I love Habitica. It’s a gamified list-making RPG for life, and it’s awesome. I use it to keep track of daily things (med reminders, a giant ‘EAT FOOD’ daily task, etc), my to-do list, and it has a nifty column for sorting habits (drink more water, do laundry before the last minute-now-I-am-out-of-pants-and-work-in-the-morning panic, etc).
I have a lot on my to-do column. I also have a lot of dailies. Usually this is fine. (I came back after resting in the inn, aka being on hiatus, for two months.)
Checking off a to-do or a daily, seeing the XP you earn and sometimes getting loot, is very satisfying.
But some days, headspace is bad, or bodies suck, or a little of everything combines to make me feel like shit and looking at lists and to-dos and things gets overwhelming and I just want to hide under the blankets forever.
And, in the past, my inclination when this happened was to get mad at myself, let the berating self-doubt voices get loud and shout about how it didn’t matter if I was tired and feeling awful, I HAD THINGS TO DO STOP BEING LAZY AND JUST EFFING DO IT. Spoiler: it never works. It just makes me feel even worse, and so the downward spiral gets deeper and, like you might imagine, still nothing gets done.
So, when these bad days happen, I’m trying a new approach.
I want to be kind to myself. It’s hard, but I’m trying.
So I didn’t get all the to-dos and dailies done? That’s okay. “Have a cookie and some tea,” I will tell myself, “and just relax for a bit and let yourself de-stress. The tasks won’t mutate into giant slime blobs and take out the nearest residential block like a B-rated horror movie.”
Kindness is a learned concept, and self-kindness can be terribly hard for those of us who are pressured to do emotional labor for everyone but ourselves. We may be conditioned and socialized to downplay our needs, to tough it out, to focus on everyone else first and then, maybe, if there’s time, look to our own well-being. But when is there ever time, really?
Self-kindness is hard. It gets called selfishness or any other variety of less-pleasant names; it gets confused with negative concepts.
But self-care requires some self-kindness. Self-care is important. Don’t believe the doubtroaches who diss it. The roaches are lying liars who lie. SELF CARE IS IMPORTANT. So is self-kindness.
Being kind to yourself is not a sin, it’s not a moral failing, it’s not wasted time. It’s necessary and worthy, because YOU are necessary and worthy and deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.
I know it’s hard. There’s all sorts of tangled, messy thoughts that want to convince us that treating ourselves with care is somehow taking away from a limited pool of goodness that everyone has to scrabble for, and that’s bullshit. The pool is unlimited; there’s plenty to go around until the end of the universe. Kindness is infinite, and it’s available for everyone–yes, yourself in included.
So. Like I said, I know it can be hard. But I’m trying, and I hope you too will try be kind to yourself.
It can look like whatever you want it to look like.
For me, it’s allowing that I don’t have to finish all these tasks if I don’t have the energy or spoons.
It’s me saying, “It’s okay, self. We can do these tasks another time when we feel better. Yes, it’s okay to go play video games instead if that helps. Have some tea. You’re not a bad robot for needing a break or not finishing all the things all at once.”
“Really?” I whisper.