There’s been a lot of controversy lately about self-care - what it’s “supposed” to look like or what it means. The truth is - it’s different for everyone. What feels life-giving and refreshing to one person might seem unimportant to someone else, but that’s OK. It’s called SELF-care, so taking care of yourself and your needs is of utmost importance. Whether that means a brief five minutes of silence hiding in the bathroom, or taking a nap, or a weekend trip to the spa - self-care is what you make it and you deserve it. Your soul needs a little TLC every now and then. Remember that.
Here are 10 stories from women like you who have embraced self-care in their lives - each in different ways and taking a different journey to get there.
As I write this, it's the eve before I leave on a two-week trip. I am sitting in a cafe across the street from my apartment, sipping on the most delightful, caramel-flavored latte. I have a book sitting next to me by one of my favorite female writers, a journal with pages left to fill, and some brand new pens. To a lot of people, my night looks like self care. I could even easily trick myself into thinking that I am diving head first into treating myself well here. These are the things we've decided self care is all about, aren't they? Warm coffee, melted chocolate, twinkly lights -- I've got them all.
I just started. I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t make a big show of it. I just began.
I started small. I focused on what I was eating. I’ve never had a problem with adjusting my diet, so I figured the easiest step was to focus there first. I re-downloaded the My Fitness Pal app and started paying attention to my portion sizes. I started watching how many calories were in the foods I had been eating. I didn’t starve myself, I still enjoyed food, I just did it in a healthier way. This was my sole focus for a month. And I began to see very slight changes in my body and how I was feeling.
Take a moment to think about who you love and who you cherish and care for. Whilst I’m sure many of your nearest and dearest spring to mind, did you think to include yourself in that list? How easily could you say that you love yourself?
Self-love is not just bubble baths and face masks, it goes far beyond that.
While staring at the blank canvas, I was nervous. What if my painting sucked? Everyone in the bar will laugh at me. But once I took that first step of dipping the brush into the acrylic paint (and not my wine—a mistake I’d make on another occasion), a little fire came alive inside of me and I was hooked.
I didn’t notice my need for restoration for some time. I don’t mean just sleep, but emotional, spiritual, mental restoration. The busy lifestyle kind of seems to creep up on us, doesn’t it? Before we know it we find ourselves running on empty, yet somehow still moving our arms and legs. In a way, it’s easier to be busy—or so we think. If we’re busy, we don’t need to process, we just follow the age-old Nike slogan and “just do it.” But a life on auto-pilot—where time runs too quickly out of our tightly clenched fists—is no life at all. It also leads to severe burnout.
"Self-care is survival. Self-love is sacred."
When I came across these words the other day, I stopped in my tracks. I learned about self-care when I entered college, but the idea of something even more loving than self-care was completely new.
We're all friends here so I'll be honest with you– I struggle to even care for myself. And I know I'm not alone in this.
I have started a journey and no one knows. My journey does not involve planes, trains, automobiles, distant lands, or magnificent cultures. My journey is one that involves buying myself flowers on February 15, taking a day to read an important book, wandering for photographs, and pouring determination (and sore fingers) into knitting my own blanket. My journey is one of love and life and a rediscovering of myself.
Our minds can play tricks on us, like all the time. It can tell us that we are not good enough, that we don't have what it takes, or that we just plain suck, even though we know that we are none of those things. Our mindset and energy around it can help us deal with our gremlins (those horrible negative self-talk thoughts we have) to get us back to seeing just how amazing we actually are!
According to the dictionary mindfulness means a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. For me mindfulness means achieving a positive outlook on life, casting out fear and replacing it with strength and confidence. The great thing about mindfulness is it can become what you want it to become. You don’t have to fit it into a cookie cutter definition of what someone else wants it to be. It can become what you want it to be.
Through chaos I found balance. Every morning I would practice, I’d go to work, and then I’d go to train in the evenings. Nurturing myself outside of the industry felt almost like a beautiful hallucination. I was surrounded by kind, gentle people who didn’t know or understand what I did. They asked me questions about my personal life, my goals, my relationships. The fiery delirium I felt towards my career was soothed. My hands slowly found the steering wheel once more.