With all the buzz about self care swirling around these days, you might be wondering if you are doing self care “right.” Almost every self care assessment list suggests things like doing some yoga, drinking a cup of tea, and learning to meditate. What if you just can’t get into yoga, don’t like tea, and think meditation is a waste of time? Does this mean you would fail your own self care assessment?
Self care isn’t all chocolate bon-bons, cute puppies (as if there is any other kind), and clearing your chakras. And it’s not always soothing and pleasant. Self care can often be unpleasant. In the end, self care means different things to different people.
Self Care That Is Unpleasant
Making a spreadsheet of your expenses, setting a budget, and sticking to it is a form of self care. So is creating a morning routine that helps you meet your health and fitness goals. Learning to cook healthy meals? Yep, that’s self care, too.
What about unglamorous, painful things like telling a toxic friend that you don’t want to be around them any more. Or taking on a second job to start a savings account. Unpleasant, yes. Also, self care. Or, just facing your problems rather than running toward a distraction that you think is the solution.
This often means taking an honest look at your disappointments and failures and re-strategizing. You may not be able to instantly satisfy your immediate desires. You may have to let go and choose new goals or even change your outlook.
Low-Key, Everyday Self Care
When self care becomes trendy, and is seen as something you can buy, its value diminishes. When you find yourself increasingly indulging in consumer self care, it could be because you are disconnected from actual self care.
Let’s be clear here. There’s nothing wrong in indulging in your favorite yoga class, a regular mani/pedi, or a long, luxurious candlelit bath. But it shouldn’t be something we do because our everyday lives have stressed us out so much that we need a reprieve from the pressure we put on ourselves. A big part of self care is choosing to build a life that feeds your body, mind, and spirit so that you don’t need to escape from it.
Self care for your mind isn’t the same as self care for your body. And you do need both, to be fully functioning your mind and body need to be at their best, whatever that is for you at any given moment. When, as every person does, you go through a rough patch and decide to hone in on caring for yourself, either mentally or physically, there is no right way to do it or right activity to choose.
When It Comes to Self Care, the Choices Are Limitless
Loving yourself is necessary, but often takes time. Caring for yourself mentally is beyond essential. Ignore what you’ve seen on Google or Pinterest and build a support network of family and friends who are there when you need them.
Meditation may seem too woo-woo for you, and that’s okay. Maybe you prefer iceberg lettuce instead of kale. Perhaps you prefer Pilates over yoga. Maybe you don’t want to try something new, as is often suggested. If your self care means spending the day doing something others think is crazy or weird, or even doing nothing at all, remember that it’s your self care, so you get to do it any way you want.