Updated: Nov 10, 2019
What does self-care mean to you?
When I say those words, what comes to mind?
Perhaps a woman wearing a face mask or a couples' retreat at a spa. Or maybe self-care for you looks like a journal and pen by candlelight.
There is no right or wrong way to take care of ourselves. The list of ways we can engage in self-care is endless.
For many reasons, I appreciate how trendy self-care has become.
You can walk into any bookstore and find a book on the importance of self-care. Elementary schools are teaching self-care practices. Instagram influencers are sharing their favorite self-care routines.
All of this can undoubtedly have positive effects.
We must be cautious, however, that our self-care routines do not become so "routine" that they miss the mark.
We need to be careful that our self-care practices do not mimic our IG role models so closely as to forego our individual needs.
Learning to take care of ourselves is not a new concept. From an early age, we are taught to brush our teeth to ensure their health and prevent unnecessary wear and tear.
Other hygiene habits, nutrition, and fitness are all topics we teach children so they can best take care of their bodies throughout life.
As times have changed, however, our need for self-care has also changed form.
More people work at desks sitting down all day. People are taught to hustle, push, and produce. Multitasking is the norm.
Simultaneously, ever-evolving research is discovering the power and health benefits of mindfulness and slowing down.
The intersection of increased work and productivity & the need for rest, quiet, and reflection has sculpted our modern-day self-care trend.
We work hard, stretch ourselves, push our limits and then try to remedy the situation with spa days and bubble baths.
The problem with this approach to self-care is that sometimes our self-care habits can quite literally be a mask at the end of an exhausting workday.
Or a weekend retreat after a year of grinding away, working long hours, and pushing your body to exhaustion.
Self-care should not be a free-standing activity we choose to engage in when times get rough.
Self-care is a lifestyle.
Taking care of ourselves should be our priority and our mode of operation.
Because without our health - mind, body, and spirit - we aren't living our best life.
So rather than thinking of self-care as a list of activities to engage in, I encourage you to ask yourself:
"How am I doing?"
"How is my heart?"
"What do I need - right now, this week, in this chapter of my life?"
And then make adjustments, make priorities, take action, change your pace, cancel your membership, activate a membership, buy a standing desk, DO WHATEVER YOU NEED TO DO to live a LIFE of self-care.
Take the steps you need to take so your life:
Doesn't overwhelm you
Nourishes your heart
Strengthens your body
Feeds your soul
Challenges your mind
Allows you to rest
Uplifts your spirit
You are in charge of your well being. YOU are the one who can set boundaries, try new things, and walk away from old patterns.
So for today's self-care practice, I encourage you to turn inward. I encourage you to ask yourself questions and then listen for the answer.
Get curious about your current needs and desires. Get curious about what areas of your life feel balanced and which don't.
And then go take care of yourself.
I can't wait to support you.