We hear the term a lot. Self-care, self-love, and sometimes, treat yourself gets lumped in as well. And yet, self-care is usually something that’s deeply personal and varies from person to person. We don’t all need the same things and we don’t all lack the same things. So what does it mean to you?
We often misunderstand our self-care needs by simply resorting to retail therapy. And trust me, I loveeee a good shopping spree as much as anyone. I mean, have you seen my candle collection? It’s enough to keep an 18th century castle well-lit for a whole winter. I could host several fashion shows with all the clothes that have never been worn outside of my apartment. But is that really what self-care is? Not quite.
While a part of self-care and self-love can have certain elements of pampering yourself with beautiful things, bubble baths, face masks and massages, there’s many other elements that can get overlooked.
For one, what are your mental health self-care needs? For me it’s getting enough alone time. I’m a true introvert and very much need a good amount of ‘me-time’ to function like a human being and not an agitated racoon. I need a good amount of sleep because I know substituting in coffee simply makes me anxious. I need a 'guiltless' day off from all my projects to avoid burn-out on the creative front and that when I try to rush through with no breaks, everything else suffers and I just have to re-do it all later anyway.
A big part of self-care is tuning in and understanding your own needs. This may seem unimportant when you’re busy and juggling a lot of projects, but taking some time to really give yourself what you need rather than Band-Aid solutions will allow you to re-focus and be even more effective in whatever you’re working on.
Self-care is also about being honest with yourself about your negative habits as well as your mistakes. It’s about growth. Pivoting from a negative space to a positive one that becomes a better environment for you to thrive in. Being gentle but honest with yourself.
This can be something that takes a while to learn because we are often very hard on ourselves about our past and any of our short-comings. But this is simply life and as humans, we are prone to mistakes. Yet we also have the ability to learn and do better. So simply do better tomorrow and there you have progress.
If you do not already have an established self-care routine, perhaps now is the time to create one. Think about what you need once a day (perhaps a short journal session before bed to clear your head of the days events?), once a week (perhaps a yoga class to reset?), and once a month (perhaps time spent uninterrupted with a person who helps you feel centered?). Tailor your activities to suit your personal needs and really think about if there’s anything lacking right now that you could improve with some new rituals.
With all the events of 2020 and 2021, it’s more important than ever to really take care of ourselves and create healthy, sustainable habits. Tell us, what will you be adding into your self-care routine?