Self-Care vs. Self-Sabotage

is coffee healthy

I reserved this past Saturday for a solo day of self-care.

Like many of you, I’ve been working long hours and going nonstop. The more my online business grows, the more technologically connected I am throughout the day. If I’m not with clients I’m checking email, updating Facebook, bookkeeping, creating new programs, chatting on Twitter or coaching my Pilates Body ladies. I train in-person clients for 6 hours per day but work 12 hour days when all is said and done.

I know I’m not alone in this. We are all busy. We all get swept up in To Do’s, commitments and responsibilities throughout the week. Most are necessary, but some we create for ourselves due to the cultural pressure to consistently produce, do, create, progress, etc. (but that’s another post altogether).

My solo day of self-care last weekend got me thinking…

When I’m exhausted or feel like I’ve been worked to the bone, it’s my tendency to reward myself with indulgence.

It took me a long time to recognize this and recognize it as ultimately an unfulfilling habit that I’ve unintentionally created. More often that not, when I want to do something special for myself it involves being lazy, eating rich food and drinking wine. It’s true. The reward for my long week usually contains one of the above. Perhaps you can relate.

I know that eating a meal full of cheese, wine and bread is enjoyable  and “rewarding” in the moment but I also know that it makes me feel like crap afterwards. Hardly rejuvenating. Hardly refreshing. In the end, a far cry from my goal of self-care. To be honest, it looks a bit more like self-sabotage.

This past weekend I decided to take the first step in changing this unhealthy habit.

On Saturday, I arranged my day as follows:

Solo Day Of Self-Care

8:00 – wake up, enjoy a relaxing morning with fresh brewed coffee and oatmeal for breakfast

10:00 – pedicure (which naturally comes with catching up on gossip magazines that I refuse to subscribe to but love to read)

11:00 – Pilates (yes, exercise on my day off. But taking a class instead of teaching a class = glorious)

12:00 – 15 minutes of silence and deep breathing in the eucalyptus steam room

12:15 – leisurely shower, shave, and primping session (key word: LEISURELY, no rushing on this day of self-care)

1:00 – enjoyed a delicious, healthy green smoothie (juice bar instead of homemade = a treat)

spa day ideas

{freshly painted toes waiting in line at the juice bar}

It was a lovely day and I can’t wait to do it again. Taking time to slow down and care for myself and my body completely changed my demeanor, mood and outlook on life. On Friday I was anxious, busy, rushed and low on energy. By the end of Saturday I felt calm, healthy, strong and confident.

equinox juice bar

{cucumber, spinach, celery, spirulina, protein powder & flax seeds}

Lesson learned: treating myself does not have to mean indulging and undoing all my healthy work from the week. Exercising, relaxing and eating healthy can actually feel like a treat and it ultimately serves the purpose in a much more significant way.

A ‘treat’ doesn’t have to be unhealthy and relaxing doesn’t have to mean lazy. <— click to tweet.

I share this not to brag about my great day but to inspire you to do something similar for yourself. Some of you may be thinking, “of course you’re going to feel better after a green smoothie vs. a bottle of wine (plate of nachos, pint of ice cream, insert indulgence of choice).” I realize that. But some of you may be saying, “it’s good to know I’m not the only one.”

It’s a change in perspective and a change in habit to actually put this into practice. I may be a fitness professional but I’m human just like you. I’m working to improve my health and habits on a daily basis too.

Remember, we’re in this together.


PS – you may also enjoy On Kindness, Punishment and Paper Bags and 10 Self-Care Tips For New Moms.

  1. kim 9 years ago

    Wow, thank you for your honesty! So many health professionals seem like they have it all together and never struggle. I’m more inspired by honesty. Thanks for sharing. I can totally relate.

  2. Elizabeth 8 years ago

    This was such a helpful thing to read. I never really looked at my “relaxing” days as sabotage but they totally were! I guess I knew deep down all that indulgence wasn’t helping me at all, but I needed someone to point it out haha. Thank you for being so honest and showing us that even professionals are tempted by over-indulgence. 🙂

    • Robin Long 8 years ago

      Hi Elizabeth! Glad this post resonated with you. Don’t get me wrong I am all FOR “relaxing.” But sometimes I confuse relaxing and with over-indulgence that doesn’t give me the relief I’m really looking for. I just end up feeling worse! I’m learning…slowly but surely 🙂

  3. Shruti 8 years ago

    Yes lately as I have increased my workouts during the weekdays I tend to reward myself with not-so-healthy indulgences for the weekends. You have set a very nice example. I need to change unhealthy to healthy indulgences

    • Robin Long 8 years ago

      Hi Shruti – that’s exactly what I am tempted to do! Work extra hard during the week and then over-indulge on the weekends. I think it’s okay to do that a little bit but I think it’s important to watch out for how it ultimately makes you feel afterward. If you feel great, fine, but I usually end up feeling worse and would feel much better if I would just keep taking care of myself in healthy ways. Thanks for your comment 🙂

      • Shruti 8 years ago

        Yes I agree to your point, it doesnt make me feel any better. I dont sleep well dont eat well and by Sunday night I m frustrated. Monday I start afresh!

  4. Bill Klausmeyer 8 years ago

    What a great reminder! It reminds me of my Fridays…

  5. SarahBethYoga 6 years ago

    Oh wow. You’re speaking right to me Robin! I’ve been rewarding myself with wine, chips, cookies etc. I feel bloated and icky now. I’m so going to focus on making healthier choices for my reward, and I really need to make use of the steam room at my gym 🙂 Thanks for posting this.

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