A day at a super trendy spa or taking regular meditative walks in nature. Which scenario constitutes self-care? It can be both with some critical caveats, say experts. What we do know is that this cliché phrase has more to do with looking inward.
Anna Guest-Jelley, the founder of Curvy Yoga, broke down the term's nuances in a PsychCentral interview.
She says that many believe self-care means spending an entire day of pampering or “it’s not worth it.” However, she argues that while that indulgent day of pampering is a great way to nurture yourself, it doesn’t exactly define self-care.
“I believe that self-care is really found in the small moments of life,” she explains. “When you choose to take a deep breath because you notice you’re feeling stressed, or when you give yourself three minutes before bed to sit quietly and reflect on your day.”
Keep reading to discover why self-care is so much more than a bubble bath and a glass of wine. (But, hey, nothing wrong with that!)
Self-Care Isn’t About Consumerism
It turns out self-care isn’t something you buy, but instead, taking control of your body and taking control of what’s going on with you. In its best sense, self-care is creating space in your life to remember who you are and what your purpose is.
It’s Not All Face Masks and Pedicures
We all love having a reason to buy ourselves gifts and treats. No shame there. And sometimes that’s exactly what you need. But self-care takes on different meanings. For instance, self-care also means making that long-overdue dentist appointment, replacing your worn-out walking shoes, meal prepping for future you, or taking a closer look at your health and wellness habits.
Self-Care Isn’t Always Solitary
According to Psychology Today, self-care can be social. Sometimes it’s wise to let others into your inner world. Touch base with important people you haven’t seen in ages. Or how about actually seeing or speaking to close friends in RT? We get it; sometimes, after an overstimulating day, it’s good to be alone, but it’s not always the key to happiness. Being able to let your hair down with friends calms the nervous system. Plus, it’s a healthy break from those worries swirling around your head. Processing life with friends is a great way to check in with yourself.
It’s Not One-Size-Fits-All
What is self-care for you? Everyone’s different. But how do you figure out what’s best for you at any given moment? In a Women’s Health interview Catherine Cook-Cottone, Ph.D., suggests using the acronym ART. A is “attunement.” Are you tuned in to what you really need? R stands for “responsive.” Is the behavior going to serve that need? And T is “taking action.” Will you follow through?
Does the first part seem hard? Dr. Cook-Cottone says taking a break can help develop awareness. And, yes, you could do that while soaking in a bubble bath! So, while you’re getting friendly with that lavender bath bomb, ask yourself: What do I need to feel my best? What’s working and what’s not?
Also, you can tune into yourself while working out or unloading the dishwasher … focus on your breath and listen. It might mean putting the brakes on critical self-talk and saying kind things to yourself in the mirror every morning. Maybe it’s scheduling a walk with a friend or researching the right health supplement routine.
Above all, don’t let self-care be last on your to-do list. When you ignore yourself in a busy life, you’re setting yourself up for health issues down the line. Self-care is a choice you make to take care of your well-being.
So, dear readers, let’s ditch the stigma that taking care of ourselves is self-indulgent or selfish, ok?
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