Self care is something that has become far more prominent lately. It’s all over social media, tumblr tells us to buy fancy bath bombs and instagram tells us to share it’s rainbow glitter to the world. But self care can be so much more than running a warm bath at the end of a long day. Sure, painting our nails and taking this quiet time for ourselves can definitely be part of self care, but I’m starting to see that this is merely the tip of the iceberg.
I stumbled upon this quote recently, and it’s wonderful. We are so encouraged and expected to work hard, in a way that is often unhealthy for ourselves. The concept of “working hard” or “doing your best” is often skewed to give the meaning of working until it hurts you. Of working beyond what is healthy for you. Of giving all of yourself to something, until you have nothing left.
“self care is not a reward for being responsible or for working hard. you don’t ‘deserve’ or ‘not deserve’ to be nice to yourself. you are an alive person and rather than thinking of self care as incentives or bonuses you can get by adhering to and succeeding at abled standards (at a detriment to your health), you can think of it as: making deposits of self esteem by caring for yourself and allowing yourself nice things and feelings. you don’t have to deplete yourself to EMPTY before filling yourself back up again. you can do nice things for yourself before you hit the bottom.” (elvendork).
In “doing our best”, I’m starting to understand that we also need to do what’s best for our own well-being. There is the very black-and-white idea of all or nothing, which is perpetuated within so many rivers in society. It could be exercising too much. It could be devoting all your time to work or study, so much so that you don’t have any time for your mind to rest. It could be staying in toxic situations. We shouldn’t have to drain ourselves of all zest and life before we feel that we deserve to refuel.
And deserve, this little word pops up all throughout self care. It’s so hard to believe that by simply being a person, this allows us the right of being kind to ourselves. I find it helpful to try and think of yourself as you would a friend or a child. They deserve to be treated with kindness and care. And they are you too.
Somethings that can really help with this messier, soul related self care are small things that can make a big difference to your mindspace.
- Make sure you take your medication
- Eat all your meals
- Plan in time to work and therefore too time to rest
- Talk to those close to you
- Tell yourself, regardless of how you feel, that you are strong in being able to leave toxic people and situations
- Open the windows
- Tidy your room
- Head outside, even if it’s just on your lunch break
- Find what makes you excited, and run to it
- Choose the people who choose you
And absolutely, work hard. Define your dreams and chase them, wildly and freely. But remember first and foremost that you are a person, and just because you are busy and striving, that does not mean you are excused from the basics, from kindness. You need to have enough care from you to you, so you can run towards those dreams.
Take that bath with the beautiful bath bombs and enjoy it. But try and nourish that soul of yours too. Remember that if doing your best involves harming yourself in the process, it really is not your best.
Love & light,