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When Life Gets in the Way of Self-Care

Updated: May 16, 2020

by Jessica O'Donnell

This week marks week 7 of an 8-week weight loss challenge that I participated in with a small group of friends. And, while I may be down a pound or two total, the last 8 weeks have taught me a thing or two about expectations, reality, and my journey to becoming a “better me.”

Truth time- there’s no question that I would like to be in better shape. I know it more than anyone. Have I tried and failed many times? Yes, you bet I have. Have I tried so hard to the point where I got down on myself about failing? Maybe. But, one thing I didn’t want my weight loss to turn into was a new year’s resolution. I just don’t love that concept for me personally. It feels gimmicky. It feels like something that’s bound to fade by March. I think it’s completely acceptable to start something new at the beginning of the year, but I’ve never been one to label it as such.

This year came in with a bang, between adopting a new puppy and my grandmother having been under the weather meant one thing- weight loss couldn’t and shouldn’t have been my priority over the last two months. Sorry, not sorry. Now, I’m not saying I couldn’t have found the time to meal plan and fit in more workouts. Sure, I could have. It would have come at the expense of sleep and family priorities. But, what I’m saying is that sometimes, life truly does get in the way of taking care of yourself temporarily. And, that’s okay! I’m not going to let myself feel guilty about it anymore.

Life happens, shit happens. I believe in putting myself first and self-care. But, I also believe in being realistic. What does being realistic mean? Well, I think it means that even if you fall off the wagon, whether that’s for one week or 2 months, you remember to get back on. I think it means that if you can’t put your health/nutrition/self-care at the forefront of every day, you find a way to set simple reminders along the way to sometimes make healthy vs. not so healthy choices.

You choose a package of nuts over a bag of Doritos from a vending machine. You find friends who will remind you to exercise and sometimes find that hour to meetup for a workout ( shoutout to my Cardio Dance ladies!). You shut off social media and choose to read a book when you have a few minutes to spare. Or maybe, even if you're not the “planner” of the group, you initiate getting together with a few friends even if it’s only for a quick coffee or drink.

Over the last two months, I was able to find moments to spare for myself through all the craziness. And trust me, there was a lot of craziness! And, next week, when this weight loss challenge is over, rather than feeling down about having only lost a pound or two. I’m going to move on and keep going. Keep making those small healthy choices, keep fitting in my “me time” as best I can. I think that’s all we can expect of ourselves. I don’t have all the answers, but my strategy these days is focused on baby steps.

Adding in small doses of self-care on a daily or weekly basis is a much more realistic and healthy expectation than going all in all the time and then feeling guilty about not being able to achieve whatever unrealistic expectation you set for yourself.


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