Can I be transparent? As much as I am an advocate of self-care, it’s one of those areas where I, too, fall short at times—failing to remind myself to regularly weave it into my lifestyle. This week, I’m unpacking what self-care is and what it isn’t so you can reap the benefits of this wellness practice.
Before going deeper, let me start by defining self-care. One way to define it is that it is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health. Another is that self-care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular, during periods of stress. Both are integral to preserving and strengthening our well-being in all areas of our lives. With that in mind, there should be no question about whether it’s something we need to be practicing, right? Well, it’s not as obvious as it sounds!
Many times, things like our careers, relationships, and our schedules can get in the way of us making self-care a priority. Since there may also be a negative connotation surrounding self-care, some might find it challenging to invest in self-care to avoid appearing selfish. However, this is far from true. Once we understand that by taking care of ourselves we’re able to show up with our “cups full” and be present for others, self-care can then be viewed differently. As much as it’s beneficial to us, self-care can be just as beneficial to our loved ones, our colleagues, and our peers.
Now, let’s delve into what self-care is and what it isn’t. How many of us think of personal spa dates, all-inclusive vacations, and five-star meals when we think of self-care? You’re not necessarily wrong, if that’s what self-care looks like for you, but that isn’t always attainable for some, and for others it may not even be enjoyable. Self-care is what makes you feel good. It isn’t something that is forced or laborious and when it begins to head in that direction then it can have an adverse effect.
This is something that I’m mindful of when working with my clients. I step back and ensure that I’m not dictating what self-care is or what it would be in their lives. If working out is burdensome for you, then it isn’t something you should add to your self-care routine. Your list should include the things that excite you, relax you, stimulate your mind, or leave you feeling nurtured.
Self-care should re-fuel us, not deplete us
What are those things that leave you feeling good, energized, rested, or cared for? Grab your notebook, record a voice note, or save a message on your device with a list of 3-4 of those things. Now, grab your planner and schedule a date and time this month to do at least one of those things each week.
Check in with me in the comments and let me know how it’s going. I’d love to keep up with your progress!