What Does Self Care Mean to You?
This term has been so popularized by bloggers, social media, and mental health professionals that we seldom pause to analyze its actual meaning. It’s one of those terms that have become so pervasive that we kind of accept it as legit, but do we actually know what self care entails? Are we actually practicing it? Do we actually believe in it or are we afraid to go against its widely accepted benefits ?
Self care, as the term suggests, is making your wellness a priority. While it may sound new-agey and a concept relegated to hippies or people who must not have real priorities, it is actually a fundamental practice to living a balanced and joyous life. Here’s why. If you think of your mind and body as engines, self care is fuel. This concrete analogy makes the term practical for some of us who prefer focusing on activities with clear and tangible results.
We spend hours working to earn a paycheck, achieve a six pack, or buy a vacation package– all tangible activities with tangible rewards. Our lives look polished and pristine on the outside due to those relentless efforts. To continue with the analogy of the engine, we look shiny and new. On the outside. But what about the inside? Does the engine actually run smoothly? Or does it just look good on the surface. If what we do to thrive in a practical sense (jobs and vacations) ensures we look good on the outside, self care is what we do to look good on the inside.
There is no predetermined, cookie-cutter regimen of self-care that applies to everyone. Some like sitting in nature and meditation, others like high intensity sports. Both ends of the spectrum nurture our mind. Connecting with nature and meditating provide feelings of serenity and a chance for introspection. High intensity sports allow us that adrenaline rush that flushes out frustrations and stress. Find your method. What makes you feel connected to you? How can you sort through the mess of your thoughts and find inspiration? What calms you down? What enhances your relationship with yourself?
Maybe you have never thought about these things before. Perhaps you have tried, and given up once the demands of your life reared their ugly heads. In either case, here are some simple ways to get a self-care regimen started.
1. Download a podcast.
There are so many brilliant thinkers and creatives sharing their knowledge for the benefit of their listeners. Find one with the same interests as you. You can find spiritual, mental health, political or financial podcasts at the tip of your fingertips. Thank you technology!
2. Get moving
You don’t have to be a world class athlete to move your body in ways that are pleasing
to you. Whether you put on your favorite tunes, or take a gentle stroll down the park, you
mind and body will thank you later.
3. Snuggle up with a book.
Get your pushiest blanket out, pour yourself a hot drink, and grab the novel that has been collecting dust for months off of your bookshelf. If novels are not your thing, try a self-help book. Learn how your mind works through the wisdom of others. You will not regret it.
4. Create your own rituals
When it comes to self care, you really have to find what works for you. Perhaps the aforementioned items did not resonate with you. That is perfectly okay! What about massages? Dancing naked? Going for pizza alone? Having a beach day? That counts too.
No matter what, take care of yourself!
Written by Melissa Beaulieu