Self care is very trendy right now, it’s even Self Care September, but do you know what it really means to care for yourself?
At first I was definitely caught up in the whole self care craze. Really, who wasn’t? Influencers on Instagram mostly use it as a good excuse to spend time and money on nails, hair, eyebrows, skincare, cute journals with sparkly pens, and Doritos. Even KitKats and that piece of cake in the break room have all been labeled “self care” at one point or another.
But I have realized this is such a cheap and fleeting form of care. These tangible things or beauty treatments aren’t helping us grow into better humans or love ourselves anymore. It wasn’t until I had to face some hard truths and be honest with myself did I realize that caring for myself on a real and deep level is actually really hard.
After my annual exam with my doctor this past month, I realized what self care is supposed to be.
Like most, I was anxious and really dreading going to the doctor. Even when you feel fine, its still an invasion of your space in a harsh and foreign environment. You have to be honest with this stranger who you perceive as the judge and jury of your health and well being. It’s scary and intimidating all at the same time.
But I did it. I went, and took the time for myself. And when I walked out of that office, after being honest and candid with my doctor, I felt really proud for caring for myself.
Taking the time to invest in my body and well being was so rewarding. And it hit me how that truly is a privilege that I am so incredibly grateful for. It was in that moment that the true concept of “self care” revealed itself.
I encourage you to embrace the stuff that’s hard.
The honest, and sometimes raw, care and healing that your mind and body need. And trust me, we all need it. We all carry wounds and trauma from past experiences that color our perceptions and beahviors. We all have outdated and damaging coping mechanisms that once protected us and no longer serve us.
Real care is identifying your issues and actively working to correct them, so that you can live a better and easier life. And if you need help, have the courage to reach out and ask. There are so many who are ready and willing to help. If you need additional resources please check out mentalhealth.gov/talk/community-conversation for local resources in your area.
Taking care of yourself is so much more than cosmetic or consumables. And when you’re done, you’ll feel honored and cared for, because you are worth it.
Below you will find a short poem that I wrote just after leaving the doctor, hastily typed into the notes on my phone. But I think it rings true for many.
Self care isn’t.
Self care isn’t bubble baths or scented candles.
It’s not manicures or a face mask.
It’s not an empty unicorn notebook with a pink pen.
It’s not intentions or wishes or dreams.
It is taking your medication and being honest with your doctor.
It is going to the dentist and brushing your teeth every day.
It is putting yourself to bed when you know it’s been a long day.
It is being grateful for who you are and who you will be.
Its owning your actions and gracefully accepting the consequences.
Self care is hard work, but that’s why it’s worth it. Because you are worth it.
Here’s your Self Care September reminder that:
Self care can’t be held or eaten.