? What can we do together to help you get there?

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What will you gain when you lose?

Evidently I wrote about my birthday yesterday because my sub conscience knew that today I wanted to write a slightly more “meaty” piece about dieting.

As my friends and family know, I am a word game fanatic.  In fact, I believe part of my birthday festivities tonight will involve playing Scrabble with Nathan (and hopefully successfully guilting him into letting me win, haha.)  My love of word games has stretched to Words With Friends, a fantastic game on Facebook.  I have had an almost constant game going with my sister, “M”, for well over 6 months now. I am also playing a game with an old co-worker (meaning, we’re not co-workers anymore.  She’s definitely not old) and one of my cousins.

What does this have to do with dieting?  Well, over the last two weeks or so the advertisement that has cropped up after I take my first turn is a Special K commercial.  To be honest, I kind of like it.  Simply because they’re framing Special K bars as a snack (and not as a complete meal.)  And then the woman in the commercial (a whole other discussion about why a woman in featured in a dieting commercial) discovers all these really awesome clothes hiding away in the back of her closet that she hasn’t been able to wear for a while.

I will say, this is definitely something I can relate to.  I have some clothes that I LOVE but haven’t been able to wear for a while because of my slow but steady weight gain over the last 2 years or so.  I just can’t bring myself to get rid of them.

Anyway, at the end of the commercial the slogan that is pushed out at you is “What will you gain when you lose?”  Meaning, of course, that you can have a much more full life if you lose weight.  This is where I have a problem and what I want to talk about.

As a person who is on a diet (sadly, yes.  I think that a high risk for gestational diabetes is a pretty good reason to lose some weight) I am hesitant to talk about this at all.  Why should I care about messages the dieting industry is sending when I am on a diet?

I care because these messages are killing us, almost literally.  The idea that you can have a much better life if you look like the lady in the Special K commercial is just plain ridiculous.  Yes, it’s important to be at a healthy weight.  However, that weight is different for every one of us.  And not just because of height or racial background.  It’s different because every single person is distinctly different and their bodies have different needs. All that really matters is that you feel good about yourself and that you are doing what you need to to be healthy.  If you plateau at 147 pounds when you doctor says you need to be 135 pounds, or any other number of examples, it’s not big deal.  As long as you are engaging in healthy behavior.

So, today I would encourage you to love yourself.  Don’t listen to these messages, just listen to yourself.