The Lie about Self Care: pain management

It’s all the hype right now- self care, especially during this Valentine’s Day season. For good reason. I heard on a podcast the other day we are becoming a more mature society, moving from survival mode and working for basic needs, to one of seeking growth and evolution. Which brings up the topic of self care, which can be beyond basic needs, and surprisingly sometimes involves basic needs such as proper nutrition or rest. Filling your cup, not only enables you to pursue your visions with more efficiency but, more importantly, you can better care for and help others.

However, one thing not often pointed out in self care posts or discussions is typically how uncomfortable self cafe truly is. Yes, self care can come in the forms of massages and baths which feel good. Those are definitely needed. What is also needed though, is the uncomfortable form of self care as well. Here are some examples:
Setting boundaries with yourself and others. This one is super uncomfortable. Saying “no” to someone you care about because a request crosses a line is never easy. But, the minute “no” leaves your mouth it is one way to tell yourself you care about your needs. The more you care about you now, the more you can care for this individual down the road at a more appropriate time. It also gives you the ability to take a step back and notice if saying “yes” all the time is actually not serving that person because it’s inhibiting their own growth and problem solving capabilities.
Carving out time for yourself to do nothing. We are a society that values being busy. Telling others our schedule is packed is normal, and possibly makes us feel important and wanted. In fact if someone were to tell you “I have free time each week to do nothing”, you might view them as lazy, or slacking off. or a poor parent. However, this time to “do nothing” is so critical. It’s when our batteries recharge, we can sit in stillness and integrate learning and insights. Personally, when I have a day off I make sure to block off time where nothing is in the schedule. Some of the time is spent in quiet meditating or reading a book, and some is spent being goofy with my daughter with no specific plan. Blocking off this time for me is super uncomfortable. I value myself more with a packed schedule, so then I “deserve” the rewards. I’m trying to unlearn this because we all deserve good things no matter what our schedule looks like. Plus, I’m always more creative following days of nothingness. It’s like all of a sudden I’m crystal clear about things, and all these ideas seem to materialize out of nothing.

Spend money on yourself. This is one that comes up in the PT clinic often since I don’t take insurance. The initial conversations with some patients is very uncomfortable because they really want to make change, they want freedom to move and live without fear of pain. However they are afraid, or feel they don’t deserve to spend money on themselves. The moms feel the money should go to their kids. The dads feel the time off work to come to sessions takes away from family income. The only people that feel somewhat ok spending on themselves are ones that have worked on or through this issue, or are single. Not ok. So I have to have an awkward conversation about money with people on a daily basis. The feedback I receive is positive though. One patient told me he was so glad he invested in a package instead of just one sessions He said in the end, the package not only lowered the cost per session, but gave him his time and energy back. Because he made the uncomfortable commitment to show up twice a week for a few weeks, he healed faster and more fully. A back pain that had been coming and going for years because he would only go to one or two sessions with previous PTs finally began to disappear. More importantly he said he didn’t have the fear anymore, which was a huge energy suck. He said he’s way more productive at work now because he’s not worrying about when he’s going to have to stop because of pain. He knows what to do if he feels the hint of something. And, he’s more happy at home because he can play with his kids, or even make family vacation travel plans with out fear of a long flight. His wife is happier because he is happier. Best money they every spent they tell me. Yet, had they not worked through the discomfort of investing the time and finances he would still be stuck and in pain.

So there you have it. This Valentine’s Day treat yourself yes to some comfort, chocolates, dinner, massages, but also commit to one thing that’s uncomfortable too. Email me Alison@ignitewellnesssandiego.com let me know what it is and the result! I look forward to hearing all about it!


Alison McLean

"I help the Entrepreneur reduce stress and live a more fulfilled and balanced life."