We all know that we should be doing self-care, but what does that really mean? Is it something that makes us feel better now or something that should help someday if we just keep at it? For many, the concept of self-care is still a bit mysterious, if not downright confusing. What Is Self-Care? Self-care […]
We all know that we should be doing self-care, but what does that really mean? Is it something that makes us feel better now or something that should help someday if we just keep at it? For many, the concept of self-care is still a bit mysterious, if not downright confusing.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is a practice and a commitment that we make to ourselves. It is any activity we do deliberately to support our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Not only does self-care improve our health and life, but it can also improve the relationships we have with others.
Some examples of self-care might be:
- Creating healthy habits
- Eating well
- Getting enough quality sleep
- Spending quality time with loved ones
- Making time to enjoy a hobby
- Learning something new
Self-care can be work and not always easy to start. In this way, self-care is a bit like acting as your own good parent, encouraging you to do what’s good for you, even if it’s not what you want to do.
What Self-Care Isn’t
Self-care isn’t necessarily about making yourself feel better at the moment. Let’s look at some examples:
Person A has had a very bad day. They practice proper self-care and, when they get home, they change clothes, go for a 3-mile run, then cook a healthy dinner that refuels their body.
Person B has also had a very bad day and practices phony self-care. On their way home, person B stops at the store and gets a 6-pack of beer and a gallon of ice cream, then spends the entire night on the sofa drinking and eating poorly in an attempt to make the bad day go away.
This phony style of self-care is about feeling better at the moment, but not helping yourself in the long run. It is not being a good parent to yourself, but acting from your more immature impulses. If the parent insists you eat your veggies because they are good for you, the child will eat only candy bars when the parent isn’t looking.
Self-care is about making decisions based on what is good for you, not what you FEEL like doing at the moment. Try asking yourself what will support my overall health – physical, mental, and emotional? Instead of the immediate gratification question: what do I want to do?
Self-care should also not be confused with pampering. While there is nothing wrong with getting massages and pedicures, these again tend to be quick fixes we give ourselves to make ourselves feel better in the moment. However, massaging your feet nightly with a nice lotion could be self-care that helps ease your tired feet and makes you feel cared for.
At the end of the day, self-care is a commitment to yourself to live, grow, and evolve in healthy ways. It means making choices that will lead to your best self and greatest potential. If you are having difficulty feeling worthy of self-care or figuring out what is getting in your way of developing healthy routines, therapy can help you get past these blocks.