Philly, Farmer's Market

Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts your week on a positive note!

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!

Last week I talked about the importance of practicing self-care, even when every fiber of your being would rather sulk in self-loathing.

Fortunately, we can always take action. It doesn’t matter what the heck our thoughts think.

We can still get to sleep sooner. We can still nourish our bodies by eating nutritious foods and engaging in enjoyable movement. We can still seek support. We can still journal. And we can still set boundaries.

But it’s also important to pinpoint what stands in the way of your self-care. Because once you can identify the hurdle, you can work through it. Because it’s much easier to practice self-care when most fibers of your being are on the same page.

So, today, ask yourself, “What would I like my self-care to look like?” and “Why am I not there?”

Your answer might be about logistics. You simply don’t have the time to practice self-care.

One solution would be to put self-care on your schedule. Carve out several times a day for yourself to engage in whatever activities are nourishing to you, whatever feeds you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

And write it down in your planner. This is your non-negiotable “me” time. View it with the same importance as a work meeting, a friend’s birthday dinner or a doctor’s appointment.

(By the way, seeing a doctor is definitely  part of self-care.)

Maybe you seek more help. Hire a babysitter once a week, or a housecleaner once a month. Or reach out to friends and family for some assistance. This way you can take that time to work on your writing at a nearby cafe, have lunch with a friend, or visit a new exhibit, since museums always feed your soul.

Then, again, maybe once you dig deeper, you realize that it’s not exactly lack of time or resources that stands in your way. Maybe it’s your perception of self-care.

Many people think self-care is selfish or a luxury. I’ve featured this quote before on Weightless, but I just love it so much, and it refutes this myth so well. It comes from the must-read book  The Woman’s Comfort Book: A Self-Nurturing Guide for Restoring Balance in Your Life by Jen Louden.

Self-care is essential for our survival; it is essential as the basis for healthy, authentic relationships; it is essential if we honestly want to nurture the people we care about. Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent. We cannot nurture others from a dry well. We need to take care of our needs first, then we can give from our surplus, our abundance. When we nurture others from a place of fullness, we feel renewed instead of taken advantage of.  And they feel renewed too, instead of guilty. We have something precious to give others when we have been comforting and caring for ourselves and building up self-love.

If you don’t think you deserve self-care, try to process these thoughts and feelings on your own, or see a therapist.

You also can check out wonderful books like The Woman’s Comfort Book, which empowers you to take great care of yourself and provides practical, truly nourishing and fun activities to try.

And check out the posts in this self-care blog hop. A slew of bloggers are sharing what their self-care really looks like. Maybe their words will give you some inspiration and food for thought. (I’m honored to share my post next Monday.)

These are a few of my favorites: Catherine’s Self-care for this mama, entrepreneur, artist, wife; Susannah’s Self-care in the real world; and Anna’s What my self-care practice really looks like.

Remember that self-care is never a waste, and always worth your time. In fact, taking the time to consider what stops you from tending to your needs and wishes, and brainstorming several solutions is a beautiful way to practice self-care.

What prohibits your self-care practice? How will you work through it? 

P.S., I’m incredibly honored to be featured as a guest poet on I’ve been reading Samantha’s poetry for a long time now. I’m always in awe of how she pays attention to the smallest, most magical moments in life, and uses language oh-so beautifully. You can read my poem here. Thanks in advance for your support. 🙂