What comes to mind when you think of self-care? Is it sitting at home in your pjs slathering on Korean skin-care products? Or maybe it’s gaming for hours on end as a form of escapism? Although both of these examples can be a form of self-care, they are more akin to something referred to as self-soothing, and each have their place!
Self-care has been getting a bad rap lately, negative stereotypes sometimes depict it as indulgent or selfish – although self-care is easily cited as an excuse for actions inline with these accusations, they are far from the root objective of self-care. But what does true self-care look like?
- Self care isn’t typically about rewarding or pampering ourselves, instead it often looks much more like self maintenance; for example, taking yourself to the dentist or deciding to turn in early to ensure adequate sleep. Essentially, it is making mindful decisions in your own best interest – even when it is difficult to do so.
- Self care isn’t about putting your own needs ahead of others. Although it is important to set boundaries for yourself (and this can be a form of self-care) if the way you are practicing self-care is consistently inconveniencing or dictating to others, you should likely rethink it.
- Self care definitely isn’t a set list of behaviors. How you practice effective self-care is influenced by many factors, it can be situational, circumstantial, and is – more often than not -unique to you. Spend some time working out what works for you, and what doesn’t.
- Self-talk is an extremely important aspect of self-care. How effective your self-care is has a lot to do with how you think about it – you can control the amount of power your actions have by how you frame them for yourself. For example; someone who is well adjusted to practicing true self-care will be more likely to successfully talk themselves through unpleasant situations, such as feelings of anxiousness, and even out of ruminating spirals.
- Self-care is often surprisingly social. One of the most nurturing ways to care for yourself in response to stress, is to seek out human connection. Of course this is not the only response to stress that counts as self-care, but it is an often ignored one. At the very least, add it to your own self-care repertoire as an option.