Treat Yo Self! (To Counseling)

I’m a HUGE Parks and Rec fan. Ever watch that show? I find it hilarious, innocent, and full of people resolving conflict and loving each other through their flaws.  There’s this one episode where this guy named Tom, who thinks he is a total gangster, and this super sassy lady named Donna go on this crazy shopping spree to “treat yo self.” The sky is the limit: expensive clothes, fancy restaurants, massages, and drinks all around! Treat. Yo. Self. (If you want to watch it, its season 4, episode 4. Highly recommend!)


It’s a super funny episode, and in my opinion, not too far off of how we actually live today. But instead of once a year… we may do that more often than our bank accounts agree with. Maybe not so much on the crazy shopping sprees but in anything with the intent of “treating yo self.”

Treat yourself to something to make you feel good. Treat yourself to distract you from your thoughts or what’s going on around you. Treat yourself because you care for yourself. I am finding that treating yourself often connects with this very trendy thing called “self-care.”

Self-care has been a very popular thing to talk about these days.  Perhaps you have seen it mentioned with self-help books or magazine articles. In a nutshell (and to my understanding), self-care is about being kind to yourself. It’s partly about knowing when you’re running low, and stepping back to replenish yourself, rather than letting everything in you drain away and feel burnt out or worn out. There are thousands of “how to’s” with steps and examples on how to implement self-care.


The lists are endless! Take a walk, cozy up next to a fire, take a nap, exercise, have some dessert, color, paint, have a glass of wine, try something new, read a book, journal, get a massage, and the very popular: take a bubble bath.

Many of the lists that I have read on how to treat yourself to self-care are physical things that just make us feel good and sometimes can be coping mechanisms that only give temporarily relief.

If I may get personal here… I have definitely done the latter. I’ve coped thinking it was self-care, using the excuse, “treat yo self.”

I’ve splurged on clothes. I’ve eaten whole pizzas, downing it with a bottle of wine. I’ve avoided being alone by constantly being out with friends. I’ve done spontaneous day trips to distract myself. All because fun = self-care, right? All of those felt good in the moment, but most resulted in feeling worn out and sometimes a financial remorse hangover. Or even worse… an actual hangover (ouch).

And then I’ve gone to the other extreme of actually taking care of myself by making better choices like eating healthier, working out, being super focused with my career, being heavily involved in volunteer opportunities, or reading a book instead of being on my phone. I even did baths because it’s like the most recommended thing on everything you read. Turns out, I really don’t like them. They gross me out and I’m way too tall in any bathtub.

Healthier choices were definitely good decisions, and made a difference in how I felt physically and positively impacted me mentally, but after my many attempts to care for myself and treat myself, I realized that a lot of it was coming from superficial motives. The desire to be filled up and replenished was actully a cry from my soul. What I needed was something deeper, something raw, something genuine.


I decided to talk to someone.

I went to counseling.

Counseling wasn’t something I thought I needed. Even when I first started going I felt weird, and uncertain if it was really necessary. But to my discovery, using my voice actually did something where those coping mechanisms didn’t!

I had inner bondage that I couldn’t break out of on my own. No matter what friends or family said to help me or encourage me, my internal chains trapped me. I needed assistance from a trusted person for guidance, to speak into my life and help me resolve personal conflict, my problems and difficulties, to ask questions when I really didn’t understand why she was asking them, and to go deeper when I really wanted to brush over certain topics.

It wasn’t fun most days, and the angst of going wasn’t relaxing. But it’s exactly what I needed all along – to let my soul speak.

My self-care was soul-care. And soul-care is really hard!

I think sometimes we link self-care with things that are easy and less taxing. We think self-care has everything to do with relaxation, but I would have to disagree. Self-care isn’t always fluffy, sometimes it’s actually hard work.

I believe it’s hard because your self is your soul.  And your soul is deep and intricate and complicated in all the right and wonderful ways. Anything we try to do to make ourselves feel better is a cry for something our soul is craving. I think we crave to be heard. I think we crave to have things sorted out. I think we crave direction. I think we crave help. And we most definitely crave internal peace.

be bold sileMy self-care was going to counseling. And by doing the hard work of soul-care in counseling, I could then indulge in those simple pleasures, like painting, slowing down, buying some new shoes, and making healtheir choices because I actually wanted to.

It’s so easy to distract ourselves with the easy. But easy hardly lasts, let alone fulfills. I encourage you if you haven’t already, take that risk of going deeper for yourself. Because the best way to treat yourself is to tackle the stuff hiding beneath the surface. #treatyoself



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