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Please help. I've lost track of the difference.

 

On the one hand not going outside is good self-care because I so rarely take time for myself. The idea of taking time to knit, listen to music, or cook for myself is a little bit foreign. This week I'm taking the time to do that.

But then there's the other hand. I should  be taking advantage of our beautiful weather. It won't last. It will get cold and grey in short order. I should be out with my friends. I should be doing things outside in the Big World. But I am not. I am sitting at home in my apartment all day taking it easy.

 

I can't tell if I'm being responsible or making things worse. How do you tell the difference?

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For me if I truly have no desire to go outside and do something then I don't push myself.  When I want to go out, I will go out ... I have the desire to, the wanting to.  But when any doubt comes, it means either I'm not feeling well or it will cause anxiety or something.  So I always trust my gut.

 

Does that make sense?

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sounds completely normal.  Something you ought to do, but feel guilty for not doing it. It's normal... did I mention normal?  You are overanalyzing normal responses.

 

It's nice outside of my window right now.  I should do a yard cleanup before the weather turns, but I am enjoying another activity and I don't feel like doing work right now, so I am going to enjoy some time on the Internet for awhile.

 

it is what it is. it's normal. don't read too much into it.

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Sometimes you just don't want to go out, even if it is nice, The things you're doing at home are all perfectly valid forms of self-care, and you've been running around so much this summer that it makes sense to me that you're tired and need some time to yourself.

 

If you really can't handle the guilt of staying inside on a lovely day, go for a short walk by yourself. You don't have to be social to enjoy some nice weather. But really, it's perfectly OK if you don't feel like going out. Sometimes home is nice.

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I think self-care is about trying to find a balance of everything that is conducive to good mental health. What that looks like is going to be different from person to person. It depends on what behaviours and activities you find helpful and those which make things worse. Too much of anything is probably not good.

 

For example for someone with bipolar, spending all their time out doing things may be too stimulating, especially when manic, and staying in all the time could be too isolating, especially when depressed. So it depends where you're at and where you want to be.

 

If you're currently depressed, good self-care would probably involve trying to get out of the house, try to do something social or in nature. But if you can't manage that, that's fine too. Then, good self-care is about not beating yourself up over it, and forgiving yourself and allowing yourself to stay home and rest. 

 

Personally, I don't push myself too hard to leave the house if I don't want to. I think expecting yourself to be doing "all the right things" when you're really in a bad way, can just make you feel worse for not managing to do them. I think it's helpful to push yourself a little bit when you can do something but equally important to be kind and forgiving to yourself when you can't.

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The way I can tell the difference is if I'm feeling guilty or not. If I'm genuinely practicing self-care then there is no guilt involved. I know that I'm doing what is best for me. If I'm wishy-washy on whether it's self-care or isolating, then I go with it being isolating and I get out. 

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My difficulty is that I've had a goal to go outside every day pretty much my entire life. I feel guilty for not going outside even if I'm having a wonderful time being indoors all day, and the weather is terrible.

So it's not much of a marker. Which might be why I can't tell the difference all that easily.

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Maybe you could work on letting yourself enjoy a day in. Plan to stay home one day every other week, or whatever seems reasonable. Then you are setting a specific goal to allow yourself to enjoy a day staying inside your home. Pick a day for next week. If it's a planned day, then you wouldn't simply be following a mood to hide out. You could remind yourself of that on the day you stay in.

 

A little down time is healthy. It would be good if you let yourself have some and learned to simply enjoy it. Hmm. If you have a tdoc at all CBT oriented, they could probably help you develop a useful plan to get to the goal of being able to enjoy a day off at home.

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Sometimes, you just don't feel like going outside. As said it is normal. Every person on the planet needs some time with themselves, to enjoy doing 'nothing important'.

 

Unless you are feeling anxious or unmotivated, give yourself a break :) people need down time. It doesn't mean that person is having an episode or avoiding your responsibility of self care. It just means you need some time to reenergize your brain & body.

 

It's okay, really,

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No. I don't understand.

I don't want to go out. But I feel guilty for not going out.

 

I'm sorry I didn't explain well.  I think what others have written makes sense.  What I was trying to say was that if I don't want to go out, I don't.  I don't push it, and I learned to not feel guilty for it over time.  I say to myself to just stay in (if I want to) so I don't add any more stress to my life.

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No. I don't understand.

I don't want to go out. But I feel guilty for not going out.

 

 

With me, this could be a familiar internal argument.  What I wish, and what I feel I "ought" to be doing.

 

Next job is to have a few moment;s thought as to whether the "ought" is coming from the "better me"  that knows, for example, that there will be plenty of days for staying in coming soon, but days good for going out are going to be in shorter supply, 

or whether it is coming from the "cowed by society" bit of me, that still thinks that "most people..." is an argument with force or merit.

I am not "most people" so what "most people" might do does not generate a real "ought" just on those grounds.  

It took me a while to even partially dislodge that one, so keen had I been for many years to try to fit in by being "normal" and meeting (local) society's expectations for such.

 

Looking at the choices listed, I see an intermediate: going outside but on your own.   A solitary walk in a park?  Feed the ducks, enjoy the trees and the air without having to make conversation?

(That may be a complete miss, of course.)

 

Chris.

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I think Emmettman may have put it the best.  Maybe it's the autistic-like opinions he and I both have, but I think he was on the nail when he said the "ought" is not mandatory.

 

Ex:

A) "My mother is being a bitch on the phone to me.  I ought to verbally give it back to her right now." [Culturally appropriate for most people]

B) "My mother is being a bitch on the phone to me.  I ought ask her if her poison ivy flareup got really bad or just drop whatever subject just pissed her off, since obviously she can't handle it," [i find this one works the best]

C) "My mother is being a bitch on the phone to me.  I ought to suggest she try doxepin and tell her helps with both itching problems and bitching problems, and then slam the phone down." [Good idea of a universal "ought not", but eerily similar to (A)]

 

The correct answer is B, since it works the best between her and I.

 

Likewise, don't do something just because it's what your neighbor/friend/relative/fellow countryman would usually do.  Yes, autumn is upon us here in the northern Hemisphere, and those of us in most of North America and Europe enjoy our only 2-3 months of sane weather right about now.  Something intuitive to do might be to take a walk outside, but then again, many of my fellow countrymen would give it right back to my mother if they heard what she's screamed at me.  If you really don't care for weather that most people consider beautiful, it's not any utility for you to partake in it.

 

I suggest sitting inside and knitting or doing anything else healthy that makes you feel good psychologically.  I once had a tdoc who told me that interacting with what are obviously external objects (by cooking -- or knitting for that matter) is a form of extroversion and healthy for those who want to improve their ease of dealing with others.  The only regret you might have is come December, if you really wanted to go out at the time, since you would have missed the opportunity in better weather.  Or you might be like me and enjoy strolls out in -10C and snow showers so that wouldn't matter. :smartass:

 

Meanwhile, please stay happy. :-)

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