Understanding What “Self-Care” Means
“Self-Care” is a popular buzzword used to describe the act of participating in activities that benefit physical & mental health. It includes deliberate actions taken in an attempt to improve personal qualities such as confidence, creativity, productivity, decision-making, communication, and more. A common misconception is that self-care involves the act of selfishness. In reality, self-care empowers us to be the best version of ourselves for us and for others.
Definition of self-care
Actions that are included under the umbrella of “self-care” are not necessarily comprised of one-time events, but rituals. Self-care is different from selfishness because these rituals are meant to enable us to achieve and maintain proper relationships with ourselves and others. Examples include frequent meditation, self-reflection, and goal-setting.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty about self-care
Many people have a skewed perception of self-care, and believe it to be something that is earned rather than deserved. This guilt often stems from the societal belief that we should always practice selflessness and aim to constantly serve others — especially in terms of time and money. While this is a fine viewpoint to have, it’s important to consider the following:
You cannot take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself!
Guilt is a natural, understandable human tendency and something that many others also associate with taking time to oneself. However, the benefits of self-care come full-circle to include your ability to manifest goals, provide support to others, and more. Without proper self-care, it is difficult to expand your horizons and achieve your desired outcomes in life. Self-care helps us be better parents, employees, friends, and citizens in general. As long as you are not overindulging in your self-care rituals, they are perfectly acceptable things to set aside time to do!
How to Practice Proper Self-Care:
Self-care is all about balancing the actions which enable you to move forward with the accomplishments that you are trying to achieve. The key to practicing proper self-care is to enable yourself the opportunity to listen to your body and its wants & needs.
The first step is to take an inventory of the things in your life that you would like to improve upon. For instance, perhaps you would like to have more energy, have more confidence, or feel more motivated. Write these things down!
To emphasize the importance of accomplishing these goals, consider how achieving improvement in these areas would benefit your ability to go about daily life. Then, give yourself permission to do so. Perhaps having more confidence would make you a better role model, or having more energy would enable you to be a more supportive friend. Don’t think of taking care of yourself as vanity; it’s a plan to better your overall life quality!
Next, brainstorm what it is you need to do for yourself that will help you accomplish these goals. Common examples of self-care include investing in therapy, paying for a gym membership, or developing a skin care routine. How you choose to invest in yourself is a personal choice!
Reprioritize! Replace the time you would usually spend on social media or watching TV to engage in your self-care rituals. Soon, you will be able to modify your habitual behaviors and become happier and healthier.
Remember: self-care is not selfish! You deserve a life of contentment. Our feelings dictate our actions, and managing our emotions is a huge component of being able to become better versions of ourselves.