In honor of NEDA week, I thought I'd share a little reflection on growth and self-care. When I stumbled into my counselor's office in November 2012, I was a mess. Picture an underweight anxiety-driven college student, working three jobs and trying to convince everyone that she had it all together. If you're picturing a miserable human, multiply the bags under her eyes by 2342, you're heading in the right direction.
I thought I thrived on chaos. I spent my first two years of college trying to be everybody. I wanted to be noticed. I breathed in the lie that I was only as valuable as I was busy. I lived in a state of disassociation and numbness.
The first several months of counseling/recovery were less about my obsession with the scale and more about me learning how to let go of commitments and rest. I remember how painful it was when I quit my job as an ABA therapist. Not because I loved my job but because I hated admitting weakness. That I couldn't do everything. Eventually I left my other job as a research assistant in the Autism Lab at OSU. I thought I kissed my grad school dreams good bye with that two-week notice.
My social life was put on hold during this season. I couldn't do everything. I had to focus on recovery, healing, and rest.
Fast forward nearly 5 years and I consider myself a little too obsessed with self-care. I'm a huge advocate for rest and saying no. I no longer think it's valuable or healthy to pack my schedule with meetings and activities. I value my couch, my cat, and big cups of coffee (oh alliteration, you slay me).
I genuinely try to take time for daily self-care, but this semester, I've invested in Self-Care Thursdays (I wish I was creative enough for a catchy phrase, but that seems hard, so I'm sticking with SCT).
Every Thursday, I close my schedule at 5. While Steve invests in his MBA program, I spend my evening exercising, cooking, taking a detox bath (essential oils 5ever), and allthenetflix. I've been trying to incorporate something new each Thursday, whether it's a new recipe (this vegan nacho cheese recipe is life.changing.) or choosing a new show on Netflix (I recently joined the This is Us cult). As much as I can, I try to do a few things that refresh me.
My commitment to Self-Care Thursday allows me to do my job better, love my husband bigger, and connect with Jesus freely. I didn't wake up a self-care guru. I spent A LOT of time weeping in counseling as my identity was stripped with every commitment I backed out of or event I turned down.
Friends, don't give into society's lie that you have to be consumed with busyness. It's just not true. You are loved right where you are. Say no to overworking and yes to self-care. I promise in time your relationships will thrive and you'll develop a better understanding of how little control you actually have over your life (this is a GOOD thing).
Honestly, I could write about this topic forever, but I'm going to wrap it up here. If you need help coming up with ideas for rest or how to say no, please reach out! I'd love to help! I am P A S S I O N A T E about self-care and rest!
This is a MUCH happier, healthier Whitney.