The Chocolate Bar Approach to Self-Care

What’s this? You ask.  You’re actually going to tell us to eat more junk food? 

Nope. Not even close. Let me explain.

For the North Americans in the room, remember those tiny chocolate bars that people give out during Halloween? They’re like their larger counterparts, only…tinier. Fun-sized.

When we’re struggling with low energy, poor concentration, and problems motivating ourselves, we need to scale tasks down to something more manageable. It might be just for a time, or it might be a long-term coping strategy. But allowing ourselves to gauge where we’re at from one day to the next can actually be empowering.

I use the term “fun-sized” because some days I’m really hard on myself for not being able to do as much as the next person.  

Sometimes I can accomplish a whole chocolate bar. I pat myself on the back. Sometimes I feel like an ant looking up at a towering behemoth of chocolately-ness stretching farther into the distance than my little bug eyes can see. It is in these moments that I choose to make things fun-sized.

Here are some ways to do that:

  1.  Wash one dish.
  2. Do one push-up.
  3. Wipe the dust off one surface. Extra points if you draw doodles in the dust beforehand.
  4. Eat one slice of cheese or a handful of nuts.
  5. Say one Our Father or Hail Mary if you know these prayers.
  6. Reply to one email.
  7. Read a paragraph.
  8. Write one (imperfect) sentence.
  9. Chop up a vegetable. Eat it with dip for a snack, or put it in a container for later.
  10. Go for a five-minute walk.

The magic of doing only one thing is that, upon completing the task, you may suddenly discover a little spark of energy. You may even want to do more! If not, that’s okay, too! Recovery is a long, arduous process. You are worth every second of it.  


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