The Truth About Self-Care
When it comes to self-care, I often see the same kinds of advice:
“Treat yourself to some new makeup and skincare products!”
“Run a bath and add some Lush bath bombs.”
“Go for a walk.”
“Listen to some music.”
“Take time out for yourself.”
“Indulge in some chocolate.”
“Get some healing crystals.”
And so on and so forth…
Now, there’s nothing wrong with the above advice and I’m glad that many people are speaking about the importance of self-care. But I think there are essential (and less superficial) aspects of self-care that many people don’t really talk about.
The Truth About Self-Care
When it comes to self-care, there are different aspects:
General self-care: knowing when to rest, take a break and take some time out. Paying attention to yourself and giving yourself what you need.
Compassion: being kind to yourself and talking to yourself in a positive way.
Action: setting boundaries, making better choices and working to establish healthier coping skills.
Support: reaching out for help and going into therapy.
Truth: analysing and evaluating how your choices (conscious and unconscious) contribute to your life. Looking at what is working and what isn’t good for you.
While it’s great to practise self-care by learning self-compassion, practising gratitude, speaking positive affirmations, journaling, reading self-help books and understanding the importance of being content, I think that self-care also include particular aspects that are tough.
Sometimes, self-care is about taking action when necessary, even when you really don’t feel like it, instead of making excuses to do nothing. Sometimes, self-care is about making tough decisions that will better your life in the long run, even if that decision is one of the hardest things you have to do.
Sometimes, self-care is about:
Cutting off a toxic friend that you’ve known for a long time.
Distancing yourself from family members who give you nothing but grief.
Making the decision to leave a work environment that is dragging you down.
Learning to be assertive and setting boundaries with the people in your inner circle.
Learning to speak up and stand up for yourself when you’ve spent most of your life having your voice and feelings silenced and dismissed.
Ultimately, while self-care is about taking care of yourself, it’s also about taking yourself out of situations that are not conducive to living a happy and healthy life, no matter how challenging that might be. It’s about letting go of bad habits and coping mechanisms that are no longer serving you. It’s about establishing interpersonal relationships that uplift you, and letting go of the people who tear you down and disrespect you, no matter who they are and how long they’ve known you. It’s about not being afraid to cut people off the moment they overstep the boundaries.
Self-care is about looking after yourself, loving yourself, cultivating a life of peace and happiness and taking the right steps to protect yourself and live a life that benefits you.