The act of self care

Last week on the Hippie Parents Facebook group I asked the moms a question. What is self care? Any specific things that you do? And no one could really answer me.

We are so busy being there for everyone that we forget about a very important person- ourselves. The you. Not the mom, not the wife, not the partner. But YOU.

So I have done a bit of research on the topic of selfcare. What is it exactly?

The act of self-care is proactive. It’s not always about bubble baths, face masks, and back to back reruns of your favourite TV show while chilling on the couch; it’s about identifying our issues, acknowledging them, and challenging ourselves to make changes that will have a positive effect on our wellbeing.

When we misinterpret ‘self-care’ it can become self-indulgent. Treating ourselves to a luxurious nighttime routine, eating our favourite foods, watching films, going to bed early and getting up late; these actions are important but they are more like comforting rewards than self-care.

Self-care is about breaking habits, changing unhealthy patterns, and eliminating negative influences from our lives. It’s about deliberate self-initiated habits, developed to improve our mental and physical health. These acts of self-care take longer to adopt but have a permanent effect on our long term wellbeing.

So here is what I think is selfcare:

  1. Eat well. Nourishing your body doesn’t have to be complicated; if you eat wholefoods especially leafy greens, you’ll feel lighter, look better, and have more energy. Self-care starts with eating well and caring for your body by making good food choices. Be kind to your body.
  2. Cherish your friendships. Do yourself a favour and decide who should be in your life. Surround yourself with people who enrich your life. These people support your ambitions, celebrate your achievements, and pick you up when you fall down, and you do the same for them. It’s important to nourish these connections and build strong relationships by investing our time in cherishing the people we care about the most. Having a network of friends we can rely on is so crucial for a fulfilling life.
  3. Remove negativity from your life. Identify the sources of negativity in your life and deal with them. If you find social media allows negative thoughts to creep in, limit your time using it; if you have people in your life who after affecting your mental health, let go of those friendships; if family members are a negative influence on your life, talk to them and explain how you feel. Be proactive about dealing with negative sources.
  4. Go offline! While social media can be a wonderful thing it can also be the trigger for feelings of negativity, comparison, and guilt. Removing ourselves from toxic situations gives us room to think and the opportunity to get our unwanted emotions under control. Taking ourselves offline for at least a few hours each day allows us to mentally checkout and create a moment of stillness.
  5. Create good rituals. Drinking a glass of water (or in my case a cup of coffee)  as soon as you wake up, reading for an hour before bed, eating brunch with friends on the weekend – simple habits to bring a little joy into your routine. Creating joyful rituals is an easy way to ground your day or your week, reminding you of the simple pleasures in life and the importance of daily self care.

Self care is not always about the dinners, the bubble baths and the wine and good book moments. Those are great too. But it should be more about doing what is good- for you.