It’s safe to say that you’re tired of hearing about self-care. It’s become quite the buzzword, and it’s everywhere. Type “self-care” into Google, and you get 2,270,000,000 results. I’m not kidding.
But the fact that self-care is all over the place isn’t a bad thing. Because caring for ourselves is powerful. It is how we boost our well-being. It is how we bolster our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. It is how we are able to give to others (genuinely give from a generous place, and not a resentful one). It is how we grow our resilience. It is how we grow.
And the more we talk about self-care, the more we understand it, the more we focus on it, and the more we learn what we need.
Self-care has many facets. It is multilayered. It can be superficial and it can be profound. That is, self-care can be buying yourself your favorite cup of coffee on your way to work. It can be seeing a therapist because you’d like to navigate a challenging transition or a devastating loss, or because you’d like to accomplish a certain goal, or because you’d like to get to know yourself a little better.
Self-care can be setting boundaries around your time and around your heart. Self-care can be decluttering your home and making it into a sanctuary.
Self-care can be taking a strength-training class because it helps you to feel empowered. Self-care can be stretching your body at night because it helps to relieve the day’s stress. Self-care can be buying clothing that fits your body (versus you trying to change yourself to fit the clothes), and feels comfortable on your skin.
Self-care can be joining a support group for individuals who struggle with anxiety. It can be taking a painting class.
Self-care can be cutting down on screen time. It can be sharing something really difficult with your spouse.
Self-care can be reading Scripture, praying, meditating, or attending synagogue. Self-care can be going to the doctor for an annual checkup. It can be going to your favorite restaurant with your best friend (or by yourself, because you’d like to enjoy your own company).
Self-care can be lighting a candle, pouring yourself some tea, and curling up on the couch with a new book. Self-care can be saving up to see your favorite band in concert.
Self-care can be changing your expectations and reframing a few unhelpful thoughts that have been following you around lately.
Self-care can be sitting with your sadness, journaling about it, and crying about it, and talking about it with a close friend. Self-care can be moving on from that sadness, and channeling it into a new creative project that inspires you and soothes your soul.
Self-care can be exploring what makes you smile, and adding more of it to your day. Self-care can be writing poetry.
Self-care is honoring and respecting yourself in all kinds of ways.
So this September, during Self-Care Awareness Month, consider what self-care looks like for you. Consider the superficial, seemingly frivolous things you can do to brighten your day, and consider the more meaningful things that honor your values and well-being. Consider how this translates into your everyday. Consider how you can make it happen.
Give yourself permission to dream about self-care and to explore its various facets. Give yourself permission to care for yourself with compassion, patience, gentleness, and love.
I hope you will.