Updated: Apr 17, 2022
Are you tired of seeing it yet?
"Self-care" is everywhere. Advertisements all over social media, blog posts, books, you name it. It's a little hard to admit (given the name of my practice), but I think I've developed a slight aversion to the word "self-care."
There are so many simplified and superficial meanings to it. I mean, manicures, facials, bubble baths, or a glass of wine all sound great (and I do truly enjoy them), but is there more to it? Self-care kind of loses its true meaning (or at least the meaning it has for me) when these practices are the only thing we see and talk about.
So what is self-care...
Like how important is it and what function does it provide in our lives?
Here's what Google has to say,
self-care is "the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health."
And one way to describe health is to look at our mental, physical, and spiritual health. This is why the meaning it has in my life is deep, hitting on a spiritual note. I have taken pride in the development of my self-care through the years. Another admission... the simplification of self-care sometimes kind of offends me.
I have been known to be "uptight" and rigid about my self-care routines. I miss those days! I had my self-care on lock. Yes, I could've practiced more flexibility with it at times, but this was a boundary I needed to hold at that phase of my life.
As they say, the one constant is life is change, which I believe can be credited to Heraclitus. So as life would have it, things have changed (having a child!) and barriers have gone up, and now my self-care looks much different than it used to.
Taking a deeper look...
Again, Google says self-care is "the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health." And according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary,
self-care is defined as “care for oneself.”
The break down...
Preserving your health
Improving your health
Caring for yourself
You are taking care of your own needs - your mental, physical, and spiritual needs. These are needs others do not have responsibility of and cannot manage for you. You are taking responsibility for your own wellbeing.
I like the word responsibility. Although it can have an element of pressure and fear, to me it’s empowering. It’s ownership. It’s authority over self, in all the right ways. After all, President Obama did say, “A nation that can’t control its energy sources can’t control its future.” Whoa, that’s random. What does that have to do with self-care? Well, self-care is all about our energy and we are the ones in control. The version of my future where I’m not controlling my energy is a little freightening. Of course, I use control loosely. How many things do we really have control over?
The point is, we are responsible for managing our energy and this is done through self-care.
What I’ve come to believe about self-care is that it’s about knowing and loving yourself.
It’s quite simple actually... I cannot meet my needs if I don’t know what those are or if I don’t believe I am worthy of them. Now don’t misunderstand me here. You do not need to know yourself or love yourself before beginning a self-care practice.
The wonderful thing about this practice is that you often develop side effects of believing you are worthy, getting to know who you are and what you need, and tuning into your intuition.
Now you see, I said this was simple, I didn’t say it was easy. For me, this self-care journey has been developing for many years and is still in the making. It probably always will be.
To sum it up, self-care is the practice of listening to and honoring your unique needs because you are delicate, powerful, and need to recharge your energy!
Here are some of my self-care go-to’s:
Painting or creating something
Taking care of my physical health
Spending time in nature
Reading an insightful book
Soaking in an epsom salt bath
Using essential oils
Seeing a therapist
Spending quality time with family
Taking breaks and napping
Listening to podcasts
Learning something new
Giving myself permission to just be
“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” Lucille Ball