Self-Care Is Not Always Pleasant

Self-care has become a buzzword, with pictures on Instagram of people using face masks, indulging in bubble baths with their new bath bombs, getting manicures and pedicures, treating themselves to chocolate, a green smoothie, you name it. While all of that is great and there’s nothing wrong with it whatsoever (seriously, go for it!), I think it’s also worth to shed some light on the self-care that might not be as fun, “insta-worthy”, or even pleasurable. The self-care that hardly anyone talks about. The type of self-care some might think of as “a necessary evil” – even though it’s not evil at all because it’s still caring for yourself!

Definition of Self-Care

Let’s get a little technical for a brief moment and take a look at what self-care means according to some definitions:

Oxford dictionary: The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health. The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

Meriam-Webster: Care for oneself.

From a Psychology Today article: Self care in essence is the mindful taking time to pay attention to you, not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that ensures that you are being cared for by you.

Based on reading these definitions, my interpretation is that self-care is a practice that involves caring for ourselves in ALL aspects concerning our health (mental, emotional, physical).

The Background Story

I’m writing on this particular topic because of an experience I had that made me question what self-care really is and what areas of my wellbeing I needed to cared for.

I had a couple of rough weeks in March. I got really sick while I was in The Philippines. It started off as a simple cold, which later led to bronchitis. I was basically in bed for a week and a half, with barely any energy to do anything. The week after, even though I was feeling better, that low energy and “sick routine” lingered around. It also didn’t help that I flew to Canada, so I was recovering from being sick plus now I was jet-lagged. So I felt drained. I was still staying in bed way too much during the day. I would be too lazy some nights to do my usual routine (wash my face, brush my teeth, floss, etc). I was struggling to keep up with clients and work. I felt foggy. Then it dawned on me that I was not practicing self-care in the most simplest ways.

Practicing self-care is as simple as keeping up with our hygiene (a nice shower will do), finding time to move around (perhaps a mini dance party in your room) or going for a walk, even if only for 5 minutes. It’s also regularly keeping your overall medical health in check, which is SO vital and sometimes taken for granted. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t frequent the doctor as much as I should.

When was the last time you went for a general check up at the doctor?

When was the last time you went to the dentist for a cleaning?

When was the last time you got your eyes checked?

Types of Self-Care

I compiled a list of other “not so popular” types of self-care that I find just as important as the ones we typically see/hear about:

  • Brushing your teeth + practicing good, regular hygiene overall
  • Going to the doctor
  • Going to the dentist
  • Getting our eyes checked
  • Drinking more water
  • Budgeting and sticking to that budget
  • Not taking that extra shot of tequila
  • Taking a lunch break vs. working through lunch
  • Not watching the next episode on Netflix at 1am when you know you need to be up early

We can have an established self-care routine, but sometimes life happens (such as getting sick or being a jet-setter) which can cause a shift in our routine. Getting back to that routine can be challenging, but not impossible!

Make yourself a priority and get back to your self-care routine. I’m very eager to hear what your ideal routine looks like and the reasons and stories behind it. Book a discovery call with me and we’ll work something out.

Have patience and compassion, even in sketchy situations

Traveling is an emotional journey. When you travel to a foreign country, it requires you to be a little more patient, more alert, more disciplined, understanding, and compassionate. I’ve had many situations where my patience and ability to be (even more) compassionate were put to the test, and I’m going to share with you how I handled this stressful situation when I first arrived to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in Vietnam. What happened was stressful and slightly sketchy (it could have been so much worse) but by keeping my cool and trying to step into the other person’s shoes, the situation came and went. It all worked out in the end.

So I arrived in Saigon on a Thursday night. I got my luggage from baggage claim, turned on my wifi, and opened up the Grab App to request my ride. My friendly and polite Grab driver picked me up and made his way over to the address for my homestay (like an Airbnb type of place). As we approached what we thought was the address of the place, the driver, with a confused look, pointed to the right of us where a hotel building was.

