What is self care?
Before I started to write this post, I was thinking about how best to define the term self care.
But I couldn’t.
The truly wonderful thing about self care is that it’s different for every individual.
A lot of times when people hear the words “self care”, they think of some trippy therapist sessions that involve a couch and plenty of boxes of tissues. I’m not really about that life. Well, the couch part, yeah, especially if it involves a lengthy Netflix binge…
To me, there is no definition for “self care” because it can be whatever it is you need, at any given time. Self care is taking time for yourself when your mind is telling you you should be doing other stuff.
It’s putting yourself first.
It’s loving yourself enough to invest in YOU so you can then invest in others.
Love yourself enough to learn yourself — what your heart craves, where your mind lives, what grips your soul.
Learn that and repeat it, daily.
What Self Care Is
I believe self care comes from a place of self love. You can’t really practice something if you don’t fully believe it. In the same way, you can’t take care of you if you don’t believe you’re worth the time and effort.
But, dear friend, you are. Girl, you so are.
You’re worthy of having every good thing. You deserve it. It’s okay if you don’t believe me right now. Everyone has to start somewhere. Maybe you’re just beginning on your own self love and self care journey. I’ll be here if you need a hand.
For starters, one of my favorite self care rituals is pampering myself, and this comes from a place of learning and understanding that I have the right to be cared for — even cared for by me. I love spending a few days a month giving myself a mani/pedi, soaking up the rays outside, indulging in an extra long shower, munching on my favorite dessert, and catching up on my favorite t.v. show — Gilmore girls.
Self care is different for everybody, and it can be the most simple things — even painting your nails or chatting with your best girlfriend.
You just have to remember that it’s about how it makes you feel. If you’re doing what makes you happy, what makes you feel cared for and loved, you’re practicing self care.
Our health is the most important thing about us that we take for granted the most often.
After seeing close family members struggle with so many different diseases and ailments, I’ve come to appreciate my healthy state — and I want to keep it that way.
Self care is a daily lifestyle that includes: eating wholesome, nutrient-rich foods, exercising, getting adequate rest, and maintaining good mental health.
Self care is about being responsible for your physical health just as much as it’s about caring for your mental and spiritual health, if not more so. When one deteriorates, the rest follow, so make sure you’re doing what it takes to live a long life with a strong and capable body.
Mindfulness can be defined as:
“the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something”; “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique”
But similarly to self care, it’s going to look different for each person. Don’t think you have to assume a standard yoga pose, focusing on your “OM” to achieve mindfulness or mental clarity. That’s where some people find their awareness and presence, which is awesome. Seriously, I’m kinda jealous that you’re able to bend your body into crow pose. You have enviable skills. But for others, awareness is found elsewhere, and that’s cool, too.
I recently downloaded the (free) app Headspace to start becoming more intentional with mindfulness and meditation. Honestly, this is something I really struggle with. We live in a fast-paced society, built on instant gratification, rushed lifestyles, and multitasking our lil’ hearts out.
Where does that leave time for a self care ritual of daily mindfulness?
Oh, right. It doesn’t.
We have to make that time happen. Again, I’m not talking anything crazy here. Self care is simple and straightforward. Mindfulness can happen anywhere if you’re willing to go there in the moment. And if you need some extra help getting started, learning how to create an intentional daily schedule could be the boost you need!
According to the Headspace website:
Recent studies show meditation and mindfulness can have a positive impact on stress, anxiety, focus, creativity and even relationships.
The app helps you to lessen stress, jump-start creativity, become more focused, conquer anxiety, and improve relationships.
Note: I am not being sponsored by Headspace, but anytime I find a resource that I love, I will always share with the Tendril Wild community.
If you’ve spent any time at all on this blog, you probably know that I’m OBSESSED with anything to do with personal development — and seeing others form a passion for it, too.
I’ve always loved learning, and being home schooled for almost ten years made me a fairly adept self-teacher. Name just about any subject, and I’d love to know more about it. I love that learning can be a life-long endeavor, even though there’s literally no possible way that we can learn everything there is to know. But it’s fun to take in as much knowledge as we can.
The best way to jump into personal development is to start with your interests.
- Do you love to draw or paint? Take an art class at your local community college or recreation center. Splurge on a new set of pencils or acrylics. Research your favorite artist online.
- Maybe you love to volunteer within your community. That in itself is a form of personal development; you’re developing character, patience, and compassion for others, among many other skills. Look into partnering with brands and organizations that facilitate that process on a national or even global scale. Tendril Wild’s mission is dedicated to spotlighting brands that do good.
Before I move on from personal development, one more thing.
Again, I love working on myself and facing new challenges. But it’s easy to feel like you’ll never be “good enough” when you’re constantly working on bettering yourself. There’s nothing wrong with self improvement, but there’s no specific standard we need to reach before we can love or accept ourselves, or allow others to love and accept us. You don’t have to run a 5k, or lose 10lbs, or be the perfect sister or friend before you feel like you’re “good enough”.
You already are.
If you never did anything else for the rest of your life, you’re still enough. Just be proud of yourself for how hard you’re trying.
Above all else, self care is 100% necessary.
It’s necessary for our sanity. It’s necessary in order to live our best lives. And it’s necessary because the way we treat ourselves is how we teach others to treat us.
Be gentle and loving with yourself. You’re a beautiful person.
What Self Care Isn’t
A common idea when discussing self care is that it’s somehow unimportant or selfish. What is with that, huh?
Let me explain something.
Self care is not selfish.
If you’re becoming a more content, happy, improved version of yourself (without harming someone else), that is all that matters. How could that possibly be a selfish or bad thing? Unfortunately, there are those people who won’t understand your desire to improve your lifestyle. These kinds of people may seek to drag you back down to their level; they don’t want to see you improve.
But that’s okay. You know why?
Their thoughts and feelings on the subject of your self-improvement don’t matter.
Leave them in their negativity. They’ll either recognize and check themselves, or they won’t. But you’ll be long gone on your personal journey before then.
What is self care? Self care can be anything you want, whatever you need in the moment as long as it’s healthy for you.
Buying those new shoes you’ve been drooling over for weeks? Self care.
Taking time to catch up with your mom over coffee and donuts? Self care.
Enrolling in a new yoga class at your local gym? Self care.
Working on improving your resumé and job skills to land that new position? Self care.
Don’t put too much thought into it; just do what works for you, boo.
If you’re in need of some ideas to get you started, click below to download the 50 Ways to Practice Self Care for Introverts checklist.
It’s all too easy to say we’re going to work toward something or set goals for ourselves. It’s another thing to actually DO them.
What are your favorite ways to practice self-care? Take some time now to list them below. The more creative the better! 🙂