What real self care looks like



Shhhhh. I am going to let you in on a little secret. Here it is :

A lot of what you think is self care is mostly smart marketing.
Sure bath salts and candles are great, but authentic self care is not Pinterest perfect. In fact real self care is a mixture of working hard and playing hard... with other people.

Self care as the name suggest means to actually take care of yourself. To make sure that your affairs are in order and your interests are taken care of so you can rest easy.

At the center of self care is reducing the anxiety and overwhelm of life.

Taking Sunday evening to soak in a long bath with your favorite book and jazz in the background is great, but will do nothing to improve your overall well being if the main causes of stress in your life remain unaddressed.

Also at the core of self care is your emotional well being. Psychologists have found that... wait for it... people need other people to be happy.

So if you want to improve your emotional and even mental health, you need to take care of your relationships. That is real self care. Not just candles, breath work and meditation (all three of which I do love).

So here, according to me, are the 7 aspect of authentic self care

1. Focusing less on yourself

A study showed that given the choice between doing something for themselves and doing something for others, people experienced significantly more joy by doing good for other people.

Being kind or taking care of other people (by choice and not out of obligation) makes us feel good because we feel valuable. We feel even greater when we see the impact of our actions on other people.

If you do something small and thoughtful for your sister and you see how much easier or happier her life becomes because of it, you will feel amazing.

Even if you do not see the immediate impact of you good deeds, knowing that you did something valuable improves your image of yourself.

Real self care begins with finding more to care about than just your self, your needs and your feelings.

The most self absorbed people are also the most insecure and miserable.
The more inward focused you become, the more you begin to loathe yourself.
So my first pro tip is begin to care more about other people.

Listen more and speak less. Seek to understand more than you seek you to be understood. Give more than you take.


2. Identifying and addressing your sources of stress/pain

Your whole body could be perfectly healthy, but if just one tooth is ailing, you will still feel terrible.

Self care is about finding the source of pain or anxiety and actually addressing it.

No matter how many healthy habits and mindful activities you add to your life, you won’t feel any better unless you address whatever is wrong in your life.

One of the biggest pain points in my life is being single when I thought I would be married by now.

Dating myself is a way to occupy my time and make me feel better. However, the real issue of being single is the loneliness and lack of intimacy.

I will not find that dating myself. That is why I went out of my way to be closer to my family and to build strong friendships.

If your biggest source of stress is financial, you need to stop avoiding it and come up with a financial game plan.

Identify what is the one thing that brings the most chaos in your life and deal with it.

Then find the next biggest thing and deal with that too. That is authentic self care.

I know a woman whose greatest source of misery is a son who is an alcoholic and has refused to get any help for his condition.

“I had to accept that my son is an adult who makes his own choices and who is responsible for them.

All I can do is to let him know that my arms and my doors are open when he is ready to come home,” she told me.

Even with situations that are out of your control, it is still possible to find a way to cope better.

3. Create a community around you

Self care is having strong relationships to enjoy, to support and to rely on for support. You need a village. You need an actual tribe.

Your boyfriend and your best friend are not enough. You need family and community.

Reach out to and rebuild broken relationships in your family. If you do not have a family, make friends that will be your family.

It is only in the past five or less decades that human beings have begun to live solitary lives outside of community and that is why mental illness is so wide spread.

If you are going to take a mental health day or a self care day, spend it with a friend.

It is okay, in fact it is necessary, to make time for yourself. I am an introvert and I need my time alone so I understand.
But whatever you do, do not isolate yourself. Live your life with other people.
4. Simplify and organize your life

You do not have to become a minimalist or essentialist but you do need to bring some simplicity and order into your life.

Take back control of your life. Do not get caught up in always trying to get more things, make more trips and chase bigger thrills.

Real life is not a movie. It is simple and mundane and that can be very fulfilling.
Focus on creating a simple and sustainable life for yourself with less financial constrains and less interpersonal drama.
Also get your act together as far as your health and fitness is concerned.

The everyday things you put in your body and the way you treat your body compounds to how you feel and enjoy life.

Self care should never cost you more than you can afford. Expensive trips and spa days and what not are not self care essentials.

Watch less TV and spend less time on social media. Live your real life with real people as often as you can.

Spend more time with the people who are physically present and skype or call instead of texting those who are far.

PSAIf you get triggered by the mention of religion, feel free to skip tip number 5 and go straight to number 6.

5. Find rest in a Sovereign God.
You have made man for Yourself, oh God and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You. - St Augustine - 
Real self care is entrusting my life to a loving God. Nothing difficult happens to me or my loved ones without His knowledge and approval.

I can trust Him to be there for every hard thing and to turn it around for my good, if not in this life, in the next. This gives me incredible peace in the midst of life’s hardest times even grief.

This is my life’s mantra:
Life is hard but God is good.
Secondly, we are created by God for the sole purpose of getting to know and enjoy Him as our Father and we cannot live peaceful and fulfilling lives until we do so.

Real self care, for me, is tapping into that joy and peace and fulfillment given to us freely through Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins to be forgiven and to restore our relationship with God the Father.

6. Taking care of others

That good feeling you get when you do something good for others, why don’t you pursue that more than the thrill of more stuff and more travel.

Self care is caring for your community and for the planet.

Self care is working on or giving to something that makes a difference and sleeping with smile on your face knowing that one person suffered less today.

Self care is fighting for the world in more meaningful ways than commenting on social media with no intention of ever taking action.

You cannot save the whole world, but you can sacrifice your time and your money to do something for one person in need.

Real self care is the joy and fulfillment that comes from doing hard things for others.

7. Chasing your dreams

Find something valuable that you are good at and dedicate your life to it.

You have dreams and aspirations that cry out from within you and leave you feeling discontent with the life you have.

Pursue them. Spend less time talking long walks on the weekend followed by long baths and wine.

Spend more time on the starting your blog or YouTube channel or whatever crazy dream you have.

Self care is not letting the kid within you down. I know a friend who always wanted to be an actor. He is now a successful businessman and lives a very fulfilled life.

He has no plans of Hollywood or Broadway but he joined a weekend improve class where for a few minutes a week, he gets to be an actor.

Most of my musician friends will never be recording artists, by they are content to sing in the church worship team on Sunday. They are pursuing their dream of making music.

The scale does not matter. What matters is that you do the things you really want to do.

If you have always wanted to have your own business. Start a small online boutique or something or go big if you can.

...

I hope you found this approach to self care more practical and useful in the long run. I have nothing against meditation and long baths to unwind.

I meditate before bed because of insomnia and I often take long walks all by myself to just unwind.

However, these things are only supplements. Authentic self care is hard work. It is not always Instragrammable or romantic.

Comment down below if you agree (or disagree) and do not forget to share this with your sisters.


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