What is Self-Care, and Why Bother?

by Darcie
darcie in portugal

Until I started grad school, I hadn’t really heard much about self-care. And even then, I didn’t know if I was hearing about it only because I was in grad school to become a psychotherapist.

I thought I’d write this post on self-care because now that I’m familiar with the term, it’s something I think should be discussed more often.

If you already have a self-care practice, that’s awesome! If you don’t, or have no idea what I’m even talking about, read on and then get started on creating your own practice!

What is Self-Care?

Self-care literally means taking care of yourself. It sounds really basic, and it can be, except that so many of us – probably every one of us at one time or another – do not adequately create the space for ourselves. And if we do, it might be here or there, we have time, and it’s probably not intentional.

If you’re not sure self-care looks like for you, consider this: What do you do to relax, recharge, and renew your spirit? What things make you feel happy, whole, and fulfilled?

For some specific ideas, check out my post on 8 things I prioritize to live my best life. I include a section on self-care, but pretty much everything on the list can be considered self-care.

Why Bother?

Given how busy the average American is, we need to be intentional about finding time to care for ourselves.

But, for so many people, things get in the way of a regular self-care practice – work, kids, obligations, time with family and friends. Some may believe they aren’t worthy of such a practice, or simply, don’t know what self-care looks like.

Maybe some of these resonate with you, or maybe you are coming up with your own reasons right now.

But consider the airplane analogy: you have to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Because if you can’t breath, you can’t help someone else breath.

Now, apply this to your everyday life. If you are run ragged and your tank is on empty, do you think you’re giving your partner, friends, family, work your best effort?

Probably (definitely) not.

In order to show up for your partner, friends, family, at work, and most importantly, YOURSELF, you need to be taking active steps regularly to work on YOU.

How to Get Started

First, take some time to reflect on whether or not you have any current self-care practices. If so, what are they? Are the sufficient? Can you add any additional ones?

Then, create a routine. Having a routine is the best way to ensure that you make the time for self-care. If you say, I’ll get to self-care if I have the time, you may never find the time. It’s something that should be scheduled into your life like anything else.

But start small, especially if you get easily overwhelmed. Try scheduling one activity for self-care a week for a couple weeks. See how that goes. If you are following through, add another one.

If you’re struggling to follow through, consider what’s getting in the way. As I mentioned earlier, beliefs about worthiness might come up for some. For others, like parents, you just might struggle to find the time. But even 15 minutes is better than nothing, right?

Consider this your call to create a self-care practice. Even if it’s hard at first, trust me, when your mind, body, and soul feel recharged, you’ll realize it’s worth it.


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