REAL Self Care: because a bubble bath doesn’t cut it

True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from. – Brianna Wiest

Self Care vs. Treat ‘yo Self

Self care is a hot topic these days. Probably because we’re all realizing how sad, sick and tired we are. But we sometimes confuse self care with the concept of “treat yo self”, both important, but one is more valuable and a lot more necessary in my opinion. Self care is about building a life (body, mind, spirit, relationships, careers, etc) that makes you feel happy and fulfilled. Treat yo self is about indulging. Self care is being honest with yourself. Treat yo self is delaying the consequences of your actions. Self care is taking on the responsibility of yourself. Treat yo self is pushing that responsibility away.

This is another area that commercialism may take a hold, convincing us to buy stuff we don’t need in order to take care of ourselves. Face masks, bath bombs, boxes of chocolate, bottles of wine, the list goes on. I’m not saying these things aren’t great, because they definitely are, but at the end of the day, these are not things I need to be happy and fulfilled. These things don’t push me to be a better person. They don’t lead me to feel more connected to myself or my surroundings. They aren’t what I need. And let’s just say, sometimes what I need wouldn’t sell well.

So what does self care actually look like?

First things first, to take care of yourself, you have to be honest with yourself. Take time to reflect on yourself – take inventory, what you have, what you need, what you don’t need, what you want. Truly believe that life can be what you want. Raise self-awareness, recognize when your life is not what you want it to be, and make a change. As you can guess, this is not a glamorous task and it can be painful. It may be tough love, but sometimes this is the most important love we can receive, and we have to give it to ourselves. This might mean a tough conversation with yourself. Maybe changing your diet, being honest with someone else, quitting your job, ending toxic relationships, getting rid of something you have, telling someone how you feel, etc.

There is a balance that must be struck, however. Too much self-tough-love can lead to guilt. Or pushing yourself too hard. It’s not self-care if it’s self-deprecating. This tough love is meant to lift you up, not tear you down. So in order to take care of yourself, you have to be honest as well as compassionate. This is a struggle I’ve experienced. I was always pushing myself to be “better” but I never appreciated how I was in that moment. I didn’t love myself for what I was and I expected myself to be “perfect” all the time. I was missing something huge: the journey! Give yourself time and space to grow – don’t expect your needs to be met overnight.

Self Care Ideas

– Abhyanga (self massage)
– Tell someone you love how you feel about them
– Spend time in nature
– Clean your space
– Detach from technology
– Create new and stimulating relationships
– Start a savings account
– Exercise
– Sleep
– Meditate
– Take a day off
– Soak in epsom salt
– Cook yourself a nourishing meal
– Find a mentor
– Perform a random act of kindness
– Read about a topic new to you
– Pick up a new hobby
– Reconnect with someone you’ve lost touch with
– Make plans that excite you

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