Self care seems to be gaining a lot of traction in the health and wellness space. And the health and wellness space just keeps on growing, but what is self care exactly? I love that self care is getting some much needed attention, but I think that it can become a little muddled in what it really means to practice self care. Sure, taking a bath in water dusted with rose petals and fancy spas are all great options, but they ignore some of the bigger things. The truth is that sometimes self care isn’t at all Instagram worthy.
What is Self Care: Are you Using it to Escape from Reality
Before I get into what is self care, I am going to talk about what self care isn’t. Many times we use self care to escape from our shitty realities, I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. Life is hard, it’s not picture perfect squares on Instagram, sometimes it’s messy, confusing and scary. It can also be beautiful, inspiring and breathtaking. But when we use self care as a form to escape from things we don’t want to deal with, I don’t think that’s self care. To me self care in these types of situations would be dealing with the things such as ending the relationship that isn’t working, or the friendship not serving you or quitting the job you hate. Because in the long run, those are going to do so much more for your self care than anything else. Escapism is not linked solely to avoidance via Instagram or other social media, it can also be found by drowning your sorrows in food, alcohol or drugs.
Self care in this true sense then is not about choosing what is easy to make you forget about things in your life.
Self care is hard work.
What is Self Care To Me:
Self care is hustling as hard as you need to live the life of your dreams: it may seem odd to say this, but I truly think that self care can be working your ass off to get what you want. If you want something bad enough, self care can mean working 2 side jobs to make money to support your true passions. I used to work two jobs (one full time and one part time) on top of going to nutrition school part time in the evenings. Then I started my business and I continued to do these things because they were necessary to help me grow. Yes, I did eventually gather the courage to quit my part time job and focus more of my energy on growing my nutrition biz but that took time. I still work a part time job now while focusing on my nutrition biz and I’ll continue to hustle on the evenings and weekends and make sacrifices in order to fulfill my dreams and pursue my passion.
Self care is living a life that feels good to you: forget the picture perfect acai bowls for Instagram and embrace a life that actually makes you feel good. Because once the likes stop coming in and the filter from your post wears off, you are left with disappointment. I’ve been there, I get the fleeting moment of joy over a well curated feed, but those things don’t last. Those feelings fade and then you are left with the reality of your life. Self care is creating a life that actually feels good to you even if it is unconventional and other people don’t understand it. It is not for anyone else to understand.
Self care is choosing what you want to give a f*ck about: I have raved about this book before, but if you haven’t read, the subtle art of not giving a f*ck you MUST! It was one of those books where you’re reading it and just thinking YES how did he know that?! Because we are all guilty of caring about things and giving things attention that don’t deserve it. We need to be much more selective over what and how we choose to spend our energy on. Self care is realizing that we can’t please everyone or even ourselves sometimes and that’s ok too.
When you find yourself disconnected from your own life and indulging in the expensive, luxurious aspects of consumer self care practices, I think that you’ve missed the point. Self care is about making decisions that move you forward in life and in your health long term, not a quick fix to the spa. I am not at all bashing the concepts of getting a massage or a facial, I do it all the time. The difference is that I am not calling it self care. Taking a nice bath, or putting on a mask isn’t really long term self care which is what I think we need to focus on more. Because when we do, we won’t need to rely on those short term self care practices to escape from things. Instead we have created a life and a reality that we don’t need to escape from. That is the ultimate form of self care.
If you live in the Toronto area and want to delve deeper into what is self care, I am co-hosting an amazing health and wellness workshop in January 2018 that will touch on this and so much more. Have a look and grab your tickets before the early bird offer ends December 15. Trust me, your mind, body and soul will thank you!
What is self care to you, share in the comments below.