If you search the hashtag on social media, you’ll find thousands of people taking charge of their own well-being with self-care. We’re all too busy, too overworked, stretched too thin. We all deserve a little pampering, a little time to ourselves, a little self-care.
Yet, I noticed that what started as ten minutes of alone time to savor a cup of coffee or sneaking an extra scoop of ice cream after the kids went to bed, turned into a competition of who is best at self-care. Pictures of fluffy towels and bath bombs were replaced with weekend trips to the beach and all-day music festivals.
Have you heard the phrase ‘comparison is the thief of joy’?
It’s not that you shouldn’t do the self-care that works for you, but you have to remember who ‘you’ are. I know it’s not possible for me to hop a flight to Miami and spend a weekend working on my tan (even in the interest of self-care) and taking myself on a shopping trip to indulge in retail therapy, as much as I might ‘deserve it,’ just isn’t in my budget.
For me, it turned out that self-care meant no longer following hashtags that did not bring me joy, as I went back to figuring out what my versions of self-care were.
About a month had gone by since I stopped following #selfcareSunday when it showed up in my feed anyway. If I hadn’t seen the hashtag, I wouldn’t have realized it was a post dedicated to self-care.
The photo was taken inside a building with floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside, the sun was setting and it was a beautiful, picturesque view; however, in the forefront of the picture was a table set with whole lobsters on plates and what appeared to be a large hotpot of assorted seafood. The hashtags were, among others, #selfcareSunday #datenight #treatyourself #indulge
I’d spent the last month discovering and testing methods of my own self-care. I’d found a good routine. I was happy and proud that I’d found ways to calm my mind and anxieties. Now I wondered if my self-care was even self-care. Who was to say?
You are the most important part of your self-care.
If that $500 dinner is part of what maintains healthy well-being for them great, but it doesn’t for me.
It turns out, it was my perception of self-care that was causing the problem. While I wasn’t comparing self-care methods, I was comparing my needs to other people’s needs. I was thinking we all need the same types of self-care. We don’t. We all have different needs.
Big, fancy gestures rarely contribute to my well-being. If anything, I find them stressful and uncomfortable and can’t wait to be home in my pajamas. Which incidentally are part of my self-care.
Once I realized that self-care was about, well, self and not the activities involved, I felt a little sheepish. I had assumed that the hashtag had degraded into out-performing each other when really it was about catering to ourselves.
My self-care is probably baffling to a lot of people. It turns out that for me, self-care is comfortable pajamas, checking things off lists, rewatching my favorite shows, getting rid of things that don’t bring me joy and drinking coffee in the afternoon. The reason my self-care might be confusing is not because it’s silly or basic or unimaginative but instead it’s that it’s my self-care and wouldn’t meet the needs of others.
Self-care only works for you if it’s about you.
If you’re struggling with finding self-care that helps your well-being, take a look at what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. If splurging really helps you cope with your everyday stress and anxiety, and it works for you, yay!
But if it doesn’t, try out something simpler. Something more, you.
By Guest Blogger Dana L.