Self-care is an incredibly important and ever-growing topic in the current decade. Of course, it’s important to take care of yourself. For me, I sometimes think about how I should practice it. I read all these articles, books, and Instagram posts discussing different methods of self-care. Some of the common exercises they recommend are taking bubble baths, exercising, meditation, crafting, cleaning, therapy, going on a walk, turning off your phone, eating your favorite food, cooking, watching movies, and many more. After reading these and trying them out, I noticed that I didn’t feel like I was really taking care of myself. And then I’m thinking…
Am I supposed to do it like that? Do I have to take a bubble bath so I feel like I’m taking care of myself? Do I have to cook to feel like I’m putting myself first? And after some thinking, I found that the answer is no. There is no universal method for self-care.
If it’s for you, then you’re practicing self-care. For me, I LOVE laying in bed. I can watch movies and binge shows all day and night. I love watching ASMR videos, especially when I’m feeling anxious. I love just being lazy and doing absolutely nothing. For me, that’s my self-care; where I’m putting myself first.
Now, how I take care of myself is obviously not how others should practice self-care. So I figured I would ask the people close to me how they view and practice it. I started by asking my boyfriend. He mentioned showering, which I didn’t think of as a form of self-care at first and then it made sense to me. He uses showering as self-care by not only washing and cleansing his body but his mind as well. He says, “I believe the shower is a great place to think and meditate, that’s why I take long ones.” When he told me this, I felt like I found out something new about him. I didn’t know he thought of self-care that way but he does and I was glad to know he takes the time for himself. He also said video games are a great way for him to relax (So typical).
My best friend said her self care routine is pretty simple but also has a way to it that makes her feel better mentally. She said, “I clean my room and usually make lists. I try to cross out as many things as possible because one time I read an article that said that crossing things off the list actually helps relieve stress and anxiety.” This was interesting to find out because you’d think self-care is about laying back and not worry about organization, but organization can actually help to know you have things accomplished. I related to this a lot because I love to plan ahead… Like 5 months ahead. I know, I know, that isn’t the best thing but if I don’t know what I’m doing in the near future, it makes me nervous. Making lists is a great way to see what you’ve accomplished during the day, it’s reassuring and it makes you feel good about yourself.
Another good friend of mine said, “I sleep. I block out certain periods of the day to relax, go for a walk/listen to music and when I really have time and the money, I get a massage or lots of time watch a movie. A stress reliever for me and also a self-care moment is to do my nails at least once or twice a month.” I also thought this was relatable. I love sleeping, especially if I can sleep in during the weekend. I used to take naps a lot when I was in undergrad but I don’t as much these days. When I do take naps, it can sort of help depending if I didn’t sleep well the night before. I think treating yourself is a great way to practice self-care. If you have the time and money to take yourself out on a shopping spree, get your nails done, getting your favorite junk food, and especially massages, definitely DO IT.
A great friend of mine said something that made self-care apparent, it does not have to be done a specific way. She says, “the “allowance” of self-care is what is most important. I’m going to allow myself to indulge. I’m going to allow myself to have a lazy or imperfect day.” I think we can all get so caught up in trying to eat certain things and saying to yourself, ‘oh I’m so bad’ if you eat a sweet. I personally feel guilty if I’m not doing something just because that’s the way I operate. I always like to feel like I’m being busy and productive and making good use of my time.
But I’ve learned it’s OKAY and it’s healthy to allow yourself to rest. This version of self-care is often not talked about. For instance, I love pizza, burgers, and donuts. I wish I could eat them all the time, and when I do, I make sure I don’t make myself feel bad about it. It’s okay to have cheat days or cheat weeks (of course make sure you’re eating well in between)! We gotta make sure we let ourselves go when it comes to things like this. That self-care means letting things go to let yourself feel a little bit more free.
Everyone’s version of self-care is completely different, and that is just AMAZING. That’s the whole point of it. Sure, articles and Instagram posts tell you what you should do when it comes to practicing it, but those are strictly suggestions. If what you do for self-care isn’t on that list, don’t feel weird or bad. It’s actually great that you have things that you do that aren’t on the list, it makes it original. Self-care is meant for you and only you. It’s not about if you’re doing it right or wrong, it’s about if you’re doing it for you and not because it’s a trend. Love yourselves, babes. Make sure you look out for you today, tonight, tomorrow, this week, next month and so on. You are so important.