When I think of the term ‘self-care’, my mind conjures up images of bath bombs, lavender, wine, blankets, and television. In fact, if I have a self-care evening, it tends to go something like this; jumping into a hot, bubbly bath, applying a face mask, and cleansing my face within an inch of its life; applying moisturiser to every inch of my body, and getting into the comfiest pyjamas I own; making a carb heavy and delicious meal, grabbing a glass of rosé, and spending all evening watching Netflix and YouTube. It’s all about taking time out to look after yourself, re-charge, and rest up. ‘Self-care’ as a term is relatively new, and has only just ingrained itself in the mainstream.
Although I adore my self-care evenings and taking time to pamper myself, let’s be real. Self-care is all about truly looking after yourself; your health and well-being, your physical and mental self, and to some people, your creativity and spirituality. If one of those is failing, do you really think a bath bomb and an episode of Riverdale will fix that?
Real self-care involves doing those adult jobs when you really don’t want to, pulling through when the anxiety gets too much.
It’s making a monthly budget to help combat your money anxiety.
It’s going to the doctors even though you are scared.
It’s having a shower when you are feeling at your lowest.
It’s cooking yourself a delicious meal overflowing with goodness, when you just want to order a takeout.
It’s shutting off your phone and your laptop and your TV, and just letting yourself be alone.
It’s sitting yourself down and assessing your own health and fitness.
It’s making the effort to socialise with friends, even if there’s a part of you that wants to stay home.
It’s collecting the post, and doing the washing up, and emptying your inbox, when all you want to do is hide under the duvet.
It’s pacing yourself, and knowing when to stop.
Yes, and it’s pampering yourself to the highest heavens with essential oils, chocolate, movies, and early nights.
Self-care should be more than occasional moments that occur a few times a month. It should be ensuring that you are being cared for, every part of you; whether that be your fitness levels, your financial security, your skin, your mind, or your stress levels. Let’s celebrate the everyday activities of self-care as much as we celebrate the glamorous and gentle ones. Don’t let the non-gentle parts of your life slip to the side because they are hard. Don’t pretend that a bowl of cheesy pasta and glass of wine will fix everything. It won’t. It’s only when self-care, gentle and rough, is implemented in our lives, that progress can be made.