I think it would be an understatement to say that the past couple of years have been a bit of a stressful, and quite frankly, draining for us all at times. The spare days or moments I would get to myself here and there would soon be full of face masks, living off teapots and major relaxing (accompanied by binge watching Netflix). Netflix is sometimes (translation – always) enjoyed with tea and some form of treat. Whether thats a handful of Minstrels or popcorn, there is usually something to munch on. But looking back, I can’t help but wonder if it was really classed as self-care?
What is the definition of self-care?
I think self-care is an act which benefits your emotional, physical or mental health. Something which alleviates and nourishes your body leaving you feeling restored. The Cambridge English Dictionary’s website states self-care is an act of caring for oneself when they are ill or to prevent them from becoming ill. Clearly there are strong connotations pointing to health and wellbeing, and I think overall we are all aware of that: but the line between what feels good and what is actually good for us often becomes blurred.
Self-care has become very trend-driven for the past few years. These days it’s projected as more of a fad or hashtag doing the rounds on instagram. Portrayed through images of shopping deliveries, takeaways and numerous naughty treat yo’self snacks its no wonder we now assosciate frivolous online spending sprees with self-care. The root of all this comes down to two very different things: what feels good and what is good.
What feels good
For me what feels good aligns with our wants, desires, and what feels good in the moment. These things give us a satisfaction which is momentary and wears off quickly. It’s the late night takeaway, the pair of heels after you have reached a personal goal, or binge-eating junk while you marathon watch Gilmore Girls on your day off. These things are luxuries that you like to treat yourself with, and thats nice once in awhile but are they really classed as self-care? Self-love perhaps but I’m not sure I can say they fall into self-care.
What is good
What is actually good is connected to your wellbeing – your emotional, physical and mental health. Watching Gilmore Girls in the aftermath of emotional turmoil, like a break up, might help lift your spirits but you don’t have to bestow a ton of junk food on your body in the process. Instead grab a punnet of grapes to chow down on or plug the headphones in and watch it on your phone while your on the treadmill at the gym. I know it might not sound all that fun and it may not feel good in the moment but you’ll feel the benefits after and thank yourself later.
Ultimately, I think self-care is really all about making time for adopting healthier routines which will benefit all facets of our lives. Sure, treating yourself is fine and we all need it at times but lets not trick ourselves into thinking its self-care.
A few ideas for healthy self-care could be unplugging from wifi for a few hours and picking up your favourite book or mag instead, getting fresh air or exercising. Spending your Sunday doing meal prep for the following week, giving yourself an all-over body scrub or even just going to bed early. These things sound so simple and mundane but they truly are luxurious, and really epitomise self-care for me.
What do you class as self-care?
Cheerio for now!