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When mindfully eating chia seed pudding is not self care

Vintage table wtih two cups of coffee, a macchinetta, dark chocolate, and almonds.

Hey there,

A few weeks ago I was talking to a client and she was being really hard on herself for eating chips in front of the TV to relax one day, instead of doing something more “self-care-ish”. When I asked her what she felt she should be doing, she said “I should have calmly sat down at my table and mindfully eaten chia seed pudding.” As she said this, I could tell this did not seem relaxing. I could see where this was going…

Then again yesterday I was talking to someone who is going through a divorce and she was being really hard on herself for not being able to figure her life out and make intuitive, aligned, spiritual decisions. “I should be able to access my intuition and make decisions that are right for me.”

It’s so clear to me that we put SO much pressure on ourselves to have things look a way we think they should look. We imagine these versions of ourselves where everything is cool, calm, and perfectly collected.

We think that if we were really taking care of ourselves, we would…

Be eating organic vegetables three times a day

Have a daily yoga practice

Be so connected to ourselves that every decision just came effortlessly

…and be mindfully snacking on chia seed pudding.

And then, when our lives don’t look like this, we judge ourselves and shame ourselves.

I should be doing this better. I should be taking care of myself better. I suck. 

But here is what I want you to know:

Self-Care is not always eating chia seed pudding or making spiritually aligned decisions.

  • Sometimes Self-Care IS relaxing in front of the TV with your favorite pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
  • Sometimes it is choosing not to go to yoga and instead going to get drinks with your friends because your soul is craving some fun.
  • Sometimes it is admitting that you’re going through a tough time and don’t know your head from your feet and giving yourself permission to make impulsive, “i dont know what the f*&k im doing” decisions, because that’s the best you can do.
  • Sometimes it is choosing pizza over kale because kale sounds boring and pizza sounds fun.
  • Sometimes it’s crying and letting yourself be sad and upset and not trying to fix it with positivity, or by repeating uplifting affirmations.
  • Sometimes it’s asking for so much support because you just don’t feel strong enough to handle it on your own, no matter how much you “take care” of yourself.
  • Sometimes it’s going to get ice cream with your kids because you love watching them love it and make a mess of it. It brings you joy.
  • Sometimes it’s having three glasses of wine because you’re in the mood and it feels nourishing to your soul.

My point here is… try to drop this image you have of what a woman who is good at “self-care” looks like.

And even more importantly, please stop judging yourself every time you make a choice that doesn’t match that image.

You are the only one who knows what self-care is for you in this current moment. You are the one who knows whether it’s more important for your body to eat kale or your soul to eat pizza. You are the one who knows whether you need a night in to go to yoga and cook a homemade meal or a night out drinking wine with your friends.

ALL of these things are Self-Care.

Sometimes, mindfully eating chia seed pudding just feels boring, dull, and confined. When it feels like that, it is not self-care. Ask yourself what you REALLY need in these moments.

Allow yourself to experience the full range of what self-care is. Ask your entire self – your mind, body, heart and soul – what it needs most, and go from there…

I’d love to hear in the comments below, what image of “what self care should really look like” do you need to let go of? And if you tune into yourself – all parts of you – right now, what feels like the right kind of self-care for you today? 

Lots of love,


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  1. Lynn B says

    ‘You are the only one who knows what self-care is for you in this current moment.’ So true! All about tuning in for the current moment.. sometimes I plan my meals and workout for the day in advance and then feel like eating something else or going back home instead of heading to the gym after work only to beat myself later about it. I should learn to accept that sometimes what body needs and feels like doing changes from morning till night, and I shouldn’t feel guilty about it ..

  2. Keli says

    Amen all over this! Love, love, love this post. Beating ourselves up for anything is generally not helpful and feels icky. When I ‘give myself permission’ to do the thing I really want to do – that’s what self care looks like for me. When I let go of needing to find reasons to justify my decisions or look for other to agree to praise to decisions I’m happiest. Easier said than done but I’m confident with more practice it will get easier. Thank you big time for sharing!

  3. Katie @ Live Half Full says

    I will say that I’m happy to have learned the lesson of what self care really means for me recently. Sometimes that is eating ice cream, or nachos, or whatever I am truly craving at the moment. Or, going “off the rails” for a day or two while I’m traveling or busy, but not beating myself up afterwards. It’s really, really freeing and I’m glad I’m finally here.

  4. Bridget says

    BEST headline ever. Great point – you don’t have to be a soothing Instagram feed to be a happy, healthy person!

  5. Nicola says

    I LOVE that you mention letting yourself be sad and not trying to fix it with positivity. I saw a post on Instagram the other day telling followers you can always put a “positive spin” on things rather than wallowing in negativity. It’s an attitude I see a lot on social media, and I know the posters mean well, because often in life having a positive attitude really makes all the difference.

    But the truth is, sometimes bad things happen and there’s no silver lining, and it’s not healthy to try and frame something like bereavement as a hidden opportunity, because it just plain sucks, and your heart will feel like it’s cracking out of your chest, and the best way to take care of yourself is to cry and grieve and give yourself grace.

    So thank you for this post, because you said something I’ve been trying to find the right words for for a long time.

  6. Lisa says

    Yes, yes, yes! It’s all a balance. Self care is giving yourself what you need, not the perception of what you need. Great post!


This place is for you: To explore what your soul needs to hear today.

I mainly write about Inner CriticSelf-CareFollowing Your IntuitionLife + Evolving, and the occasional Recipe. Enjoy!