I think we need to have a talk about self-care because it seems to be a little misunderstood, and therefore not always practiced properly. I had been wanting to write this post for a little while and then I stumbled upon an article that kind of called out the way some people are practicing self-care as being less than effective because of the way in which it was being practiced. First of all, let’s acknowledge that self-care is not a new concept. What is new, is having to actively implement this practice because we are living in a society that does not allow for us to look after ourselves in the best ways that we should. So, we are now finding ourselves having to actively schedule in self-care time so that we don’t go crazy, and often we don’t choose to schedule it in until we have actually gone crazy and finally accept that we need to turn off for a while (not a very good cycle to be in). I think it is super important to identify what self-care means so that we can practice it properly and get the real benefits out of it. How do we do this? Before I even begin let me just preface that I know that all of our to-do lists are a mile long and that there is always “something else” that needs to get done. With that being said, I think it is fair to say that you can take a half hour out of your day to honor yourself in some way. Whether that is through reading a book that allows your mind to turn off, having a bath with Epsom salts to maintain your health, or baking a healthy nutritious treat that will last you through the week. If we can start to do these things more regularly, hopefully, we won’t allow our stresses and burdens build up to the point of burn out and therefore a half-assed self-care attempt.
We have all been there, we have had an incredibly long week or it wasn’t even that long but we let our stressors build without handling them properly and then we resort to binging on Netflix and pizza for the entire night and call that self-care. I am not saying that you can’t do this, in fact, I will bring the pizza. What I am saying, is that if this is the only thing that you are doing to “look after yourself” you are doing yourself a disservice. Self-care is intended to help you handle the stressors of your day-to-day by engraining techniques and tools that will allow you to remain stable and content despite what is going on around you. I have had nights where I have been so overwhelmed and I think “You know what? I deserve to sit here and watch five episodes of friends without guilt, and that’s what I’m going to do”. And once those shows are over I stumble into bed without having done anything to prepare myself for the next full day ahead, I think you can see the snowball effect that is going to occur here. After doing this multiple times under the guise of “self-care” I quickly realize that I am more burnt out than before, with even more to get done.
So then what do we do? Let’s start by making a list of things that fill you up. Does reading an empowering book while having a calming bath help? What about going for a nice walk while listening to a podcast? The list of self-care techniques is endless and it is totally dependent on what fills you up. Journaling could be incredibly therapeutic for one person, and torture for another so I won’t tell you exactly what you should be doing. What I will say is that you should be picking things that leave your heart feeling happy and recharged. It may seem like it is too much work to do some of these things, but the overall outcome is so worth it. You will start to feel the difference, I promise.
Ok, now that you have picked something that you know is going to benefit you, is there something that NEEDS to be done for tomorrow to start off seamless? If you don’t get your laundry done tonight are you going to be running around looking for underwear for 20 minutes in the morning like I did today? This example is literally exactly what just happened to me, I binge watched a bunch of shows last night AND DID NOTHING ELSE! When I KNEW I was out of clean underwear. Did I feel good wasting time this morning trying to find underwear in any corner of my house? No. Did I feel like I was recharged from last nights “self-care”? No. So, the next step after picking what is going to recharge you, choose to do a small chore that will make tomorrow easier. That could mean just prepping a quick lunch or laying out your clothes for the next day. Whatever it is, just get it done and reward yourself with soul-nourishing self-care after. You will feel proud of yourself for accomplishing something and you will feel justified in taking that time for yourself.
Finally, like I said in the beginning, self-care is something that we shouldn’t have to discuss so frequently because it should just be a part of our daily routine. If you know that you are going to have a crazy day ahead and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, take those extra ten minutes in the morning to meditate. I promise that those ten minutes will do so much more for you than those ten extra minutes in bed. Don’t let self-care be a last resort after weeks of depletion and don’t build it up to be this thing that has to be hours long or the perfect insta-worthy bath, it just has to be something and it has to be for you.
That’s all I have to say for now, the bottom line is you know yourself best and if you can tell that your cup is not as full as it should be then maybe its time to re-evaluate how you nourish your mind, body, and soul.
I’m sending you lots of love and would love to know how your self-care journey is going.