What is self-care?
We often hear about taking care of your physical appearance, your skin, your hair, and your hygiene. Some people would say that self care is about taking care of your mental health, journaling, perhaps seeing a therapist, sharing your thoughts with friends, eating healthy or training your body. But what if self-care is mainly about balance and acceptance?
Nowadays, especially through social media, it can be easy to sugar coat everything, even self-care. To think that self-care is always pretty and well put. That it is waking up with the sun, making yourself a healthy smoothie, going for a run, journaling at night while drinking homemade tea, turning off the light and falling asleep immediately.
Reality check: it rarely goes like this. Self-care is mostly about you. What makes you happy? What gives you purpose and what makes you want to do good for others? Don't let others tell you how to take care of yourself because, even though they can help you, you are the one who knows yourself best and trusting yourself is where self-care begins.
Let’s keep it real: we take care of ourselves so that we can be good for others. Taking care of yourself is being responsible while practicing love on the daily. Maybe your happy place is makeup, maybe you find it in books, art, nature or food. Whatever it is, you have the power to honor it and share it with others.
Some people will call those who take care of themselves and who reflect on their life selfish. But, what could be a better place to start understanding and comprehending than within your own self? A better way to communicate and help others, a more sustainable way to live your life than to sustain your own happiness? As you pay more attention to your strengths and your weaknesses, you will be able to take better care of yourself in all aspects!
Embrace your truth
No matter what you think or what people have told you, your thoughts, feelings and opinions are valid; this is the very first place to start caring about yourself. Face masks, salt baths and yoga can only do so much! Instead, learn to stand your ground, speak your truth and learn the power of sharing your ideas. Also, don’t be afraid to be silent. Not everyone has to be the loudest person in the room. If you don’t feel like talking, respect yourself and keep listening to others.
As you allow your voice to be heard, it will become even more natural and easier to actually listen to others or speaking for them when they can’t. When they don’t feel strong enough to do so, or when they are facing any discriminatory comments. Be good and strong for yourself and for others!
A cosmetic face mask is applied to a smiling woman's face
Do face masks and don't feel bad about it!
So, we’ve been talking about how skincare can only do so much, but it does make us feel good, doesn’t it? When you use skincare products, try to pick them wisely. Buy consciously from companies that you actually want to encourage. People who care about the environment, about their customers, and care to provide the best ingredients possible.
It is not superficial to take the time to nurture your skin. Sometimes overconsumption, the beauty industry and beauty standards (especially towards women) make us feel like anything beauty-related is bad. And that is certainly not the case. Simply do what makes you happy and do it in a respectful way. Taking good care of your skin, from washing it to hydrating it and giving it special treatment will never be vain. Caring about yourself, whether it is your physical self or your inner self, is never superficial. Most important of all, don’t feel bad to take some time out for yourself! Otherwise you’ll lose the actual wonderful benefits of self-care!
Take time for things you love
We could tell you to read books, to learn a new language, to engage in a new physical activity, to start journaling, but I’d rather encourage you to take power and try something you want to try out. The key lies in the balance between consistency and the excitement of trying out new things and switching your mental state. If you’re used to being in your head and meditating a lot, try going out and indulge in a new activity! If you are always on the run and doing physical activity, try slowing down a bit and staying in for a night.
Do something beneficial for you. Wether it's for immediate satisfaction or an investment for the future. As big as learning a new language or as simple as pouring a glass of your favorite wine and watching a childhood movie or listening to 90’s music.
Create a routine
Routines will help you to create time for things that matter to you and help you to be as productive as possible! If you go through any type of anxiety, long or short term stress, routines help take some of that pressure off your shoulders. When things are already planned and set, it takes away the worries that uncertainty can cause.
The beauty of a routine is that you create it for yourself. You can choose to fill it with whatever you want: meditation, journaling, coffee, reading, you name it. A routine will create structure and will support you and your tasks.
Tips to create a routine
Make a list of things that you have to do and want to do
Structure your list by prioritizing important tasks
Distribute your tasks into different parts of the day (Morning, Afternoon, Evening)
When that's done, set a specific time for each things you have to do. This way, you don’t run out of time (or, if you do, at least you tried your best not to!)
Test it for a week and, if it doesn’t work for you, don't be afraid to make changes!
Last tip: Don’t look for Perfection
Spoiler alert: life is not perfect. Nothing is and anyway, the definition of perfection always changes depending on who you are talking to, so might as well stick to your own version of self-care.
Don’t imagine that self-care or routines will change your life. That doing one face mask a week will make your skin perfect or that you will always be in the mood for a glass of wine and journaling in your bed. We all know this, life is not a picture on instagram. Yet some of us are still living in this idealized dream where your sheets are always pure white, your coffee is in the prettiest cup and you eat healthy every morning. The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is giving up this vision and embracing your truth and your reality which are equally if not more magical than anything else you will ever see on your feed.
Be kind to yourself and to others.