Overcoming Overwhelm: You Can’t Fail at Self Care

[this is an excerpt on true self care from my book Overcoming Overwhelm if you would like a full chapter (for free! just click here.]

Dr Samantha's book Overcoming OverwhelmThere will always be times when you get off track—times you accidentally oversleep and don’t get to the gym, times you forget to plan for dinner and end up going out, or times you lose it and eat a bowl of ice cream even though you know it will make you sick. There will always be unexpected losses and disappointments, and there will always be situations you don’t handle as well as you’d like. There will always be bad days—sometimes even bad weeks, months, or years. And that’s okay. 

My Chip and Ice Cream Moments

I remember when I was struggling with my weight and compulsive overeating. Every day I would wake up thinking, “Today will be the day I finally won’t fail. It will be the day that I will finally become the new me I’ve always wanted to be.” But then when the day would be coming to a close, I inevitably found myself neck-deep in a pint of ice cream or a bag of chips. I’d failed. Again. 

What I now know is that those weren’t failures. Far from it.

Learn from ‘Failure’

I was learning what I needed to do to get underneath my problem so I could solve it for good. I was learning that I needed to deal with the psychological issues that were driving my overeating. I was learning that the foods I was eating were triggers for me. I was learning that in addition to wanting to make changes, I needed to accumulate the skills or support necessary to make them. Overcoming overwhelm is a process of learning what is most important so you can make choices and tweak them over time to assure they’re lining up with your values and goals, even as the values and goals evolve over time. You can’t do it all, but as long as you are making empowered decisions, you can’t help but go in the right direction. If you get off track, you recalibrate. It’s as simple as that.

Picture of ASL letter blocks Y E S

So from here on out, look at your ‘failures’ as experiences that teach you. If you want to start exercising, but stop after six weeks, ask why that happened and what you can do about it, rather than just writing it or yourself off as a failure. You need to figure out what roadblock got in your way and how you can get around it. And if you do all of that and still aren’t able to get back to your exercise plan, maybe now isn’t the time for a new exercise program. 

In any case, in all cases, getting off track is not a failure. Self-care is a process, not a goal. You absolutely cannot fail.

Yours in Health,

PS. You don’t have to do this alone! If you would benefit from having the accountability of an appointment to look at your habits, let’s talk. Visit my virtual consults page to learn more — my favorite part of this? We can work together from anywhere in the world. Hit me up if you have any questions.



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