What Really is Self Care?

When you hear “self-care,” you might think of bubble baths and spa days, and personally I think “rich people stuff” like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop lifestyle products. But the truth is, it’s much more than that, and there is no one way to practice self-care.

Self-care can be defined as any deliberate action you take in order to support your mental, physical, and emotional health. So, while massages can certainly be a form of self-care, so can turning down that hectic network session to stay in and watch some funny or  trashy television show.

It’s important not to confuse escapism with self-care. Self-care at its core is about fostering the relationship and connection you have with yourself. It’s about giving your mind, body, spirit exactly what you need to function at your highest, and happiest level.

In a world where we are constantly bombarded by information, and where everything feels like it’s moving at lightning speed, it’s important to pause and take a breath. Step off the roller-coaster and ground ourselves once more. Personally, it required re-evaluating what even makes me happy. My self-care required that I become self-aware, and that resulted in, for instance, drawing boundaries with people I care about when my relationships with them were stressors. I needed to reconsider how I relate to them for healthier relationships.

Self-care essentials such as workout regimens, diet plans, therapy and meditation apps to improve your personal well-being might seem self-indulgent, or even selfish, but in Audre Lorde’s words: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare”. You cannot draw from an empty well, and that is what burn out does. The point of self-care is to feel like you have more time and freedom to get things done, not less.

Author: Shaki Toni

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