For some people, these are definitely ways to feel good, calm and cared for. However, that’s not all self-care is. Over the last few years, self-care has become a three billion dollar industry, and that really muddies the water. It’s crucial that you’re able to separate between the things that you need (not the things you’re told you need), and the things that you want, so you can find out what self-care means for you. Today, let’s take a look at that process!
(And trust us, you are more than worth the effort.)
What Is Self-Care
According to The University of Buffalo’s School of Social Work, self-care “refers to activities and practices that we can engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance our short- and longer-term health and well-being.” So… bath bombs and massages… that can be a part of it! But look a little deeper; what is it that you need in order to be and stay well?
It’s All About You
Realistically, figuring out what you need can be hard. Self-care, itself, can be hard. And it’s not always pretty. Sometimes it’s taking the time out of your busy schedule to eat something healthy that makes your body feel good. Sometimes it’s making that doctor’s appointment you’re a little scared to make. Sometimes it’s saying no to a night out, even if it makes you feel guilty, because you’ve been tired lately and know you need the rest.
Self-care is advocacy. It’s taking the reins of your own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health —whatever that means to you—and if you don’t know what that means for you, self-care is making sure you take the time to figure that out.
How To Get Started
If you’re someone who doesn’t even know where to start, don’t worry. For the next few days, go throughout your daily life. Keep in a journal or notebook all the prominent things you do, think and feel during the day. Really think about your life and the role you play in it.
Then, begin to make a list. Put two or three things (don’t overwhelm yourself!) that greatly impact how you feel and function (whether you’re currently honoring those things or not), and one by one, begin making small changes. For instance, if you find that you’re tired all the time, and that it’s really impeding on your life, add that to the list. Think of a few ways that you could make room for quality sleep, the things you will have to make peace with sacrificing and also the gains you will make with each day. Maybe you’ll have to do some research; maybe you’ll need to consult a professional.
The journey will be different for each person. The crucial thing is that you follow it through until you find methods and strategies that work for you.
Because you are important and you deserve to be happy.