Do you take care of yourself? Yes, you pamper yourself occasionally; you get that facial, go for that nail appointment and style your hair at the salon as and when you can? But self-care is more than that, and it’s a lot less glamorous than it sounds.
Self-care is not actually spa days and brunch weekends, it’s the conscious decision to curate a lifestyle that doesn’t make you feel that need you to escape from it. It does not make you want to throw 5/7th of your week away just so you can enjoy two days out of the whole week. It’s the conscious decision to make difficult choices so that each of your days can be precious and welcomed. These can include waking up early every morning to work out so that you feel refreshed and happy for the rest of the day, even though the workout itself may not be pleasant, or talking to a friend about how you feel they may be taking advantage of you. It’s a way to figure out and accept yourself so that you’re not constantly exhausted all the time, feeling that no matter the breaks you take, you’ll never be completely rested.
Contrary to popular belief, self-care is not something you do every few days. Rather, it’s something you do daily to eventually make time for yourself to have that nice, relaxing bath as you flip through your favourite magazine. This encapsulates having a spreadsheet for your finances and managing it consistently so you’re worried about finances should the need arise. Or perhaps editing your thoughts every time you beat yourself down. A slow but conscious effort to change your perception about yourself will eventually work. Holding yourself accountable and being willing to hold difficult discussions for your own betterment and mental health are all actions that are categorised as “self-care”.
Essentially, self-care is not as shallow as the trend these days has made it seem. It’s all about being able to relax without feeling like you’re missing out on doing something else, and it’s about managing yourself so that you don’t feel too overwhelmed all the time. Basically, it’s really about putting yourself first. And even though taking care of yourself sounds a lot more difficult than it seems, it’s just as worth it. It keeps anxiety levels low and makes your reprioritise your goals to focus more on yourself and your family if you hadn’t already been doing so.
The thing is, life is hardly ever perfect. It’s almost never that your life goes exactly to plan, and it’s more likely that it’ll you off balance than actually lets you cruise through it. Motherhood won’t let you achieve Perfect Balance. Or your career might not. Or you may have a family member that needs taking care of. We can’t always have the luxury of a yoga class every day or a relaxing bath at the end of the day. Hustle is part and parcel of our lives, and it can get frustrating that different aspects of your life may not be in balance.
However, if you make tough but the right decisions throughout, you’re more than likely to be prepared for what comes to your ways. Listening to your heart and mind, setting boundaries, leaving people or activities that may be toxic — these are the more essential ways to take care of yourself. It might take some sweat and tears, but that’s okay. Future you will always be thankful for you and all that you did.