My definition of self-care has definitely evolved and expanded. These are the lessons I’ve learned so far.
– There are 101 — times infinity — ways to practice self-care. Self-care is personal. It looks oh-so different, depending on who you talk to. For some people it’s a.m. yoga and morning pages. For others it’s snoozing a few times to get in more sleep.
I used to worry that I’m a body image blogger and mental health writer, and yet, there are many days that I’m alll over the place. I’m less Zen and more of a mess. Over time, however, I’m realizing that shoulds are irrelevant — and destructive and the antithesis of self-care.
And everyone is different. What works for you won’t work for me. And vice versa. And that’s OK.
– Self-care can certainly include pampering. For instance, I always feel great after getting a pedicure. It’s a fun and soothing treat. And I love the result. But self-care and pampering are not synonymous.
When we make them synonymous, we make self-care optional. We make self-care seem like an indulgence, like something that’s either too pricey or too extravagant for the everyday.
We make it last on our lists. We make it negotiable. We make it a someday habit. Someday when I have more time. Someday when I have more money. Someday when I’m thin. Some day when I have a partner. Someday when my kids get older.
– Self-care is everything from getting enough sleep to being honest with your spouse. It’s giving yourself what you need and asking what you need from others.
– Self-care is synonymous with respecting and honoring yourself.
– Self-care is flexible. Some days it’s savoring spaghetti and meatballs. Other days it’s savoring a salad. Some days it’s taking a tough class at the gym. Other days it’s stretching your body gently.
Some days it’s getting up early. Other days it’s resting and sleeping in. Some days, it’s laughing. Other days, it’s crying.
I especially love this sentence from Rachel’s post on self-care: “When I eat ice cream or kale it’s because self-care doesn’t have to look a certain way and rarely does.”
– Self-care is showing up for yourself. It’s comforting yourself when you’re hurt. It’s being understanding and patient.
What have you learned about self-care? What does self-care mean to you?
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Last reviewed: 7 Mar 2013