When you think of self-care, what comes to mind?
For many of us, the first thing we think of is candlelit bubblebaths and it ends there. While bubblebaths can be a decadent, soothing form of self-care for sure, that’s definitely not all there is to it.
So, then, what is self-care?
Self-care simply means being kind to yourself, compassionately giving attention to your well-being as needed in the moment.
- Compassionately – Not doing things because you feel obligated or pressured, but because you genuinely recognize that you are in need of care and comfort in the same way you would a friend or small child.
- Giving attention to your well-being – The act of intentionally doing good things for yourself toward wellness.
- As needed in the moment – There’s a big difference between want and need. Self-care is based on making sure your needs are met, not so much on having your desires satisfied. (Though that can sometimes be self-care, too.) Also, needs can change from moment to moment, so what was good at another time may not be best now.
There’s a common myth which I am actively setting out to smash into a million little pieces: the myth that self care is selfish.
Self care – real self-care – is not selfish nor is it a luxury. It is an absolute necessity.
Selfishness is working toward self-satisfaction with a sense of entitlement. Self-care is working toward wellness with compassion.
Another common myth I’ve heard often in different forms: Self care means I am lazy. It would be boring. I don’t want to be meditative and guru-like all the time. I like action and having fun.
No problem. Self care is not necessarily serene and peaceful all the time, at all. It isn’t always about relaxation and bubblebaths.
It’s about whatever recharges you in the moment. Playing music in our living room at full volume, dancing around, laughing our heads off, and playing/singing along is sometimes the best self care in the world for me.
Self care is giving kind, compassionate attention to yourself when you most need it. Self care is also kicking your own ass when you most need that.
I believe we need to be in balance personally before we can offer balance outward into the world. And, boy, does this world need balance. Self-care is a way to get there.
On this site and when I teach self-care workshops, I encourage you to see it in a different light. Not only defining what it means, but how to – and how not to – apply it in your daily life.
- Self-care isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.
- Self-care isn’t necessarily the same as feeling good.
- It can be easy to confuse escape or avoidance with self-care.
- Needs can change in an instant. What was good for me five minutes ago may not be good for me anymore.
- The idea that self-care is always bubblebaths and candlelight isn’t true. There are a zillion ways to care for yourself. It’s a deeply personal thing.
- There is such a thing as self-care hell. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid it.
How does it work with mindfulness?
Being mindful is simply noticing without judgement. It’s a tool to be fully present in any moment, without the distraction of thoughts or feelings. Observing dispassionately, assessing the situation.
Being mindful slows us down so we have the space to look inward and reflect.
It brings clarity so we can see what we truly need for self-care.
It clears away the heaviness of self-judgement so we have energy and compassion to care for ourselves.
Ways to care for yourself
- 2-minute practices
- Connect with your inner rhythms
- Wash your worrys away
- Find your balance
- Sign up for self-care groups, workshops and retreats
- When overwhelmed, choose self-care, not guilt