If you had asked me last year what I do to practice self-care, I probably would have just rolled my eyes and returned to my phone. Ok, maybe I wouldn’t have been that much of a douche, but I honestly wouldn’t have had an answer that wasn’t totally made up. It’s not necessarily that I thought the concept of self-care was lame – the truth is I didn’t think I was worthy of it. That belief was completely rooted in a misunderstanding of what the hell self-care really is. Let’s jump into it!
Self-care is merely defined as “care for oneself”. That’s it. Pretty simple, right? Not if you’re like me and don’t know where to start! So, I did some work with my therapist and realized I had the whole thing wrong. For many years I was simply uniformed about what constitutes taking care of myself. I thought it meant fancy meals, a trainer, mani-pedis, and other luxuries. I mean, how could I – a poor – afford to do any of that and still maintain a bank account? Well, those things aren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I learned that self-care is something I define for me. I’ll lay out some examples that seemed simple at first, but really help me to feel like I’m taking good care of myself:
Watching movies I love
Brushing my teeth 3 times a day and flossing
Reading a book I’ve wanted to read
Declining something I don’t want to do
Talking about topics I love
Writing in a journal
Going to the doctor when I have an illness instead of suffering through it
Getting dressed up
See what I mean? Some of these things are kind of innocuous, but when I look deeply at how I feel afterwards, my spirit just feels lighter. I’ve realized that self-care encompasses not only the things we need to do to survive in a practical sense, but also the little or big things we do to keep ourselves strong emotionally. Put simply, self-care is really just showing yourself that you matter. I’m becoming more active in doing what I have to do to feel better about myself.
So, I challenge myself to practice self-care whether I’m low, or feeling great. Just as we go to the dentist every 6 months (in theory) whether we have a tooth ache or not, it’s so important to take time for ourselves even when everything seems to be going well. You just never know when something might pop up, so why not have good things in place that you can turn to.
Every Monday I’ll be sharing my self-care favorites as well as tips to define your own caring ways! What are you doing for yourself these days?