The topic of self- care has been a very popular one over the past few years, especially with the rise of social media. Pictures of beautifully set up baths and people smiling with face masks on, with hashtags “selfcare” have flooded through Instagram and twitter, setting up a standard and glorified definition for the term self-care.
Unfortunately, this glorification of self-care has created a façade of what we should expect from taking time to truly care for ourselves.
The ugly truth behind self care is that self-care is not always glamorous.
This is because the care is not always physical ; sometimes it involves mentally and emotionally opening up our minds and hearts to certain issues and problems that are hard to think about, but that we need to heal from. It can involve taking accountability for our own issues as well as working to improve on them.
While these are not the more pleasant kinds of self-care, they are necessary for us to grow and develop as people. Here are some examples of not so glamourous self-care :
Journaling is definitely smack in the middle between being a fun expressive side of self-care, and being an emotional rollercoaster. Writing about subjects such as negative thoughts and experiences can be hard at first, because it can conjure up unpleasant emotions and issues that we tend to usually bury. However, it is necessary to caring for our emotional and mental wellbeing. Through expressing how we feel, even to ourselves, we allow ourselves the space to really delve deep into some of the negative parts of ourselves and our experiences, and truly begin to heal them.
Meditation can seem very scary, as it can be unclear the correct way to go about meditating. It becomes easier when you remember that meditation is a method meant to benefit you personally. Therefore, it is important to not be so hard on your own process of meditating ; and whatever method that benefits you personally is valid. Start off small ( maybe a few minutes every morning). Take time to close your eyes, breathe in deeply, and give your mind space to relax from the overwhelming thoughts you experience daily. Even a small amount of time is great for our mind and will overall benefit our mental health.
Sometimes self- care is saying no – even to ourselves. Saying no to that purse. To eating out again. Or to going out ( especially with this quarantine). Sometimes saying no to things we really want but do not need can be an ultimate form of self-care.
Forgiveness is a really tough topic in general. Sometimes we feel as if forgiveness lets other persons wrongdoing towards us slide. In reality, forgiving others frees us from bitterness and resentment that, if left uncheck, will poison us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
The journey towards forgiveness is never easy and includes many stumbles along the way, but through allowing yourself to acknowledge the hurt and talking your feelings through, you can begin to let go of what hurt us and begin to heal – not healing for the people who wronged you, but healing for yourself.
These are only a few of the habits that can be categorized as the ugly truth behind self care. This article is not meant to demean the more glorified aspects of self-care ; sometimes we really do just need a nice bath surrounded by candles, or to splurge on spa products at target. It is just important to recognize that these are not the only aspects of self-care, and do not define it. At it’s core, self care involves taking the time to improve on ourselves from a mental, emotional, and spiritual aspect.