What Is Self-Care?
Self-care! Everybody is talking about it these days, but what is it really? How do you engage in self-care? How do you know if you’re doing right? Let’s talk about it!
There are many different definitions of self-care, but they all boil down to one thing… taking care of yourself. The Oxford Dictionary defines self-care as, “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.” While Wikipedia defines self-care as, “the process of establishing behaviors to ensure holistic well-being of oneself, to promote health, and to actively management of illness when it occurs.”
Here’s what stands out to me in those definitions…
The first is taking an active role in protecting your well-being because self-care is not something that happens by accident. It doesn’t fall into your lap from the sky. I hear so often “I don’t have time for self-care.” But the thing is you must make time. You must prioritize self-care in your life on a regular (preferably daily) basis. It’s important to practice self-care BEFORE life throws lemons at you. Doing so will make you better equipped to make lemonade.
The second is the process of establishing behaviors. This means that you are making it a habit, and a habit is something that you do regularly – not only when you’re stressed or ill. It is
not something that you only do when the plane is crashing (because no one has time to read the plane safety manual on the way down). You ain’t gonna make it, Friend! But if you’re familiar with the manual in advance, then you can snap into life saving actions a lot faster and more effectively. Is it still stressful? Of course! Could you make a mistake? Possibly! But you increase your chances of survival because you regularly reviewed the safety manual in advance.
Self-care is like the safety manual to your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. We must implement, review, and adjust it on a regular basis. But what is it that we’re implementing exactly?
It really can be anything: walking, exercising, reading, playing a game, going shopping, going for a drive, time in nature, meditation, laughing with friends, cleaning, going to the salon or spa, traveling, Netflix and chilling, alone time, taking a bath, deep breathing, literally anything!
Self-care can vary from day-to-day. What works in one situation may not work in another situation. Sometimes it’s free. Sometimes there’s a fee. Sometimes it’s quick. Sometimes it takes some additional preparation.
There is no right or wrong way to practice self-care. You define what self-care looks like for you. It is an individual and unique experience for everyone. And while it’s definitely true that self-care activities are meant to bring you joy, happiness, relaxation, and other pleasant emotions; it is equally important to understand that self-care is not always “pretty”.
Sometimes self-care is painful and very ugly, but this side of self-care is just as necessary for our overall well-being and sense of fulfillment. For example, healing past traumas or negative
experiences is often something that many people would prefer to avoid. However, part of self-care is facing those moments so that we can grow beyond them. So that we control how the effects show up in our lives (and behaviors) instead of the other way around. Another painful side of self-care is establishing and maintaining boundaries with everyone around us, as well as, cutting off toxic relationships. This is particularly hard for people pleasers, but you’ve got to put yourself first.
Speaking of putting yourself first…
Say it with me: SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH. Self-care helps you to live life. Self-care helps you to identify your obstacles quicker and more effectively. Self-care gives you the mental and emotional capacity to identify potential solutions to any obstacles that may arise. Self-care helps you to survive. Self-care helps you to thrive. Self-care helps you to operate in your optimal zone of living. Simply put…
Self-care is giving the world the BEST of you instead of what’s LEFT of you!
Blessings & abundance,
Mindset Expert & Professional Speaker
P.S. We’re starting the year off with a self-care series. So, we’re going to keep adding to the discussion every week. Here’s some of what to expect:
· Why is self-care important?
· How self-care affects us mentally, emotionally, and physically.
· How self-care affects our lives in various ways (work, money, relationships, etc.).
· Effective ways to implement self-care.