If you’re new to GR8NESS (first of all, welcome!), and second of all, this is the only case we’ll assume you don’t already know how critical self care is. However, knowing the good benefits of what it can bring is a slightly different motivation than knowing what the absence of self care can look like.
A thorough understanding of self care emphasizes not only what it is, but also what it isn’t. Some effects of a lack of time allotted to taking care of oneself are immediate, while others occur over time. Just as well, despite it being called “self” care, caring for ourselves has tremendous benefits for those around us, which means lack of self care can have the opposite effect.
So, what exactly can happen?
How it Starts
The first signs of neglect in self care appear as regular side effects of the daily grind, and the ins and outs of life. They are incredibly easy to dismiss as side effects of being tired or having had “ a lousy day,” and this is somewhat fair because that’s exactly how it starts.
First, things like physical fatigue, being in a bad mood, and feeling like anything that can go wrong will go wrong, happen. Little doses of negativity work their way into everything we do, and the buds of habit are formed.
If caring for yourself isn’t part of your conscious, you’ll always be chasing checkpoints without ever arriving at a point where it’s finally time to put in the time. Self care is work.
Sometimes self care IS the coveted image of the relaxing bath while listening to an audiobook. Other times, self care looks more like work. This is because, like anything else worthwhile, you’ve got to take the good with the bad. The bad, in this case, is more of a temporary inconvenience that is sure to lead to a better place than if you had ignored it altogether.
Where it Gets Worse
When the work isn’t put in, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Think of it this way: you’re always setting the foundation for the future. Every choice made and moment spent is laying a foundation, and if you’re not ensuring that this foundation will serve you, you may likely experience any of the following troubles over time:
- Weight gain or loss
- Lack of mental clarity
- Difficulty in relationships
- Difficult trusting others and self
- A tendency to value instant gratification
- Fatigue-related insomnia
- Poor hygiene
- Low self-esteem
How it Can End
Now, this isn’t to say you’ll spiral into an uncontrollable depression if you skip that morning meditation or work out. This is more to say that if you don’t adequately define what self care is for you, and commit yourself to it, you may eventually experience the dangers of finding yourself lost.
Don’t fear, though, GR8 ones. The journey to sufficient self care is not a linear one. Ending the cycle of anti-self care begins with, actually caring.