Self care in modern society has become a trend that many businesses have jumped on in order to sell us various products designed to make us feel better about ourselves without addressing our core needs. In this article, I’m going to tell you what self care really is and by the end of it, you’ll come away with your own self care routine.
Sound good? Let’s begin…
What is self care?
Despite what most people believe, self care does not consist in fancy dates and bubble baths – whilst these can offer you a quick pick me up, they do not last.
Rather, self care is exactly what it’s described to be: taking care of yourself. And sometimes, there’s nothing fancy about that.
Some things that include taking care of yourself might be:
- Ensuring you’re getting enough sleep
- Making sure you’re eating nutritious meals
- Taking supplements or vitamins if you feel depleted
- Keeping up with friendships that make you feel yourself
- Creating new habits that support your wellbeing
- Doing inner work around your self beliefs
- Challenging ideas that don’t align with your wellness
- Saying no to Netflix tonight and journaling instead
- Drawing boundaries with those that drain your energy
You see, these above require dedication and discipline. The idea is to build a life that works around you, rather than escaping your current reality.
Self care vs self indulgence
Often, self care is mistaken for self indulgent habits that as I said, may provide you with an instant boost, yet don’t contribute to your overall health.
We are painted the picture from a young age that a heart ache can be cured by a good dose of ice cream, that frustration can be dissolved with alcohol and that hard work requires late nights.
What all this is forgetting is a good underlining base of self care that helps you in your day to day life.
Some self indulgent activities may look more like:
- Finishing a carton of ice cream alone
- Treating yourself when out shopping
- Having your nails professionally done
Now – all of these are very pleasurable indeed, but don’t necessarily contribute to reducing the daily grind in motherhood.
Self care should be something that maintains you, not an escape from your actual life.
If your mental health is being affected long-term, we need to think of new ways to change your circumstances so that you feel less burned out.
Now, on to the top 10 tips to building your own self care routine:
- Assess your current situation. Identify areas in which you feel drained, clutter around your house, everything. Write it down and get it out for you to face it – don’t forget to include what IS working too! If you want to build an adaptable routine that works for you, you need to start by having an understanding of what you need to see more of (or less, in most cases) to thrive.
- Understand how much time you need to feel restored. Practice with more time and see if you can keep your focus on yourself, then try less and see if it’s enough. The goal should be the right amount and frequency to be able to come back to your centre and your own desires.
- Go with the flow – though at first this might seem vague, I mean it! Learn to live by your cycle and by this start honouring your needs on a regular basis and you’ll find it much easier to know what you have time for or what makes you feel good. When you track your cycle, you’ll also be able to spot at which times of the month (hello PMS, lookin at you) you need more care.
- Be flexible – you won’t always need the same thing and that’s where it can get fun! Experiment and find new things you enjoy and what works for you.
- Plan ahead. Look, I know that you don’t want to think of self care as another to-do on your agenda, but if you don’t note it down, it will go to the back of your mind like a lot of other thoughts. If you want to be a priority, you have to treat yourself like one and that starts by marking down time for you, too.
- Start small – don’t get overwhelmed by all the advice and self care activity lists you find on the internet. It isn’t a competition and the important thing is that you actually enjoy yourself, not how much time or money you spent.
- Self care doesn’t have to be expensive. In the same way, you don’t have to spend big bucks to look and feel great. At the end of the day, even if it comes to face masks and hair treatments, there are a number of different natural alternatives you can make for yourself and you’ll save your pocket from burning.
- Do it with a friend. Of course, the routine you choose will be to make peace with you and you only, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add a friend to the mix from time to time. For example, ask someone to be your accountability buddy with food, work or exercising and you will both benefit. Self care doesn’t necessarily mean alone.
- Give yourself grace. There will be days that you don’t feel like showing up for yourself, you’re too drained to keep on top of the house and your kids are driving you too crazy to even think of how to get a break. Relax, it’s perfectly normal to experience resistance to something beneficial in times of stress – it’s the body’s response. When you meet the resistance where it’s at, it might just have some lessons to teach you.
- Love yourself above all. Allow self care to be a path back to self love for you. Relish in the moments you can savour the present and let the rest subside. The rest can wait – you darling, can not.
It may be a current buzzword, yes, but let me tell you this: self care isn’t dead. We just need to change our approach to it and understand the real concept at heart: feeling good. And that’s what everyone wants, right?
DId you enjoy this post? Download the checklist of these 10 tips and have them at hand for when you need to remember!
If you’d like to further delve into your own relationship with yourself, then my Rediscover Self Care Guide is for you.