My True Feelings About Self-Care
This may sound a bit controversial, but I’ve come to truly hate the term self-care.
This word is popping up everywhere. It only takes a few swipes down your social media feed to see the evidence.
While I think the intention is good, the excessive sharing of self-care has started to cause problems for a lot of women.
Current Self-Care Trends
When women share their #selfcare on social media, it tends to be one of two things. It's either photos of somebody at an expensive five-star resort soaking in two days of spa treatments and personal chefs, which leaves you feeling like you’re never going to be able to afford self-care.
Or, on the flip side, you see things like someone treating themselves to a bubble bath on Tuesday night or a pedicure on their Wednesday lunch break, and that’s labeled as self-care.
Full disclosure: I’ve definitely been guilty of thinking a bubble bath in the middle of the week was self-care, too.
The Problem With This
I began to really take issue with the way the term self-care is used when a group of women in my TOP Program came to me trying to determine what could count as self-care in their lives.
The more we talked about it, the clearer it became that this was a source of stress and causing these women to believe self-care was out of reach for them.
For instance, because they couldn’t afford the spa treatments or the luxury retreat, they felt they couldn’t take part in quality self-care.
When in reality, self-care simply means caring for yourself.
The Roots of Self-Care
When you think about caring for your core needs like the needs of a newborn, self-care is really basic. Babies need food, rest, shelter, clean clothes, and to be comforted when they get upset. Those are the basic needs that have to be cared for.
If you think about caring for yourself in the most simple terms, it looks very similar. You need to eat. You need to rest and sleep. You need to be clean. You need to allow yourself to cry when you’re upset and feel your emotions.
When I thought of self-care through this lens, I realized that before I became a mom and a business owner, taking a bubble bath on a Tuesday night or treating myself to a pedicure once a month wasn’t considered an “above and beyond” form of care. I was simply caring for myself and doing things that relaxed me.
Now, fast forward to many years later with a kid in the mix and a lot more to juggle, and the simple act of taking a bath on a Tuesday now is being labeled as an amazing, above-and-beyond act of self-care.
And this is a real problem.
Consider the things in your life that used to be a given — such as taking a bath on a weekday — that now seem like such a huge feat. And I want you to realize that if those things fall in the category of caring for yourself in a simple, pragmatic, normal way, those things should not be treated like a reward.
You don’t have to feel like you're giving yourself a huge gift by taking a bath. You’re just caring for yourself and your needs. This is something you deserve as a human, not something you need to earn as a reward.
On the flip side, when you consider those above and beyond things that refuel you and go past your basic needs, know that you don’t have to spend $10,000 on a five-star resort with a private chef and elaborate spa treatments.
Just because you can’t afford that kind of extravagant self-care doesn’t mean you can’t find extra ways to treat yourself that go beyond the normal.
Finding Extras That Make Sense For You
I want you to think about the things that bring you an extra level of peace, joy, or happiness. What are those things that maybe have fallen off your radar that you would like to prioritize and reclaim time for?
It could be as simple as going out to the movies once a month. It could be treating yourself to a local massage regularly.
There are a lot of very affordable ways to do things you enjoy without spending thousands of dollars on expensive retreats.
It can even be free things! If you love to be outside, is there a special day trip you could take to go on a hike somewhere? Can you carve out a day to dive into a book you want to read?
Again, caring for yourself in a basic way should not be labeled as an extra or a reward. And the extras and rewards don't need to be these huge, elaborate, expensive things. Because when we think that's the only option, we continue not to go above and beyond for ourselves.
For even more tips and exercises on all things time management, organization, and productivity, check out more blogs or podcast episodes!