“Is this the place, mam?” I figured it was, the little car on the app showed we were right at the location, so I said yes, thanked the driver, and left the car. I walked up to the building, a lady helped me in and gave her my name and asked her if this was the right homestay (I showed them a picture of the name and address from my booking on Agoda). The lady said this was the wrong place and said that it was just down the street. So I walked down the street, while also using Google Maps to guide me. The place I arrived to was an internet cafe. I zoomed in on the map again, and then looked and walked up and down the street. The place was literally no where to be found! An elderly Vietnamese man came up to me and tried to help. He asked the nearby businesses if they knew where this was and no one seemed to know.

I messaged the homestay through Agoda messaging and told the person that I had “arrived” but I couldn’t find the place. After sending the message, a Vietnamese couple came up to me and asked if I needed help (in English). I told them that I was trying to look for my homestay and how I was at the given address but the physical place was no where to be found. The woman asked if the homestay had a number so that she could call and ask. I gave her the number and she proceeded to call. While she dialed, her husband was telling me that they are both originally from Vietnam, but were only there for holidays, and that they currently live in the USA.

The woman got off the call and said that a lady answered and mentioned that the address listed on Google and Agoda had not been updated so it was wrong, and that she would soon come and get me. The woman offered to stay with me until I got picked up. I got a very mama bear vibe from her, which was nice because it was already nighttime, I had all my stuff with me and apparently not sure of where to go. So I accepted and we chatted while we waited for the homestay lady to pick me up. Minutes went by, and the homestay lady still had not shown up. The woman decided to call again. After she called, she was upset that the homestay lady told her that she had already picked me up, to which of course the woman said she replied to her, of course not, she’s right here still! She concluded that the homestay lady would be here soon.

So what was I thinking and feeling while all of this was going on? I hope this gets figured out soon. I’m sure there must be some sort of customer protection of some sort since I booked through Agoda… Worst case scenario, I can find some last minute hostel or hotel for the night if this ends up being a scam. Is this a scam? This has never happened to me before, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. Maybe the Vietnamese couple will ask me to stay with them? I get the vibe that she might ask me to. But what if this is all part of the plan… what if they kidnap me? Nah, I’m probably overreacting.

The woman was telling me that she has seen this happen with homestays before, that sometimes the host arrived 2 of 3 hours late to let in the guests. She went on to ask if I had heard of Airbnb and that she recommended that I should use Airbnb instead because it’s safer. Then, with her mama bear senses kicking in, she decided to call again for the third time. I could tell she was upset at this lady. The lady again just said she would be there soon.
Then just as I had predicted, the woman said “well worst case scenario, stay the night with us and we can help you book something the following day. I don’t want to leave you here all alone in the night, especially a young lady. Let’s see if she actually comes if not you can come with us.”

I politely thanked them and said that I was hopeful that the homestay lady would come soon. And just as I said that, she FINALLY did show up! She was in a scooter. The minute she arrived she was very apologetic, constantly saying sorry and I could tell she was a bit stressed out. I immensely thanked the Vietnamese couple for helping me out and keeping me company while this got sorted out.

I can’t believe that I got in the scooter with the tiny homestay lady with my suitcase, giant backpack and my tote bag! Luckily it was only a 3 minute drive up the street. She was super apologetic about everything and seemed to be in distress, exhausted and just like things were out of control. I felt for her because I know that feeling. I said it was ok and proceeded to settle into my room.

20 minutes later, I decided to look for some food. On my way out, I saw there were other lost travelers that had barely made it to the homestay after searching for it. They were very unhappy because apparently the homestay lady informed them that there was no more available rooms even though they had booked it already (yikes!). That could have been me.

So you see, it all worked out in the end, I found my way to the correct place with the help of some lovely strangers. It was a stressful situation for all, even if I was the foreigner in the situation, but I think A TON of patience and compassion goes a long way in a situation like this. Yes, this could have turned out to be a horror story and I could have been scammed or worse. Luckily for me and those other lost travelers, it was just a poorly managed homestay. And the homestay lady, she is definitely not terrible or the villain of the story. She probably needs help managing the place and some time to reconnect and refocus her energy! I’m sending her good vibes her way.

Do you want to reconnect to yourself and regain the energy you gave away to everyone and everything else? Enroll in The Mellow Space, my subscription-based group where I will help you do just that, at an affordable price of only $35/month.