“Self-Care” has become a buzzword in current times, but what exactly does it mean? When you picture someone indulging in self-care, you might imagine them taking a soothing bath at the end of a long day, buying themselves a treat, or pampering themselves in some way. But is that what self-care really is, or is there something more to it ー and is it something that we “indulge” in (implying that it’s desired and pleasurable yet unnecessary), or is it actually something that we should engage in regularly as an indispensable part of our individual and collective well-being?
In understanding what self-care truly is, we must dispel the misconceptions about what it isn't. Self-care isn't about being selfish: it's about taking responsibility for one's own well-being, by exercising behaviors that actively help to manage the healthy state of the mind, body, and soul. This can be through physical practices like exercise and good food choices, getting quality sleep, and staying on top of dental care. Or it can be practiced mentally and emotionally, by understanding and respecting our own needs, setting boundaries that ensure these needs can be met, and paying attention to the way we think, act and feel, so that we can take more control in showing up in the world more authentically. Doing so doesn't only help boost your own happiness, but it affects that of others too ー in your own community, as well as our global society.
Self-reflection is a powerful practice that can help us better understand ourselves in many ways – from our values and purposes to our relationships and careers. Read on to learn about how it can help you recalibrate your life towards your goals, figure out what you truly want out of your life, and discover ways to make intentional decisions that can pave your way to success.
How much time do you spend each day explaining yourself? It might be on those lengthy work emails detailing everything that’s happened at home and the office that got in the way of your immediate reply (it’s called life). Or those message streams pinging into your friend’s DMs to lay out all the reasons you’re unable to meet for that coffee you’d both penciled in (again, life). Or perhaps you find yourself apologizing again and again throughout the day – reaching for the defense of explaining exactly why you were so slow, fast, loud, quiet, absent, in the way, or anything you could possibly be judged, attacked, or deemed less than superhuman for. It’s called “worthsplaining” – a new term that was coined by life coach Kate MacGowan - and many of us are guilty of it. But this compulsion is a symptom of low self-esteem – and it might be making things worse.
One fundamental aspect of self-care is acknowledging the importance of making yourself a priority for yourself. But is self-care selfish? No, it’s not ー not if you understand that practicing good self-care habits can help positively affect the people around you, too. It means asking yourself "What is Self-Love? How can I learn to love and accept myself more for who I am?" so that you can learn how you need or want to be loved, so you can communicate that to others around you to feel more loved, and so you have a greater capacity to love others more wholly and sincerely as well. How can we learn to prioritize ourselves at work, and in our relationships (including romantic relationships, friendships, and familial relationships)? Is self-care solitary, or can it also be social? Why is it so important to build healthy habits and routines? How do healthy habits and self-care affect our mental health? How does self-care differ from self-love? How do we develop self-love, self-respect, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-compassion, and self-acceptance? What is the importance of rituals in self-care? How do we know when we are practicing meaningful self-care rather than narcissistic self-care? It's worth taking time to delve into the answers, since authentic self-care is one of the most powerful ways we can grow.
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