That’s fine. But what is it?
There are quotes and even definitions about self-care that skirt around exactly what it is, because to define it wholly would be impossible I think, and frankly people just aren’t really aware of what is good for them anymore.
Who can blame them?
There is no clear definition for something as basic as self-care that really gives any direction. No wonder the majority of us suck at it!
My mother in law uses an analogy about a dictionary that reminds me of this… she never could understand as a young girl, why if she was asking an adult how to spell something they would tell her to “look it up in the dictionary”… cool she would think to herself, EXCEPT…. in order to look something up in the dictionary… you kind of need to know how to SPELL IT!!! Having access to the dictionary, without access to the proper spelling renders the dictionary useless if you can’t find the damn word!
I think that we all approach self-care in the same manner, and we are largely missing the point- in just the same way as the adult telling the child to look it up. Self-care, we know the word. We really don’t know what components make it up for us, how to spell it out as individualized self-care; therefore have a really difficult time defining what it means for ourselves.
There is no right or wrong in self-care, just like in grief, or growth, the individual results will be different, depending on the person and their life.
The impact will be different depending on a persons past experiences, and ability to be mindful and consistent.
Biologically we all live on a spectrum, a combination of all experiences, perceptions and circumstances that make use unique, therefore the self-care that we require will be unique to us.
That said, there are thousands or millions of things out there that claim to be “self-care” they are products, don’t confuse them as anything more than that, they are there to make someone else money! If you find it helpful to purchase something additional once you have begun your self-care routine to enhance your experience… by all means- but notice that real authentic self-care should not cost you a thing. Journaling is journaling, if you write it on loose leaf paper or in a $1,000 leather bound journal the point is that you write, don’t miss the point because you can’t afford the journal that you desire…. just write!
Self – care is not a commercial purchase on a daily basis. You do not need to buy anything to practice really great self-care. All you need to do is be consistent. At first you can be consistent at defining what self-care looks like for your life…. then once you think you know just be consistent with things that help, and your life will get better.
So what can self-care look like then if you don’t need to buy it?
Self-care is the act of taking care of yourself, in all aspects of your human spectrum the self-care that you require is no different than any other human… we all have a basic set of human needs that we are supposed to be capable of meeting independently.
I ran into the problem of being in my 30’s and really not knowing what self-care truly was. I mean I was managing, and living my life, but I didn’t realize what self-care actually meant for me until I had no choice but to learn it to cope with my medical conditions.
Part of my treatment plan included returning to the baselines of self-care from being totally dependant, and incapable of physically caring for my basic needs, like showering and feeding myself properly. I was in such a bad state physically where my sensitization and neuropathways were hotwired for trauma, and constantly triggered. This put me into a worse place both physically and emotionally and got me my ticket onto the hot mess express!
It was from this place, of literally facing living in a panic ridden pain stricken body that I finally decided to figure out what self- care actually is…. and what it isn’t.
I’ve written about the concept that I adapted- HELPING VS HURTING where for every decision that I made for myself I observed myself with LOVE for myself and a willingness to learn what I might be doing that is quietly sabotaging me.
As I became more aware of the actions that I was taking, I was able to make corrections where things were not serving me or my health, take actions to weed out the self-sabotage.
In about 4 months it will be the two year anniversary from when I was removed from my life to take a break, by a trojan horse of a disease.
I am still here, still improving every day while I wait for the surgery with no date and live my life as best I can in the meantime.
Self-care is really anything that helps to rejuvenate cells in your body, on a mind body spirit level, anything that helps over hurts.
For me, self-care is the pursuit of the healthiest life that I can have for my whole body… especially my brain and my organs. My young body has been through a whole bunch.
Self-care for me is anything that will help me get really old and stay really healthy. I have so much living left to do, and I am going to do it using the knowledge of self-care that I have afforded myself through my illness to stay as healthy as I can.
The impact of self-care will be different depending on past experiences, and ability to be mindful and consistently dedicated to your commitment to grow.
Once I finally acknowledged that I was really lacking in the area of real self-care, and that getting my nails did really isn’t the point- my life changed. Once I used consistency to compound the affect of self-care in my life it turned into something even more beautiful, it turned into growth.