I recently wrote an article about why we should stop referring to the term “self-care” and just get back to living well. Otherwise, self-care just becomes another thing to feel guilty about. "I didn’t meditate, I ordered coffee instead of herbal tea, and I watched Netflix instead of taking a bath filled with rose petals." Oof, there can be a lot of pressure to “self-care”! Life is full of enough pressures as it is, let’s not self-impose more.
Instead, I propose considering all the activities on the spectrum of living well. When you’re overwhelmed and your body is tired, you need to respond to that. When you find yourself feeling distracted and irritated, you need to respond to that too. When you feel stuck or bored it’s important to pay attention. To check in with yourself and ask what you could be doing differently. What choice could you make to feel less overwhelmed, or irritated or bored?
Sometimes, that might include a yoga class, or making better eating choices, or staying home when you’re supposed to go out. But sometimes, what is called for is some good old-fashioned FUN.
Now, as an entrepreneur and mother of a two-year-old, I am writing this article for me just as much as I am for you. I do not prioritize fun. I prioritize efficiency, learning (either by reading or meeting new people) and getting things done (and of course family and caring for my beautiful girl). It is sometimes hard for me to break out of this mode.
Recently I read an article called Anthony Bourdain vs The Tyranny of Wellness. It quotes Anthony Bourdain as saying, “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” Obviously, there are many ways to interpret this statement, and it could be used as an excuse for a lot of self-destructive, bad behaviour, but at the same time, I’ve been feeling recently that the pressure to self-care has gotten a little out of hand.
Self-care is about far more than eating healthy, meditating and exercising regularly. It’s about doing things for yourself that add to joy to your life.
So in the name of adding more JOY to your life, I suggest we truly proclaim Sunday to be FUN-day. This is our day to follow our fancies, uncover our curiosities, create our dreams.
Here are 5 Ways to Make Sunday the Ultimate Fun-Day:
Say NO to things you don’t want to do. A therapist once told me that it is much harder to get past the feeling of regret than to get past the feeling of guilt. And she was right. Acknowledge the guilt around saying no and then let it go. It’s ok to say no to commitments that take your fun-day away.
Indulge. It’s ok to pour an extra big bowl of popcorn for movie night, help yourself to that second bourbon or finally buy those a-little-too-expensive shoes that you’ve been eyeing for ages. The key is that these choices are made from the perspective of bringing you joy vs escaping from pain or unease (a credit card shopping spree is not indulgent, it’s harmful). You want to be happily diving into these decisions vs feeling while you do it that you shouldn’t be (going against strict doctor’s orders would obviously fall into the latter camp).
Create. My two-year-old daughter is in a phase where she is Mama-obsessed, making cooking almost impossible. She is constantly underfoot, hanging on to my legs, begging to “see?! see!?”. So I dream of taking my time and creating a really beautiful meal, from a recipe. Since that’s not currently in the cards for me, I will find other ways to create, including writing, decorating our home, and designing new concepts for All You Are while Nova naps. Set some time aside on Sunday to create something that makes you lose track of time and feel fulfilled and joyful.
Plan something out of your normal routine. Some things don’t happen unless they are actively planned. Take a day trip out of the city, spend an afternoon at a gallery or museum, explore a new neighbourhood, visit a craft market, check out an art exhibition, go to a concert, visit a playground or park outside of your local zone. Because we tend to be creatures of habit, we have to make the effort to have fun.
- Do something YOU love to do, no explanations required. For some, the idea of a perfect activity is hitting a spin class and the juice bar afterwards. For others, its settling onto the couch with snacks and a marathon movie session. I know someone whose idea of a perfect afternoon would include cleaning out her closet(yes, I’m talking about me and I am admitting that I actually find this activity fun!). The point is to choose something that makes you feel good, whether it's lying on the floor and listening to records, or playing a sport or painting, or staying in your robe all day working on a 16-step skincare routine. No judgement — just do it for you.
Of course, eat well, sleep well and exercise…but let’s not be so rigid with our regimens that we forget to also LIVE well.