What Is Self-Care REALLY?



Today I want to talk about self-care and what it really means. Self-care is a very popular buzz word right now and you will see it EVERYWHERE.



WHAT SELF-CARE ISN'T


Self-care is not a splurge that you wouldn’t normally spend on yourself. It’s not a “treat yo-self” day at the mall to buy three pairs of boots or an expensive and lavish day at the spa that you’ll be paying off for the next six months.


Although mud baths and yoga retreats in Bali would be known as one way of taking care of yourself, self-care is not a one-time act. It’s a daily practice, and getting further into debt to buy things you can’t afford is not taking care of yourself. Retail therapy is overrated. Trust me on this.



WHAT SELF-CARE IS


The definition of self-care is: the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

So, self-care is looking out for number one. That doesn’t mean you are your only priority, but it definitely means putting yourself at the top of the list.

Wanderlust.com defines self-care beautifully: Self-care is a way of practicing personal rituals of self-soothing techniques so they pay dividends when it comes to the rest of your life. Self-care is always being there for ourselves, treating ourselves like we would someone we love, and making choices that increase our long-term emotional and physical health and sense of wellbeing. It’s choosing to exercise, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, practicing relaxation techniques, spending time in nature, taking long walks, and engaging in and enjoying a variety of creative pursuits. It begins by creating the space for you to take care of you.


I would like to add a disclaimer here. If those things listed above do not appeal to you, then those aren’t the ways you should practice self-care. Everyone’s list will be different. Taking a long hike in nature is not something I do on a regular basis, so that wouldn’t be on my list, but wrapping myself in a blanket and working on a crochet project certainly is.


When I search for “self-care” images I see a LOT of feet-in-bubble-baths-with-a-book poses. Again, not everyone’s idea of self-care is sitting in a hot bowl of their own dirt, so make it your own. (For the record, I love baths.)


Your self-care activities won’t be the same as mine, and that’s the point of the word “self” in self-care.



PRACTICING SELF-CARE


My original plan for this post was to list a bunch of ways you can practice self-care, but that just makes it about what I think you should do to take care of yourself. You don’t need me to tell you how to do that, you are fully aware of what you need to be happy and healthy.

Just do more of those things on a regular basis.


Take an active role in protecting your well-being and happiness.



SELF-CARE MYTHS


I want to dispel the myth right now that self-care involves spending large amounts of money. You can practice self-care, daily, for free in your life right now. It’s taking care of yourself while you go about your daily routine. Knowing when you need to be nurtured and making it happen.


One way I’ve learned to practice self-care lately is saying no to things that stress me out. There’s stepping out of my comfort zone to grow as a human being and an entrepreneur, and then there’s doing things I hate. Saying no to things I hate is practicing self-care.


Another buzz word right now is hustle. For me, there’s a time to hustle and there’s a time to cool it. I know deep down when those times are. If I should be working on something that will better my life or my business, and I’m letting myself be distracted by Instagram, “Put it away Beth. It’s hustle time.” BUT if I’m feeling worn out and know that I need a weekend of Netflix and creative hobbies, I do it, without apology. Because when it’s time to hustle, I’ve had the time I needed to recharge.


A big part of my self-care routine is knowing what I need and when, and then acting on it. Protecting my well-being and happiness.


Another myth about self-care is that it should make you feel guilty for taking time to focus on yourself. Self-care is not taking care of yourself instead of taking care of others, (“Sorry kids, you’re on your own for dinner this weekend, Mommy’s practicing self-care!”) It should be done in addition to taking care of others.


You can protect your wellbeing without it hurting someone else’s. So no guilt required here, ok?



PUTTING THE "SELF" BACK IN SELF-CARE


Self-care is not an activity that needs to be scheduled. It’s a frame of mind, a state of being. Putting yourself and your wellbeing at the top of your priority list every day is a way you can constantly practice self-care. When stress creeps in or you feel worn-out, it’s a good sign your self-care has been less of a priority. You know it’s time to step-up your self-care game.


So friend, Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is this:

Take an active role in protecting your well-being and happiness. Period.

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Spring & fall photos of Beth by Melissa McCallum Photography

Winter photos of Beth by Rae Connell Photography

Copyright Beth Wyatt, 2020