I gotta be honest, the last two weeks of summer vacation were a bit tough as I tried to balance kids at home with trying to get work done. By the end, I was pretty short-tempered, tired, and ready to send my kids back to school so that I could get back to a more regular schedule. Now that they are back and launched, I am turning my attention to work but also to self-care.
Self-Care Through Food
Many of us have tried different forms of self-care, whether it be exercise, meditation, sleep, manicures and pedicures, massages, or time with friends. Whatever speaks to you is a great form of self-care and I fully encourage you to make space for it. But I have been thinking recently about how we rarely talk about food as an instrument of self-care.
First, the basics. A well-balanced diet (or even a relatively well-balanced diet) helps us in so many ways—from having enough energy and focus to get our daily tasks done, to helping to ward off illness, to improving sleep, to keeping us from getting hangry and fighting with our loved ones (or maybe that’s just me). So, making sure that you have healthy options at the core of your diet (most of the food that you consume) will make a big difference.
But treats can be self-care, too! Now I’m not advocating for emotional eating or downing a whole pint of ice cream (not that I am going to judge you if you do that!), but I do think that it is important to acknowledge that sometimes the best way we can treat ourselves, relax, or connect with people that will help us to feel better is through food. Furthermore, that this use of food is natural, healthy, and ok. For me, that looks like a handful of chocolate chips at the end of lunch and a small dessert after the boys are in bed at night. It also looks like a hot chocolate enjoyed after dropping the boys off for their first day of school or a dinner out with girlfriends I haven’t seen in a long time. These are important and valuable.
Redefining Self-Care Through Food
The funny thing is that many of us already to do some or all of these sorts of things, but we don’t see it as self-care. We see it as weakness or “cheating,” which implies guilt and wrong-doing. But wouldn’t it be so much more empowering and helpful if, instead, we were to enter into these food-related decisions mindfully and to acknowledge that we are taking care of ourselves? Wouldn’t that food taste so much better, feel so much better, if it wasn’t served with a side of regret? I think so.
So next time you splurge on that mocha or have an ice cream cone with your kids (or by yourself!), try viewing it as an act of self-care and see if it tastes just that much better.
If having a balanced and happy relationship with the meals you are eating is a priority for you, consider a two-week free trial of The Scramble. We’ll help you to plan your meals so that a well-balanced diet, including treats, can be a part of your daily life.