The Subtle Aggression of Self-Improvement

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“The subtle aggression of self-improvement” this was something my mentor used to say that always stuck with me.

I often encounter clients with a giant self-care to-do list and numerous wellbeing service appointments – often accompanied by a lot of exhaustion, dread, and fear.

Fear and dread of the burden of keeping up with it all – but also that our Selves, as we are, are not enough unless we are constantly improving, being fixed, growing. 

When moving with depression or anxiety this aggressive pursuit of self improvement can backlash hard.

On depression, when it is very difficult to feel any kind of motivation or have much energy at all, a self care list feels so immovable, dreadfully heavy.

On anxiety, a to do list becomes yet another thing to live up to, there is a sense of desperation and frenzy to stay on top of this list, get more tools, do more things, invest in more services of self care.

So how do we strike a balance? because we do need to take care of ourselves and grow and heal.

Something we have all heard: baby steps, the babier, the better.

You may need to scrap your self care plan for only these three things for a while. 

  1. 1 minute of meditation a day – here’s a couple on youtube!
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7PxEy5IyV4
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fcdv0kFVMs
  1. 1 minute of HIIT cardio a day – 20 seconds of jumping jacks, 10 second rest, repeat or sub out with
    • high knees
    • bicycle kicks
    • burpees
    • planks
    • jump squats
  2. Swapping out or decreasing (not cold turkey) foods with gluten, corn, sugar (known to cause mood dysregulation)
    • zevia instead of coke
    • gluten free bread/pasta
    • dark chocolate or “paleo” sweets – you can make “banana bread” in a mug and a minute in the microwave with an egg, almond flour, and a banana – bonus points if you add a dash of salt, vanilla extract, chocolate chips and/or cinnamon

Another thing my mentor always said is “Self-acceptance is a means and a measure of wellbeing” 

There are tools to be with your Self, good bad and ugly – as a human who will always move with fear and pain in cycles, mood disorder or not. As a human that needs maintenance – especially when we are entering anxiety and depression territory. As a human who wants and needs a break from keeping up with it all sometimes.

Mental Wellness Visionary at KathrynAWalker.com | Website

Kathryn A. Walker is a pioneering medical researcher and psychiatrist known for her groundbreaking work in the field of mental health, particularly in the area of ketamine treatments. With a deep passion for understanding and alleviating the burden of treatment-resistant mood disorders, Kathryn has dedicated her career to investigating the therapeutic potential of ketamine.

Through her relentless efforts, she has played a pivotal role in shedding light on ketamine’s efficacy in treating conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Her research has not only transformed the way we approach mental health care but has also provided hope to countless individuals who had previously found little relief from conventional treatments.

Kathryn A. Walker’s pioneering contributions continue to shape the landscape of mental health medicine and inspire new avenues of research in the pursuit of better mental well-being for all.

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