Bubble baths, pedicures, massages, a sweet treat — all self-loving activities you think of when you think of self care, no?

After all, aren’t those sweet rituals proof of care?

Of loving yourself?

They are.

But when “self-care” turns into nights spent curled on the couch with cupcakes watching entire seasons of old shows, you may be walking a fine line.

 When the delicious solo glass of wine on the porch turns into the bottle and late night ex-texting, you’ve thrown your care under the bus.  When rewarding yourself with a shopping trip becomes the only way to lift your spirits, your pampering is becoming dangerous. When caring for yourself turns into distracting or numbing or avoiding, it’s time to pause.  It’s time to check in with yourself — what are you really craving in those moments?

Ask yourself, ”What do I really need? Do I need comfort or care?”

When you need comfort — you’re craving warmth, pleasure, a break.

Treat yourself with sweetness and follow your body’s yearning for “feeling  good.” A hot bath?  A glass of wine? A bear hug from your partner?  A square of dark chocolate?  A quesadilla with homemade guacamole?  Sex? A TV show? An early bedtime?  A pedicure? A snuggle with your kiddo?

You are soothing yourself from a stressful day. You are comforting yourself after a hard conversation with your boss.  You are pampering yourself after a week of doing everything for everyone else. You are rewarding yourself for reaching a goal. The comforting acts themselves are neither bad nor good.  The intention behind them is the place where comfort separates from distraction, numbing or avoidance.

When you need care — you’re craving self-respect, connection, alignment. Treat yourself with kindness and honor your strengths and values.  Follow your heart’s yearning for “doing good.”

Write in your journal? Swim laps? Have a soulful chat with your best friend?  Create something? Declare your gratitude? Take yourself on a walk outside?  Go to yoga?  Cook a beautiful meal?  Gaze at the stars? Say no? Say yes?  Have the conversation you’ve been avoiding? Meditate? Get lost in your favorite hobby?  Dance?  Take the first step of your crazy goal? Write a thank you note? Call your mama? Get organized?

You are honoring your highest held values.   You are making choices that may not be convenient or easy, but are in line with your true self. You are respecting your right to be happy, to be fulfilled, to be present.

There is a moment of choice where you can make a deliberate decision: CARE OR COMFORT?

Both are necessary! Give yourself what you actually need.  Practice tuning into your cravings. Sometimes we get so used to comforting ourselves, we skip right to the sugar when what we really need is to take a walk.  The TV can become so habitual that we don’t even realize that writing a blog post is what actually feels better at 9 pm.  We’re so practiced at rewarding ourselves with a massage, that we don’t even consider that a painting class might feel like more of a treat. And gorgeous?  If you’ve been sliding into the land of distraction, numbness, excessive soothing at the expense of your values — there’s no point in beating yourself up.  Practice some self compassion and let today be the “reset” button.  If the comfort has been gaining crazy momentum, make a different choice now.  Today.  Tonight.

reblogged from Molly Mahan\’s beatuiful website www.stratejoy.com

by Molly Mahar