It's easy to tell others to use self-care, it's a totally different thing to do it for yourself

One thing that I always heard growing up was “do as I say, not as I do.” When I was a pain in the ass kid I didn’t like when adults said that and now that I am a “grown up” I find myself not just saying it, but also practicing it as well. To me, the saying and the act is just a refusal to take my own advice. If I wouldn’t take it, why am I giving it out? This is what brings me to this blog which has been a long time coming now. One thing that is so important is self-care. Taking care of your mind and body when you are rundown, overwhelmed, anxious or just need a break. I am a huge advocate for it. Having said all of that, I’m the first person to tell you to engage in self-care but often times I am the LAST person to do it for myself. Does this happen to anyone else?

This past year with school being full-time my initial thought was “I got this, I can handle the stuff that’s on my plate no problem.” When I started this website and this blog in January I had a semester of school under my belt and I really thought that just one more thing would be totally fine. A few weeks and two blog posts into it and I couldn’t keep up. It was one of the first times in sobriety that I had to make a tough choice in regards to this idea of self-care.

For me, self-care when it comes to work and activities that are aligned with work means going at a SUSTAINABLE pace. It’s really easy for me to say “yes” to absolutely everything but often times I’ve found that when I say yes too much, I can’t give a full effort into all of the things that I have said yes to. What ends up happening then is just a classic snowball effect. Because I can’t give the full effort and attention that I want to, I don’t do as good of a job as I would like, then I am embarrassed about the work that I’ve done and I immediately go down the rabbit hole of “I am terrible at everything and everyone knows it.” Objectively, I know that none of those things are true but it’s so hard to be objective about something when I am totally immersed in the feelings I have about it.

So, with that idea of a sustainable pace in mind, I decided to actually take my own advice and utilize a little self-care. The blogs and website could wait, I needed to allocate my time to school and work. At first it totally sucked having to drop something that meant so much to me. However, when things got hectic, I realized that I made the right decision for myself even though it was something that in the moment, I was not happy about.

I’ve realized that when it comes to listening to my own advice about self-care, the idea of admitting I can’t handle something is what gets in my way. When I sift through that a little, it’s really that I get in my own way. Being able to say no to something was so beneficial in the long-term and it allowed me to give 100% to a few things instead of 50% to a lot of things. Life is a marathon, not a sprint and I need to remember that moving at a sustainable pace will help me get closer to the finish line


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AJ Diaz is a motivational speaker and inspirational speaker in the Long Island area, including Nassau County and Suffolk County, the New York City area, including Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Manhattan, and New York State. He speaks about alcohol and drug addiction, self-esteem issues, mental health issues, teen confidence, substance abuse problems, and parent-child communication.