To some of us, self-care is new concept. Most of us were raised by parents, who were not aware of the concept themselves. And some people still feel that self-care is something fluffy, something for weak people or something for women. Self-care is something new to many of us, so its important we understand what it is, so we do it right and get the effects that self-care provides.
Self-care is about making sure that you are taken care of your needs so that you are in the best health to help others (if you chose to do so). That means mentally and physically. Does that sound like wearing a face mask to you or getting your nails done? Perhaps that’s a part of it, but that’s not the essence of it. “There is a difference between treating yourself and taking care of yourself” my friend Don. “I think that’s where people get it wrong”. Because getting your nails done, although it might feel nice, will not make sure that you are mentally and physically healthy. So what does?
One: Exercise. Which is probably what feels like to some people as the opposite of a message or getting pampered but it is not. Your body is meant to move. Its here to get you through life, from point A to point B. Exercise for the love of your body. Because your body deserves your love for all it does for you. Do an exercise that you enjoy and see how you feel – you will feel better than you ever did getting your hair done. It can be a walk, it can be yoga, it can be as fast and as slow as you want it. As long as you move.
Two: Therapy. To be in the best inner state you can be, talk to someone. You don’t have to have a trauma, a mental illness or even go to a therapist. Find someone you can talk to that gives you the feeling of being understood and helps you see things in your life clearly. Someone that gives you a moments pause in this ever evolving life. This is such a vital part of self-care. Its caring for your inner health. It’s taking a step back out of your regular life to tune into how you feel and addressing any worries and concerns that may be lingering and prohibiting happiness day to day.
Three: Isolation. Spend time just with yourself to tune into yourself. To find out how you are feeling, what you want, you need to check in with yourself. You can do it while exercising, you can do it while writing in your journal, you can do it getting your nails done. Just make sure you do it. People often forget about this part of self-care. The focus on the care but not on the self. And guess what – its kind of a really important part of it. Don’t be scared to spend time on your own. Its a thing that takes training and you can start with just 10 minutes. Make sure you do it with awareness, put your phone away and try to just ask yourself: What do I need? You may be surprised what you come up with.
If you are doing one of the above but not the others, you will feel unbalanced. If you are always isolating yourself, you will feel almost depressed and cut off. If you focus only on exercise, you will not feel emotionally ok. Try to find a good mixture of the three, yet if you end up doing one more than others that is more than fine. Its about the balance.
At this point, self-care sounds like a lot of work. Yet its more of a shift of focus rather than additional tasks. When done, self-care doesn’t seem like a task or draining. In the end, it does point to what my friend Don was mentioning, it does end up feeling like treating yourself.
So go ahead. Treat yourself.