Self care has become a buzzword these days, a trending hashtag that’s been used over a million times on social media. Usually this hashtag is associated with images of bath bombs, spa visits or green smoothies. What’s missing from this trend however is the fact that self care looks completely different for every person. To me it might mean having a tea and going to bed at 9pm, but for you it’s going to a yoga class and talking with your parents on the phone. Everyone can’t possibly practice every type of self care there is out there, it’s just not realistic and would consume an immense amount of time. It’s up to you to figure out what practices are worth your time and energy.
Figuring out your self care tools requires every day self awareness and introspection. When you’re feeling drained, recognize how it manifests in your body and try some form of self care. Does it improve how you’re feeling? Does it help calm your mind and rejuvenate your energy levels? Just because a friend of yours is using face oils and doing intermittent fasting doesn’t necessarily mean this is something that’s best for your body. Figuring out which self care practices work for you will take some time and experimentation. You’ll need to become aware of how certain things make you feel. Does a face mask and a foot soak sooth me or make me anxious? When I spend time reading or going for a walk does it put my mind at ease or activate my thoughts? What one thing does for you, may not do the same thing for me.
What makes self care even more challenging is all the products that come with it: rose quartz face rollers, essential oils, bath salts and dry brushes, exotic teas, water filters, meditation apps and expensive supplements. Honestly it can be a bit overwhelming. Take it one step at a time and start with the practices that don’t cost you anything: a glass of warm lemon water in the morning, keeping your cell phone out of the bedroom, eating dinner before 7pm and stretching before bed every night. Try these and see which ones have the most impact on your wellbeing. At the end of the day it’s not about following the trends or posting a photo on Instagram, it’s about creating a self care tool kit that actually works for you.
With all of this being said, over the years I have tried lots of these trending self care practices, some have stuck and others just didn’t do it for me. And that’s okay! I think the ultimate form of self care lies in creating a life that gives you the time and space to create practices that regularly restore you. Living a lifestyle that gives back to you instead of constantly depleting you is the key to long term health and wellness. We expend so much energy at our jobs and in completing our to do lists, that it is equally important to balance this with sending equal amounts of energy back to ourselves. By giving to ourselves we can more effectively give to others. Remember we must always fill our cups before helping fill someone else’s otherwise we risk running dry. So self care really boils down to what helps fill your cup?
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