Self-Care, Redefined

What does self-care mean to you? Is it buying a fancy bath bomb and enjoying a 20 minute bath? Is it treating yourself to an expensive purchase? What if you don’t have time to spend 20 minutes in a bath? What if finances are tight? The concept of “self-care” can often be synonymous with buying something or spending a lot of time on ourselves. And those things are nice to do— it does feel good to treat ourselves to some lovely smelling lotion, or an organic bath bomb, or give ourselves the luxury of relaxing in a warm bath. But self-care encompasses so much more.

Most people find the concept of self-care difficult to embrace, for a variety of reasons. When you think about doing something kind for yourself, how does that make you feel? Guilt and selfishness are common emotions. You deserve your own care and attention. Self-care is also how you talk to yourself, how you interpret the events in your life. Do you regularly beat yourself up? Is the voice of your inner critic particularly loud? Working on self-compassion and self-kindness in terms of your interior life is a valid form of self-care. Here are some other self-care ideas you may want to incorporate:

  1. Treat yourself as kindly as you would others. Be gentle with yourself. Do one nice thing for yourself.
  2. Devote a few hours to yourself this week. Take a walk, prepare a healthy meal, do an activity you enjoy.
  3. Go somewhere beautiful and fun. This can be the ocean, somewhere else in nature, a lake, or the mountains. During the pandemic, it’s important to practice social distancing to keep yourself and others safe. If going somewhere physically is not possible, you can spend time looking at pictures of places you would like to go online.
  4. Take time to do things you need to do in your life such as shopping for healthy groceries, going to doctor and dental appointments, and keeping your space clean.
  5. Do yoga or stretch. The mind body connection is fascinating.

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