What we ignore about self-care

Images of toes in turquoise water and rolling countryside on your Instagram timelines are often accompanied with hashtags to do with self-care. That kind of branding of what self-care is has become somewhat distorted. It leaves those without resources for a new book, an expensive lunch or an out-of-town trip feeling as though they cannot engage in self-care. This article aims to redefine it.

What is self-care?

The meaning of this word has quite literally been lost in translation. Simply put, it is something that we do for ourselves to make us feel good. It is an act of kindness toward you. What has happened is the word has taken to mean grand or small extravagant actions we do toward ourselves on and off when we need it. However, self-care ought to be a lifestyle unique to yourself that speaks of the love and kindness you show toward you.

The primary purpose of it is to ‘fill your well.’ No one is capable of giving us what we need better than we do. When you wait for others to do kind things for you, you’ll feel depleted, restless, anxious, angry and disappointed. Lack of self-care is essentially an abandonment of self. It is not looking out for you but expecting others to do the same. Another term to best explains self-care is self-compassion.

Turning self-care into a lifestyle

Transforming it into a lifestyle reduces the chances of burnout or depression. It also makes you increasingly empathetic toward others as you will note how what you give yourself has changed your life for the better. That said, one part people still get wrong about self-care is it’s not about doing things that feel good. Going through a big bag of potato chips because a Medical Device Consultant firm representative was rude is not self-care. That is called clogging your arteries.

Self-care is doing what’s right for you. Discipline is an act of self-care. It is saying to the body that you love it too much to watch another series episode. Instead, it is going to bed on time because you have an early morning. Therefore, going back to the Instagram captions; if the trip out-of-town was channeled from student loans, then that is not self-care. Self-care is anything that everyone can agree on is right for you because it leaves you better than before.

Health, happiness, productivity, self-esteem, empathy, self-awareness, enlightenment, knowledge, etc. are all by-products of self-care. Focus on doing things daily that are good for you and watch your life transform. You will be in your body for the rest of your life; you are better off taking excellent care of it.

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