The Side Effects of Self-Care

The source material for today’s entry came from an unlikely source – my barber. I went for my monthly appointment to get groomed up for the summer weather. After being her client for close to a year now, I have a stereotypical relationship with my barber. We talk about anything and everything.

Today I told her about some stressful events that had taken place over the last few weeks and my recent focus on self-care. What she said next stopped me in my tracks.

She used the example of going to the gym. “Losing weight is just a side effect.” I was perplexed by this statement. Wasn’t the point of going to the gym to lose weight? I asked her to elaborate. “You go to the gym to improve yourself. Losing weight is simply a side effect.” Talk about a reality check, but it made sense. By taking the appropriate steps to improve and care for your overall well-being, there will be positive “side effects.” There will be benefits that follow suit towards your ultimate goal.

She continued. “You have to be honest with yourself.” Now this might sound like common sense, but we seldom practice what we preach. We have to be willing to admit our vulnerabilities and areas for improvement. It is much easier to avoid our imperfections by lying to ourselves, making excuses, omitting the truth, or avoiding the issue altogether. We can often tell others what they need to do, but rarely turn that insight inwards.

“My problem is that I don’t have the courage.” My barber was alluding to the courage to carry out the action. Here she shares the most common fear that I have experienced with my friends, family, clients, and within myself – the fear of the unknown. We do not know what is going to happen as we embark towards self-care and how we will maintain a steady pace. There are risks to be taken with self-care. You will face anxiety and discomfort, as you try new things.

As you move towards self-improvement, take a moment to reflect on your progress every so often. Even if you have not reached your ultimate goal, look at the “side effects” you have gained as a result.

-The Caring Counselor

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