The modern world is fast-paced, exhausting, challenging, and exciting; a heady mix that can lead to people feeling like there are too many hours in the day to achieve all they thought they would. People are busier than ever, our lives never seem to slow down, and we live in a constantly-connected world that continually challenges us.
Given all of the above, it is no surprise that the concept of “self-care” has become so popular over recent years. Caring for yourself and your needs is an essential component of protecting your mental and physical health, but this necessity can be lost in the busyness and bluster of modern life. Self-care seeks to redress this balance by giving you time to focus on you – but the concept is in danger of being over-thought.
Taking self-care back to basics
Much has been said about self-care in recent years; discussion pieces, inspirational articles, and plenty more besides. However, self-care shouldn’t need to be discussed this much or over complicated. Self-care should be simple and effortless, not just another thing you need to achieve or add into your already-overwhelmed schedule.
So, let’s try and make self-care simpler, and focus instead on the fundamentals behind the concept.
Self-care doesn’t need to make you happy
Many self-care guides talking about engaging with activities that make you feel happy, but self-care – at its core – shouldn’t be about deliberately forcing yourself to feel anything. Truly beneficial self-care is about giving yourself the time to breathe, to do what you want, and to feel the burden of various pressures lift from you for a while. It’s not about “achieving” happiness; though self-care may make you feel happy, it’s not a prerequisite. Self-care should predominantly focus on activities (or even lack of activities, if you prefer) that give you a chance to escape, just for a little while, from the stresses and strains of modern life.
Self-care is highly individual
One of the major issues with listing self-care ideas is that self-care is very individual – in fact, it’s one of the most subjective behaviors you can engage with. For some people, self-care will be sitting alone for an hour to paint and be creative; for others it will be taking a trip to Solace Wellness Center & Medspa to try a few treatments; while for others self-care would be running a 10K on a treadmill. These are three extremely different ideas of what constitutes self-care, but each is entirely valid if it suits the individual. Your idea of self-care might be very different to someone else’s – and that’s okay. The only person you have to please with your self-care choices is you.
Self-care should be about you
Self-care is intrinsically selfish, which is something that many of us shy away from. No one likes to think of themselves as a selfish person, and society teaches us that being selfless is incredibly important.
However, sometimes, being selfish is necessary. Being selfish gives us a chance to center ourselves and to work on our own path to self-actualization. There is absolutely no harm in taking a half hour a couple of times a week to be selfish and engage with a self-care activity that is specific to your needs.
Self-care is a wonderful concept, but one that has become somewhat complicated by over-discussion. All that self-care needs to achieve is an opportunity for you to rest from your usual responsibilities for awhile; however you achieve this is entirely your decision. While it may feel difficult to make the time for self-care in a busy schedule, or you may struggle with the idea of focusing solely on yourself for a period of time, there’s no denying that taking a little time for you is a vital component of health – so make the time for your version of self-care, whatever that may be.