What Exactly is “Self-Care?”

Curious about the hashtag #SelfCareSunday you’ve seen on social media? The Instagram photos are certainly appealing ,but for the most part the idea of self-care is marginalized in Western society today. If you sleep for more than six hours, you’re not fully dedicated to your career. If you don’t cook every meal for your children and snacks to boot, you’re just an average mother. If you stick to a strict diet, exercise regularly, drive yourself nutty with calorie counting, and still can’t lose weight, then something must be wrong with you.

We live in a society that thrives on coffee, anxiety medication, little sleep, and AmazonPrime (of which I am a very loyal customer!). Coffee helps our neurons fire in the morning and throughout the day. Alcohol or sleep medications calm us down and help us sleep at night. Does any of this sound familiar? Coming to understand that we depend on stimulants for energy and depressants for sleep, and that our time is not our own, is the first step in turning this cycle around.

Self-care is any activity that nurtures and feeds you on a deeper level. It is any activity that helps our individual spirit or contributes to our feeling of wholeness. (More real talk about self-care right here.) I can’t tell you how much it bothers me that our society categorizes the seactivities as a luxury or even a waste of time. Having your health is the baseline for being successful in any other realm of your life. Not a luxury at all!

Each of us has many things that are important in our lives, including work, relationship with others, spiritual beliefs, relationship with ourselves, our physical body and our mental and emotional state. Think about which of these areas are most in need of attention, or least fulfilling for you, and that’s where you should start with self-care.

Some examples of self-care may be :

  • Quality sleep
  • Massage
  • Healthy diet
  • Traveling
  • Morning or evening routine
  • Reading
  • Visiting with family or friends
  • Meditation
  • Gratitude journaling
  • Cooking
  • Goal setting
  • Learning new skills
  • Getting involved in a cause

The list is infinite, but as with your nutritional lifestyle, your self-care routine should be reflective of what makes YOU feel good, not that blogger you’re following on Instagram.

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