upon a time, the idea of self-care was a foreign concept. Then, it came into
our consciousness and quickly pervaded our waking thoughts. Now, people point
to everything they do for themselves as self-care. Doing so might be one
incredibly broad way of looking at it, but it doesn’t define what true
What Is Self-Care?
very general terms, self-care is an activity in which we take part to soothe
our mental, physical and emotional health. Proper self-care can improve our
moods and help ward off anxiety.
today’s society, self-care has become a vital part of many people’s lives. We
deal with a lot of stress on a daily basis. For instance, a whopping 69 percent of
that the nation’s future causes them stress. And current events push people to
seek out self-care remedies. During the appointment hearings for Supreme Court
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, for instance, Google searches for the topic skyrocketed to a
can also be a refuge from the personal trauma and grief that we’ve faced over
time. Seeking therapy and navigating such feelings is a prime example of the
practice. Ultimately, doing so will help alleviate anxiety and allow a person
to have a happier, more level-headed existence.
inward can help self-care practitioners find a higher meaning in their lives
too. Spirituality can be one avenue to traverse, and a belief system can help
guide a person outside of their self-care sessions. Connecting with religion
can give them purpose, clarity and calmness, all of which contribute to an
overall sense of well-being. Plus, some of the reflection involved in
self-care can help a person find their path and define what’s important to
them. Pursuing what matters is a great form of self-care — no longer will people
be chasing careers that cause them stress or unhappiness.
also falls under the umbrella of self-care in its original terms. A mind
clouded by stress and racing thoughts doesn’t provide any feel-good benefits.
On the other hand, if a person meditates, they can work to block
such negativity from their head. Being present and mindful is an incredible embodiment
of self-care. Plus, meditation gives one time to sit and reflect on their own.
For many people, self-care equals time spent solo, recharging and refreshing
themselves for what’s ahead.
might also mean helping others. If a person improves, they can share that
improvement with the community at large. This is another area where
spirituality and self-care seem to go hand-in-hand. A person shouldn’t need
money or status to participate in self-care. It should be a universally
accessible practice, and at its core, it is.
What Isn’t Self-Care?
the wonderful truths about self-care have started to become enshrouded by what
the media likes to pitch as self-care. Log onto Instagram and check out
#selfcare. You’ll see a slew of images that show people soaking in bubble
baths, luxuriating in face masks or having their nails painted. Sure, time to
unwind is certainly a method of self-care. But the idea of taking care of one’s
emotional and physical selves has, in some ways, morphed into purely commercial
self-care is finding the root of what actually ails you. Sure, a 15-minute
period spent soaking in a bubble bath can help reduce stress, but does it
pinpoint why you feel agitated? Does it help you tackle such feelings in the
future? The answer is no. As such, it proves how companies have taken the idea
of self-care and run with it. They’ve made it seem like you need skincare
remedies or apps or fancy workouts to improve your self-care. In reality, they
just want to sell you something.
that note, some people point to self-care as a negative thing — namely, they
say it’s selfish for people to take time from a busy schedule and dedicate it
to themselves. But ensuring you’re of sound mind and body will never be a bad
thing. It makes you a better partner, parent and employee.
fact, addiction specialists implore patients
to participate in self-care so that they feel good and stay on track. Self-care will allow them to
address the negative feelings that led them to addiction in the first place and
overcome them. Even with less extreme issues pushing you toward self-care, you
can use the practice to address your emotional and physical setbacks. There’s
absolutely nothing selfish about that.
How Can I Care for Myself?
comes in endless shapes and sizes. It’s up to you to figure out which methods
will work best in your life and give you the greatest benefit. Seek out
prescribed by experts rather than by companies. Something as simple as eating a healthy meal
or getting enough sleep can be self-care. You’ll realize it too when you start
feeling better after making such a simple change.
Ultimately, your practice doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money either. No matter how you pursue it, one thing’s for sure: You’ll be better for it, mind, body and spirit. And that’s what self-care is all about.
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, passionate freelance writer, and the blogger behind Mindfulness Mama. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.
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