There’s a lot of motivational speak out there that encourages just doing the thing (usually it’s the exercise-related ones I see most often) if you don’t want to. Generally speaking, that’s probably good advice. I don’t often want to do various things around the house or to take care of myself, but life is generally better if I’m able to make myself do those things.
However, sometimes it’s not a matter of not wanting to, but of not being able to. Or of being technically able to do the thing, but knowing that there will be significant debilitating fallout later for hours, days, weeks, even years.
In those cases, even though it can be difficult to get out of the “I can do it so I should” mindset, I think it’s best to really listen to your body and intuition about it. The fact is that even if you think you COULD do whatever the thing is, it may not be wise to actually do it. Ask yourself whether it’s more that you don’t want to do it or if you literally cannot manage doing it right now. Ask yourself how bad the fallout would be if you did it and if the thing is worth risking the worst potential fallout you could see it being.
If it’s a vital thing, try to figure out a later time to do it. If It’s not vital then let it go and don’t worry about it.
And other people need to try and understand that this type of self-care isn’t a lack of discipline or laziness or anything like that. It’s tricky because, from the outside, they look pretty much the same; but on the inside they are very very different.
There are many days that I stay home from the gym instead of going every single day even if I want to. It’s of the utmost importance to pay attention to my body and energy and sensitivity levels if I want to avoid things like overload, meltdowns, and shutdowns.
Some of those days I will go later in the day after getting additional sleep that morning by skipping the gym. Other days I won’t go at all or even for days at a time.
It’s not a chore for me to go to the gym, it helps my mental health, and I want to go as long as my body and sensory issues will let me so it’s difficult for me to listen and make the decision to stay home, but so often it’s the best choice. Going there exposes me to people, social interactions, noises, sensations, and lights that can easily contribute to sensory overload. If I’m already struggling a fair amount then going to the gym can precipitate/cause/result in a meltdown.
Honestly, I think it takes a great deal of self-discipline and certainly a great deal of self-awareness to listen to our bodies, examine how close to overload we are, then to make wise decisions based on that information instead of pushing through no matter what so we can “just do it.”
Sometimes the fallout from doing something is simply too much. Our limitations should be respected and if we don’t respect them then nobody else is likely to respect them either.