Self-Care is a bit of a buzz. It’s viewed vastly from luxury to necessity. A few years back, after dealing with health issues and anxiety I found it to be the latter of the two—a necessity.
The choice seemed to be stress (having its way with me) or self-care. So, I began to add acts of self-care to my “To-Do” list. I’d look for activities that I found relaxing. The only problem is that I’d take a bath bubbled up in guilt. I’d shut my door and do yoga, feeling tight for the time I was taking. I’d go on a walk and take frustration along for being so needy. I found quickly that this is not self-care. It’s self-sabotage. If you are doing the act of care but not caring for yourself in the process, you are only wasting time. Guilt, tension, and frustration cannot be participants. Whether you invite them to come along or someone sends them with you, you must refuse their company.
I wasn’t caring for myself. I was simply doing the acts of self-care while being unkind to myself.
As I began to really reflect on the true meaning of self-care, and how I was prone to participate, I also noticed that I viewed self-care as an escape—to the bath, to the movies, to the store, to Starbucks, back to my writing. I desired a mini-getaway. Sometimes this works and is, at times, a necessity. However, it isn’t always possible. Therefore, accepting the day rather than fighting it is a new way to be kind to myself.
Battling the day or fighting for a way to escape only adds stress. I’m learning to not wish today away in hopes of a calmer, stress free-tomorrow. I, now, aim to accept today as it is and assess how I can bring some form of peace and self-care into my sacred space of twenty-four hours. I may still take a bath at the end of the day or simply find a few minutes for deep breathing (even if it’s in my closet)—these things are a good idea, but focusing on what went wrong or did not get done is not. The best way to care for myself is to treat myself as I would treat a friend who is feeling fragile—with empathy and encouragement. Kind self-talk is, sometimes, the simplest and most powerful form of self-care.
How do you care for yourself?
This post is part of an excerpt taken from La La Lovely: The Art of Finding Beauty in the Everyday. If this resonates, I’ve written an entire chapter on self-care. The book is available for pre-order and releases in less than two weeks! Order your copy here.