I’m sure we’ve all heard the term, it’s taken social media by storm. Self care is the latest wave in an ocean of empowerment movements. Something I didn’t really understand until recently, and I know I’m not alone, I’m guessing you’re here because you also want to know, what is self care and why is it important?
This post includes affiliate links from Amazon and/or other sites. This means if you purchase through those links I will receive a commission at no cost to you, although all opinions are my own. For more information please read my full Affiliate Disclosure.
I know it’s not just my Facebook timeline or groups that have begun to fill with images of bath bombs and flowers, or extravagant purchases all touted as self care. I heard it tossed around loosely as a justification, used as a retort to questioning and I didn’t understand.
So I began my journey to learning what it means.
Those posts wore me down and I wanted to feel this incredible glow women exuded online, filled with self confidence and happiness, so I decide to try this whole self care thing.
I bought a bath bomb and dutifully filled my tub, climbed in with a sense of smugness and a mantra of ‘self care’ and waited to feel like a new woman. I closed my eyes and felt… Bored. Wasn’t this supposed to be the epitome of self love? Did I actually manage to fail at something that is supposed to be essential?
I gave up, got out and felt like a bit of an idiot. I dismissed the entire movement at that stage, and eyed all the glowing posts and pictures on social media with distrust.
Until a few days ago.
See, I’m a crazy horse girl. I can’t own my own right now, but I have the most incredible friend who trusts me with her horse, and regularly lets me indulge that missing piece of my life with her.
The other day was the first time I’d been able to ride in MONTHS due to Corona. Off I went, saddled up and jumped on, and as I froze my butt off, watching the sun fall beneath the hills (and watched her rather feisty horse try to dump her) I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. There was a sense of innate and absolute peace.
I realised I also feel that peace when I’m engrossed in a book. (Although technically I’m engrossed in a Kindle, much cheaper and I can read it in bed. Highly recommend, I’ve linked the one I bought from Amazon!)
So what is self care?
Put simply, self care is whatever relaxes your mind and releases your stresses, even if it’s not an Instagram moment. It could be drawing, dancing, working out, cooking or any other number of things.
You may not even see what you’re doing as self care! I thought I was incapable of it until I realised I had been doing it all along, without the label. I didn’t recognise it because I was comparing it to what I had seen on social media.
Don’t make that mistake.
Do yourself a favour and don’t compare what you consider to be self care to other people’s version on social media. If it brings you happiness, peace and nourishes you mentally, physically or spiritually, however you choose to relax and unwind is valid.
What ISN’T self care?
Self care isn’t about the things you buy, or indulging in the most extravagant displays of luxury you can find. It’s not a competition or just something crafted for a good picture. (Unless your relaxation is photography in which case go you good thing!)
It’s also not a justification for bad habits and it doesn’t remove accountability for choices you make. Spending beyond your means or neglecting things you need to do is not self care and remembering that is almost important as engaging in it to begin with.
Why is is important?
Self care is essential. Today’s world asks more and more of all of us, and we’re more connected than ever. Juggling so many things can cause some intense mental burnout which can have devastating consequences.
It’s important that in this crazy world, amongst all of the chaos, that we all take some time for no one but ourselves. Make sure that you’re putting some time aside to focus on what you want to do, and what brings you joy.
If you don’t know how to start or implement self care into your life, check out my review of my favourite self care workbook.
Taking time off is just as important as the rest of your life, don’t compromise on that.
If you enjoyed this post or know someone who might, please consider sharing it!