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  • Kate Berry

Creating a Life You Don't Have to Escape From: 3 Questions to Vet Your Self-Care Routine

Last week on my personal Instagram (@kateberryjoyful), I posted a Tweet from a woman that read: “I saw this post on tumblr that

said ‘self care is creating a life you don’t routinely have to escape from’ and I can’t stop thinking about it”

And neither can I.

I’ve dabbled in a lot of “self-care” routines - including many that have involved alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes - paving a chemically-induced path to temporary happiness that “took the edge off,” allowed me to “get out of my own head,” or any other number of rationalizations that let me give myself permission to zone the fuck out for awhile.

(See also: scrolling Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc)

How have we come to equate certain forms of numbing with self-care?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging. I DEFINITELY still dabble in a good ol’ fashioned Pinterest bender while having a couple of adult beverages now and then - but the question that keeps flashing in my mind is: to what end?

The scrolling, the drinking, the smoking, the shopping - all of these things give our brains the chemical hit of dopamine that makes us feel so. Damn. good.

At least for a few minutes.

And all of this has got me thinking: how the hell can we challenge ourselves to create self-care patterns that aren’t all about escape and numbing?

Where the hell are the bubble baths, the walks, the yoga sessions, the hikes, the coffee dates, the journaling, the spa days that feed our souls and give us time to reflect?

And a step beyond that: why are we so obsessed with living lives that are so fucking busy and overscheduled that we wear our stress like a badge of honor?

#hustle, right?

Imma cut straight to the chase on this one and throw out a great invitation to each and every single one of us (yes, that means me too):

How can we create lives that we don’t have to routinely escape from?

What if we *gasp* felt like what we were doing was “enough” and had the audacity to live in a way that we feel really freakin’ good about?

In the spirit of real-life self-care and real-life self-love, I propose that we ask ourselves 3 questions when it comes to living the kind of life that we actually want to be present in:

  1. Does this act of self-care line up with what I actually care about?

If you’ve spent any time with me, you know that I’m a damn nerd when it comes to preaching about living values-centered lives. And no, that’s not about any kind of religious doctrine, but rather, about knowing what we give a shit about and making choices that reflect that.

To pick up a little primer on determining your values CLICK HERE.

2. Does the choice I’m about to make allow me to be more present in the moment, or is it going to take me away?

This question doesn’t come from a place of judgement. Sometimes you might want to check out a little, and that’s okay. It’s just information. Again, it’s all about creating a life that’s not about having to escape all the time.

When your self-care routine, and along with it, your life, has qualities that makes you want to stay present and embrace what’s going on, that’s a pretty great sign that you’re really nailing living by your values. And that feels pretty damn awesome.

3. Does this act of self-care reflect the boundaries I set out for myself and take into consideration the boundaries that others have set?

In more simple terms: what’s the impact of your self-care? Does it leave you feeling any amount of guilt or shame? Does it potentially have a real negative impact on the lives of people you care about? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” it might be worth taking another peek at what you’re doing to survive and thrive.

PLEASE, feel free to play around with these questions, let me know how it’s working out for you and share with me what you’re discovering!

Here’s to creating the kind of life that you don’t have to escape from.