There is a lot of buzz about self-care, in fact, it might be one of those phrases you hear so much that it starts to lose its meaning. In this post we will take some time to consider self-care, particularly – what it is, and what it is not.
In a nutshell, self-care means to mindfully dedicate time and space to nurturing and supporting yourself. Since we are all unique individuals, this can look different from person to person. It can be as simple as savoring the flavor of your morning coffee, or as grandiose as a long vacation to a faraway place.
What self-care is not:
Let’s take a look at how to recognize impostors. Yes, sometimes we say we are practicing self-care, but we are accidentally adding another stress to our lives! We do not intend to do this, and we start off with the right intentions, but eventually we can find ourselves dreading our designated self-care activities.
So, for example, self-care is not forcing yourself to go to the gym 5 times a week to take that spin class when you wake up each morning hating the sound of your alarm and routinely contemplate cancelling. Yes – exercise is great for us and very important, but it loses its value as a self-care activity when it creates additional stress in your life that outweighs the benefits.
What to do instead:
Take a few deep breaths and check in with yourself. What type of movement pulls you at this moment? Would you rather take a walk or pop in your headphones and dance? Do you really just need another hour of sleep because you have been running on empty between all of your other commitments? Exercise is just one example; this applies to other domains of our life as well. Are we going to that party because someone pressured us to, but we deeply need a night at home?
Mindfully attending to what your body wants in the moment is part of the self-care process. Breath can connect us to our body, and the moment of reflection can allow us to listen to and actually hear what our body is craving. Sometimes, it might be to simply do nothing.