I’ve done a lot of things in the name of self-care;
Worn positively minuscule dresses paired with sky-high heels to go out dancing.
Consumed absurd amounts of tequila/vodka/rum/wine/all the alcoholic beverages.
Read an alarming amount of trashy articles on ‘How To Orgasm’ in Cosmo magazine.
Watched Bridget Jones a frankly questionable number of times.
But I’ve also;
Walked countless kilometers along the ocean.
Brewed large amounts of milky Earl Grey tea.
Used some pretty odd looking and even weirder smelling Lush face masks.
Read too many soul-soothing books to count.
Spent an absolutely unnecessary amount of hard-earned money on scented candles.
All in the name of self-care.
Counting all of the above as positive methods of self-care has been a process. I spent a long time believing that if it wasn’t yoga or meditation or kale smoothies then it didn’t count as ‘self-care’. It had to be PRODUCTIVE and it had to be society’s version of PRODUCTIVE. Well, I’ve (only recently) come to a conclusion:
Society’s version of PRODUCTIVE SELF-CARE is absolute rubbish.
There, I said it.
Yes, kale smoothies contain more health benefits than say, a bottle of cheap vodka, but do they have the added benefits of aiding you in the eternal quest to simply let loose and forget all your worries for a blessed few hours?
Me thinks not.
The definition of self-care is: “care for oneself” which, in my opinion, is a pretty general description with lot’s of room for interpretation. What may be self-care to one is self-destruction to another. The key is getting to know yourself in order to better determine which of the aforementioned categories your behavior falls under. Binge drinking on occasion does not necessarily need to be viewed as harmful behavior, in fact I THRIVE on getting absolutely wasted once a month on my own and dancing my worries away in a pair of truly atrocious leopard print granny panties to the tune of The Spice Girls and other terribly nostalgic pop hits. BUT my father is a recovering alcoholic and if he were to partake in this sort of behavior it would indeed be viewed as self-destructive. There are so many approaches to self-care and ultimately it comes down to finding a list of things to do on a daily, weekly, and/or monthly basis that will improve your general well-being.
Here’s a few of the ways I (try to) take care of my physical and mental well-being.
3 words – COFFEE, MUSIC, and FOOD. Look, there are many things I am happy and willing to give up for lack of funds. These are not any of them.Life without good coffee is indeed a waste of a life. Ditto music and good food…what even is life without the joy of a strong dark roast and a flaky almond croissant. These 3 small indulgences have often-time changed my entire outlook on an otherwise gloomy day. So, I indulge. I take care of myself. Daily. With pastries.
The most important part however of my daily self-care routine is MEDITATION. It’s a new addition and has changed everything. I turn on my app (Calm), select a meditation and follow along for 10-15 minutes before bed. It may drive my 5 roommates bat shit crazy, but I can’t imagine ending my day in any other way.
I try to do one thing a week that is dedicated solely to my own enjoyment. A moment just for myself. Down time if you please, a break from the hustle and bustle of my usual existence. Whether it’s Netflix and chilling with myself (desperate times and desperate measures etc), going out for a good cocktail that I otherwise wouldn’t dare spend the absurd amount of money on (goddamn hipsters), or buying something nice for myself (these days typically a new pair of socks) – part of my self-care routine is indeed treating myself to small little perks ON MY OWN. Life, especially in my current setting (a hostel) is full of chaotic madness. It’s important to find time in the week, if even just a fleeting moment, to take care of yourself.
There are an infinite number of things one can do to take care of their general well-being. For example – invest in the small things that will ultimately bring you immense joy. A recent favourite discovery of mine is The Blurt Foundation. Subscribing to their email-list was one of the best decisions I’ve made since arriving in Belfast. Blurt is all about self-care and their emails are full of little bits of inspiration that never fail to put a smile on my face and a skip in my otherwise dragging step. They also have subscription boxes called ‘BuddyBox’ – A Hug In A Box. They look to be full of pure love, magic, and items dedicated solely to boosting your mental health/general well-being. Space Masks (yet another creation I am absolutely DYING to try), cozy socks (literally all I think about these days), chocolate, books, scented oils – anything and everything.
So whether it’s subscribing to a feel-good newsletter, taking a weekly class, ordering a monthly subscription box or simply ensuring that your cupboard is always stocked with your favourite chocolate – find the small ways to treat yourself right.
Self-care is so important, now more than ever. The modern world is full of noise and opinions and obligations and responsibilities that are a requirement of life as an adult. I cannot stress enough how important it is to find small ways to take care of yourself and your overall well-being. As a person struggling with dodgy mental health I understand so completely how easy it is to de-priotritize yourself. When your self-worth is somewhere on the floor, it’s difficult to find a point in taking care of yourself. There are days (weeks) where even the basics of self-care (washing my hair, changing my clothes, shopping for groceries) become daunting tasks, so ‘indulgent’ self-care too often goes forgotten. When you don’t appreciate yourself mentally, you won’t want to do so physically either.
So I want to stress one small yet wildly important fact:
YOU ARE WORTH THE EXTRA EFFORT. You are deserving of some quiet time off and a weekly treat. You are important. Value yourself. Don’t ignore your own needs (and self-care absolutely falls under the category of ‘needs’).
Take that sparkly bubble bath.
Shut your phone off for a few hours.
Put your headphones in and drown out the rest of the world.
Indulge in a COMPLETELY NECESSARY treat.
Contort your body into weird yoga positions.
Go for a run/walk/slow crawl through a scenic park.
Do whatever you deem fit to serve as self-care.
Drink a kale smoothie if that’s REALLY what does it for you.
Whatever it is, do it.
Your mind, body, and soul will thank you for it.
(not to mention that you absolutely deserve it you precious being)