Updated: Apr 13
Though I love that people have been taking self-care more seriously, I am often rubbed the wrong way when it is brought up. I see the phrase all over the place these days, but it seems people are missing the mark, especially when it is used in advertisements. Too often, self-care gets confused for self-indulgence. Don't get me wrong, sometimes a chocolate bar is just what I need. Mostly, though, I would be better served by making a different choice. Taking a moment to more accurately evaluate our self-care needs can be a challenge (especially because at those times our mental and physical energy are often depleted), but the benefits are significant. Some days, yes, a candlelit bubble bath can do wonders, but if your mind is going to be full of worry about a stressful email you need to send the whole time, the better, but less obvious, self-care choice is sending the email. Visual clutter causes many people anxiety, so maybe for you self-care looks like setting a timer for 5 minutes and tidying the living room a bit before you plop on the couch and watch the new episode of your favorite show so you don't spend the whole time stressing about the messes you need to clean up.
Not only that, but self-care is going to look different for everyone. Going to a friend's house for a bonfire and meeting lots of new people may renew and refresh an extrovert, but drain and exhaust an introvert. You know yourself best, so don't worry if the way that you nurture yourself looks nothing like the way others do it. We don't expect cacti and tropical plants to thrive in the same conditions, so don't expect it of yourself and your neighbor.
Yes, your body, mind, and soul deserve love, care, and support. Keep in mind, though, that small changes that have long-term effects are often more effective than continually trying to play catch-up with quick fixes.