It takes more than just treating yourself.
Sleeping is one hell of a drug. I used to sleep extensively, and every roommate I’ve had would tell you how deeply impressive I could make a sleep cycle last. I would put getting sleep above my responsibilities, because in my head, I needed it anyway. When things were bad, I would just put myself in a deep slumber and excuse it as a form of self-care. But that self-care slowly turned against me, because every hour lost asleep has consequences in reality.
It’s easy to put a label on something we do for ourselves as “self-care”. We all have our own strategies — whether it’s blowing cash on things or dancing your problems away. Self-care brings a lot of pleasure upfront, as what usually comes to mind are images of spending, and pampering the self. As Donna and Tom from Parks and Rec popularized it, “Treat Yo Self!” — which is not inherently wrong, but when you’re miserable about your decisions after the initial kick of joy, then maybe you should check yo’ self instead.
Instant gratification can be addictive, but it’s temporary. It doesn’t absolve you of your issues, and putting a band-aid over it does not mean it’s not there. It’s okay to cut yourself loose, but it’s also important to know when to stop. For me, sleep feels good, but it also means cutting classes. It means falling behind my academics and feeling like a slacker. It means having my anxiety magnified in ways which could’ve been avoided if I just forced myself to get out of bed.
Self-care involves a lot of work and discipline. It’s unsexy, and often times clinical. A lot of it doesn’t feel good, because self-care can also take the form of tasks and responsibilities. You have to consciously tell yourself to do things in order to function and survive. Think of it as a security deposit for the sake of your mental health and your future. No matter how much we want it, the universe will not wait on us to catch up.
The cycle is evil when you’re in a rut, but there are ways to breach the blues. You can still indulge in your skin care routine, but not at the expense of your weekly allowance. You can still get that shirt/bag/shoe, but only after you know in the deepest pit of your stomach that you’ve done something to deserve it. It just takes a little time and whole lot of practice. Eventually, you’ll be good to yourself to know your limits and then follow through. You just have to suck it up and try hard like everyone else.
I still indulge in the occasional sleep marathon, but I do make sure that it doesn’t mess with my life. (Setting about 10 alarms and telling your friend to wake you up helps.) Sleep is very, very good, but so is waking up in the morning ready to take on the day, knowing that I managed to catch the sunrise again.