yesterday-self slacked off & that is OK

I recently* shared an article on my social media about “revenge bedtime procrastination”** and asked what it was called when you gave up and crawled into bed at 9pm and read a book and fell asleep by 9:30.

A friend commented that she started thanking her “yesterday self” for the work she had done the day before — loading/unloading the dishwasher, tidying up, etc. because it felt good to be appreciated. 

Inspired, I asked myself what can my today-self do to make things better for me now? And what can today-self do to make things better for me tomorrow? 

Today-self can exercise, stay hydrated, and eat well. Today-self can try and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Today-self can wipe up the spills, vacuum up the crumbs, and at least put the wet laundry into the dryer (and remember to start it).

I’ve been trying to think about what today-self can do, and not get frustrated with what yesterday-self didn’t. There are days when yesterday-self was a real slacker. I am trying to be kind to yesterday-self, they’ve been through a lot, and did a fair bit. Today-self can be critical of both yesterday-self and today-self. Never quite doing enough. 

I’ve been trying to practice self-compassion***, asking myself what would I say if a friend came to me with this same problem? Would I tell her that she was a failure as a mother and not doing enough, or would I validate that she’s done so much already and it is okay to have her groceries delivered because leaving the house with children (even when it is not a pandemic) is a lot. 

Today-self can take a few deep breaths and forgive yesterday-self for her shortcomings. Today-self can also thank yesterday-self for all she did. Today-self can try and make things better for tomorrow-self. Today-self can also realize there is only so much she can do and boundaries and self-care are also important, tomorrow-self can pick up whatever where today-self left off. Eventually it will get done, and if not, well, it is okay to order takeout for dinner.

* it was recently when I started this post, it is not “recently” anymore

** This is not the exact article, but it covers the topic well

*** I could have sworn I wrote a blog post about this, Kristin Neff’s book is excellent