Acts of tough love self-care are the things that are so good for us, but that we don’t want to do. I’m incredibly guilty of thinking of self-care as just a nice bubble bath while I sip wine and eat chocolate. But it’s so much more.

10 Acts of Tough Love Self-Care

Original photo byMona Eendra

Because the semester is about to begin, I need to remember how important tough love self-care is. I’m notorious for procrastinating and not doing the little things that need to be done. Well not this year!

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I’m trying to set myself up for smooth sailing, and tough love self-care is the way to do it. Tough love self-care is:

10 Acts of Tough Love Self-Care

001: Get that paper work in order.

One of the best investments I’ve ever made in my life was a filing cabinet. It keeps the papers you need to keep in order, and everything is always stored in one place. And I’ll be real. Periodically you will need to clean it out. When papers are out of sight, they are out of mind. Which means that if you’re anything like me, you probably have a stack of old bank statements from back when your bank automatically sent those out. And I’m ashamed to say that I also have a folder of old test scores, you know, just in case I need to enter college as an undergrad again.

Getting rid of all this stuff has been a great way to make room for papers for my business. And real talk: It’s good to know that my important stuff isn’t getting all intermingled with all the garbage I no longer need.

002: Organize your planner.

When life gets a little hectic, I start shoving things into my planner. Mail, receipts, sticky notes, dead bodies – you name it. And even when things slow down, I don’t stop to clean all that stuff out. So I periodically need to take a moment and clean it out. By getting rid of all the junk, I keep my planner in good working order, and I’m able to use it to its fullest potential. This then keeps me on track, because when my planner is a hot mess, I don’t use it because it’s easier to ignore it.

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(To hold myself accountable to this one, I’ll be updating you on my planner once a month on the blog and on my youtube channel. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my post and my video about using a Passion Planner with my traveler’s notebook.)

003: Go see a dermatologist.

I finally did this at the beginning of December, and I’m pretty glad I did. Brittany Gibbons motivated me to make it happen with this post, since I’ve long suspected my years of sun worship would catch up with me. The bad news is they found something, but the good news is that it’s gone now. You can read about the whole experience here. But know that I’ll be going in to get a full-body check once a year, because it’s a really easy way to catch melanoma. Also, I’m pretty paranoid now and think I have like 8 new instances of skin cancer.

004: Thin out your book collection.

I hate having a ton of books that I won’t read. I have a bad habit of picking up books on the recommendation of people who may not look for the same thing in books that I do. But I feel this need to prove that I’m smart and well-read, That’s how I’ve ended up with too many books I won’t read. I’m much better than I used to be, but I still fall prey to it. But just going through them and getting rid of the books you don’t want is so incredibly freeing. Not only does it make space in your home, but it lessens your to be read pile.

005: Clean out your clutter.

Admittedly, I don’t have a ton of clutter since my move last June. But I do still have things I don’t need. I’m slowly getting rid of stuff I don’t want weighing me down, and I’m absolutely doing this Apartment Therapy Cure as a way of life, and not just something for the new year. There’s just something that feels so crazy satisfying about staying on top of the junk accumulation in your home. And it’s always nice to have more open, empty space in the house. This is definitely tough love self-care because I’ll have to stay on top of it, and keep working to get rid of stuff.

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006: Start a new stretching routine.

When was the last time you stretched for the sake of stretching? Well, it’s been too long. I know that yoga isn’t everyone’s thing, so I’m not going to tell you to do yoga. (Full disclosure: I’m usually one of those assholes who always tells everyone they should do yoga whenever they mention they have any sort of physical affliction.) Think about how many hours you spend seated. Think about that weird little hump at the base of your neck that’s growing because you hunch over a computer. Think about how tight the muscles in your calves, hamstrings, butt, and lower back are from overcompensating for the lack of support in your shoes.

You need to stretch. And if you aren’t typically a stretcher, then I recommend creating two routines — one you do before bed, and the other you do when you wake up. Do a little research and watch some YouTube videos to find the stretches that will benefit you the most. The best part of all this is you can focus on the muscles that you really need to, and take however much time you need.

007: Unsubscribe from your favorite stores’ mailing lists.

I’m a sucker for a good sale. And all my favorite stores tell me so, so often, that all those items I want but really don’t need are on sale. And, even if I wasn’t planning on purchasing an item, I just might after getting that damn email. This is why I’m an advocate of unsubscribing. Sure, they add you to the email list every time you make an order, so it’s a chore to unsubscribe every time. But I’ve found it’s kept me from buying stuff I don’t need, and just get rid of.

008: Track your spending for the month.

If you’ve ever wondered what happened to your paycheck, this is something you should try. I’m always good at getting bills paid on time and putting money into savings and my IRA. But there are times when I will go 3-5 days in a row where I buy something. Sure, it may just be weird little things from the dollar store or a bottle of wine or a fancy coffee. But when that happens, I find myself at the end of the week wondering how I could’ve possibly spent $100. But by tracking my spending, I can see patterns to what I’ve been doing, then I understand how all those little purchases add up. And the best part? I stop making those little purchases because I’m more aware of the consequences of them.

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009: Wear heinous shoes.

Generally speaking, I wear heinous shoes almost daily. (These Birkenstock Mantovas are some of my favorites.) I do this because I have jacked up hooves. And, I’m willing to bet that if you’ve worn cute, cheap shoes in the past few years, you do too. If you have any lower back pain that isn’t due to an injury, any knee soreness, or muscle cramps in your calves or thighs, then the rest of your body is compensating for the lack of support in your shoes. Get yourself some heinous looking, almost orthopedic shoes, and this will all go away. I promise. Yeah, it ain’t cute. But that’s why it’s tough love self-care.

010: Create clear boundaries about social media.

I’ve always struggled with creating boundaries in almost every aspect of my life. Social media has been no different. This is why I call in the big guns when it comes to invasive social networks. On my phone, I don’t have any notifications for social media — no sounds, no banners. When I’m using my laptop to work, I use the Strict Workflow Chrome extension, which allows me to set work intervals where I can’t access social media. Both of these things keep me off social media for large junks of time, though, I have to admit, I’m still on social way more than I should be. But setting these boundaries has definitely broken my anxious social media checking.

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What’s Your Tough Love Self-Care?

What sort of self-care do you recommend? What’s a tough love thing you have to do for yourself to keep your head on right? What little changes have you made in your self-care that have made the biggest difference? Do you wear heinous shoes?

8 Responses

  1. Eating food that FUELS me instead of eating food to deal with my emotions (happy, sad, anxious, etc). I’ve done three rounds of the Whole30, so I am well aware of what foods I need to eat to feel full and satiated, but I am still searching for ways to deal with my damned feelings. Ugh.

    One day at a time, right?

    1. Oh man! That really speaks to me. I have been known to eat my feelings. But yes. Making that choice one day at a time is key.

  2. YEAH BABY. I am following the Apartment Therapy January challenge too, just adapting it to the needs of the farm, which is… Interesting, haha! : )) And I love yoga, am even prone to be that a-hole who suggests it to everyone for all ailments. It helps my body so much when mileage cranks up, and yoga has helped my spiritual life too. I know you said stretching, and I agree too. All day, whether you’re on the mat or not.
    Great list lady!! I wish you the very best for the new year. Hope to see you lots. xoxo

  3. Heinous shoes… I have to admit I don’t wear cute shoes just functional boots. But.. I got the inserts for my boots and it seems to be pretty rad. But my tough love self care is a make my self gym when I don’t want to gym because I don’t want to get hurt hauling an unresponsive morbidly obese patient to the ER. And I am making my self sleep early.

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