Here’s a little revelation: it’s
important essential to be selfish. For a lot of us, the idea of putting ourselves before others, even on occasion, is enough to make our skin crawl. But hey – you can’t be the best version of yourself if you’re in constant sacrifice mode. You’ve got to make sure you take the time to recharge and do things that make you feel whole again. Not only will you be doing yourself a huge favor, but you’ll also spread that energy to everything around you.
I think of self-care as putting your face mask on yourself, so then you can assist others. – Jane Taylor
Even when we know it’s best to put ourselves first, one of our biggest challenges is our fear of being selfish – or being perceived as selfish. But just remember that when you give all your energy – whether it be in the form of your thoughts, your time, or your actions – to others, you can end up feeling empty and resentful. And in that case, no one ends up happy. Practicing self-care on a regular basis improves your wellbeing and, as a result, that of those around you. It’s the best kind of investment you can make, if you ask me.
What it means
So what is self-care, anyway? While the concept is simple enough – you know, the care of oneself – it’s ultimately a really personal thing. Since no one can tell you exactly how to do it, it’s worth defining it in a way that makes sense to you.
Self-care, to me at least, means carving out time to put yourself first. It means taking that time to nourish your soul and recharge by doing something that brings you joy. Not the things you think you’re supposed to be doing – you already do enough of that! – but the things you actually want to do. It’s about making small, meaningful changes that align with the kind of person you want to be. And it’s a way to take a break from from the chaos-confusion-uncertainty trio and coming back to the present moment. There’s no right or wrong here, so take what works for you and define it in your own way.
One of the most important things to know about self-care is that it’s not one-size-fits-all. Meaning, it won’t look the same for everyone. You could love team sports, while your friend or partner is into painting. I know bubble baths are all the rage, but maybe they don’t work for you. And that’s okay! Just because something is being touted as the solution to stress doesn’t necessarily mean it’s for you. A lot of people enjoy mindfulness coloring books, but I often end up feeling more frazzled after coloring just a few empty spaces. If something doesn’t work for you, just move on to the next thing.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to get weekly massages or wait until your next vacation to practice self-care. While massages and vacations are great, self-care is something you can practice in different ways on a daily basis. Adopt a well-rounded approach. Think about the food and fluids you’re consuming, the general lifestyle you lead, and find little opportunities to show your body and mind some love. Maybe drink one more glass of water a day, turn off all technology an hour before bed, or sign up for a gym class with a friend.
While it might look like there’s a certain way to do things, self-care isn’t about achievement. It’s a different kind of accomplishment: letting go of the need to achieve and taking the time to just be.
My Self-Care Things
Here are a few of the things I like to do to recharge, at least on afternoons when I’m not completely vegetating.
Journaling. I tend to have a lot of thoughts and emotions, and my mind is constantly buzzing with everything. Journaling is one way I can make sense of things. I haven’t been so consistent with it in the past, but it’s becoming a more frequent practice for me. Sometimes, you’ve got to just let it all out to move forward.
Meal planning. I love flipping through my favorite healthy cookbooks and recipe apps and bookmarking the things I want to make in the next couple of weeks. I find it so soothing and fun, and it gets me in a creative and productive mood.
Tidying up. I get stressed out when things are out of order. Clearing out the space around me gives me a sense of control and helps my mind move on to bigger – and, hopefully, better – things.
Reading. I find so much comfort in books. It’s a way to feel deeply connected with the world and even discovering something new about yourself, all while sitting in your sweats.
Exercising. I’m not a gym bunny, but I recently signed up for a (non-yoga!) class and I’ve been enjoying it. I find it energizing, and I love that no matter what else is going on, I’ve made the time to take care of my body.
Hanging with a friend. Self-care doesn’t always have to be a solo activity. Spending time with someone who just gets you – and someone you get, too – is probably the best thing you can do for your soul. While I think it’s helpful to talk about things when I need to, I also find that listening to someone else’s story helps to broaden your mind and provide a fresh perspective on life.
So, that’s what’s on my current self-care list! This could change over time, and will likely look completely different to yours. Either way, I hope that it inspired you to take a bit of time – whether it’s a fifteen minute break curled up with a hot cuppa and a magazine, or a weekend-long trip somewhere away from home – to do something that makes you feel like yourself in an often distracting (and distracted) world.
If you’re into the idea of self-care but have no idea where to start, check out this article on 45 simple self-care practices for a healthy mind, body, and soul from Tiny Buddha. I’d love to hear what self-care means to you, so feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email. ♡