Self-Care Isn't Selfish

By: Carrie Pinkley

The Oxford Dictionary defines self-care as:
1. the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health

On social media, self-care is perceived as bubble baths and shopping sprees. Though treat-yo-self self-care acts are totally valid; the self-care that isn’t surface level leaves the most impact.

Self-care is taking care of yourself:
Self-care is learning what boundaries are so you can say no when you always say yes.
Self-care is teaching yourself discipline so you can follow through with things even when the going gets tough.
Self-care is going to therapy and sorting out your thoughts and feelings.
Self-care is making plans to stay inside and catch up on to-do lists when you’re invited out last minute.
Self-care is resting (mentally, physically, spiritually...)
Self-care is dwelling in the word and spending time in prayer.
Self-care is creating a morning routine and following through with it when you want to snooze the alarm clock.
Self-care is making time to check In with yourself.
The list is endless.
Self-care is many things, but self-care is not selfish.

During the pandemic, my concept of self-care was challenged. I could no longer go out to shop or get my nails done when I needed to pick myself up. Instead, I had to find other ways to care for myself. I took an absurd amount of walks during ‘lockdown’. I would walk around the lake in my neighborhood and listen to podcasts that would stimulate my thoughts. I would read self-care books and journal. I made a vision board that helped me stay accountable. I made time to journal about my feelings and hopes for the future. I had therapy over zoom instead of in the office. I made a priority of the habits that made me feel good. These self-care rituals were different to me at the time but now they are what I truly consider self-care.

The real challenge began when I wasn’t trapped in lockdown and had to implement these self-care rituals into my day-to-day life. Self-care can look different in different seasons, too. It’s about listening to what you need then practicing that care with yourself.

Self-care is essential inside and out. It’s crucial to maintain ourselves all around. You cannot pour from an empty cup, after all. More often than not, the process of caring for ourselves is not glamorous. Spending time with yourself isn’t always easy when you’re working through healing. However, getting to know yourself will pave the way for the care you need to give yourself. It is a journey, not an overnight process. Self-care looks different for everyone.

Taking care of yourself is productive. Habits of self-care are investments that you make in yourself. Tiny changes create big habits. Self-care is all about taking your power back.

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