What’s good for us

Why is it so hard to do the things we know will make us feel better when we’re feeling down?

I know, for example, that the following things are both good for me and feel good:
taking a walk
meditating
writing
reading a book
exercising
gardening

But when I’m sad, stressed, worried, or otherwise feeling like crap, I tend to plunk down on the couch, watch tv, and eat chocolate.

It’s not that I’m saying those activities are bad. I just know what opens me up, makes the world feel a bit bigger, more possible. And while tv and chocolate give me pleasure, they also numb me, make me sleepy–not just physically, but spiritually and mentally.

I’m not judging here. I’m not into self-judging or other-judging. I just wish I could remember to take care of my whole self better, including when I need it most. Perhaps I should get a tattoo inside my wrist–the right one, the one that reaches for the tv remote–that says, “Take a walk.”

I also wish I had an answer for my own question. One thing that comes up, for me, is the thought that when I’m really depressed, I tend to feel worthless. (Break that down–“worth less”–and you’ll see why the whole equal pay thing is so important, as well as the problematic ways in which we view worth/value in our materialist/consumerist society.) And so I feel I’m not even worth the effort to take care of myself. It’s a stupid cycle of pain.

One small moment of good can break that cycle for me. One person saying she likes my poems; one blooming gardenia; one shared smile with a friend or stranger.

And I’m lucky: I get those moments, frequently. So let me say it back to you–friends and those I don’t know–you are worth it, worth that tiny bit of extra effort it takes to truly give yourself some meaningful care. Take a walk.

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