What is Self-Care Anyway?
Updated: May 5
Self-care! The ultimate buzzword these days. You hear it spouted and talked about all the time. But what does it actually mean anyway? Is it all champagne, chocolate, and bubble baths? Absolutely not! It is so much more and sometimes it isn’t even fun.
It has taken me many years of my life to realize what self-care actually means. Seriously, YEARS!!!! I have spent more time in life not practicing self-care and have learned many hard lessons from it. It has been all these hard lessons of feeling burnt out, tired, sick, and having unfortunate events that transpire from lack of self-care that has led me to the light of what taking care of myself means. Surely this doesn’t apply to only me.
Let us first examine what self-care is not, or rather what the lack of self-care looks like in life. For me, it started young. I had drive and ambition for days. In high school, I found it perfectly normal to get 5-6 hours of sleep per night. I thought it was normal to pile so much work on my plate that I would “burn the candle from both ends”. I carried this habit into my adult life in my twenties. It turned into excessive working and then socializing in all my downtime. There was plenty of time to “sleep when I’m dead”.
Fast forward to motherhood. I did what I thought was the right thing to do as a new mother. That is to make every sacrifice for this little human that I brought forth into the world. Sacrifice every desire, need, and even super basic self-care like frequent showers. If you have entered motherhood then you can probably relate. The problem was that I sacrifice so much I was having a hard time showing up fully and being fully present with my child. I mean, how can you be present when you working two jobs and then you are just exhausted all the time? You can’t! I couldn’t.
I carried this mentality into my relationships. I felt the need to make sacrifices for the good of the relationship. I felt it was normal to give up my needs and wants for another person. This resulted in me resenting my partners because I felt drained. It wasn’t till this pattern happened a few times and I had some years to do reflection that I actually woke up to how I was doing this to myself.
All of these are examples of how I sacrificed myself in my own life to give to others. These led me to feel exhausted and drained all the time. I found myself facing burnout and just wanting to hide in the forest on a mountain and get away from everyone and everything. I was depleted and run down with no more left to give others and nothing left to give myself. To be honest, I kinda did check out in some ways, but that's another story for another day.
Things self-care is not….