Nourish & Grow || Why #selfcare isn’t always self care

There’s no denying that the term ‘self care’ has become a hot topic, an instagrammable thing and even a buzzword of late, but if I’m honest I feel that these two words have gotten a little lost in translation.

The world of Instagram (and social media in general) certainly highlights some aesthetically beautiful forms of what is often deemed as self care, or rather a more consumerist form of self care. Think bubble baths, gorgeous candles, journals, spa days, manicures, and even wine. But it is so much more than that. SO much more. And more often than not it really isn’t even that at all.

Self care is much more about how to top up our ever decreasing energy (if you’ve ever been to a yoga class you’ll hear your teacher talking about Prana, life-force/energy and how we can extend and improve it). We need to make sure that the various forms of energy we output each day, each week, and each month are topped up so we can sustain balance.

In any given day we use up and put out intelligent (mental energy), spiritual energy, emotional energy, and physical energy. Consider an average day and where your outputs and inputs are? Too much output in any one of these four areas and you’ll find yourself feeling ’emotionally’, ‘physically’, or even ‘mentally’ drained. If we’re not consciously practicing ways to fill these energies back up we soon find ourselves out of balance, out of whack, and basically ‘spent’.

If you suffer from mental health issues your self care may go a lot deeper than that. It may be a specific treatment, therapy, or medication that helps you stay steady. Consumer ‘self care’ can often seem like a fix-it cure for mental health problems and something that can be solved with a wellbeing journal or a new skincare product. Granted, #selfcare has probably helped sell many more products, had more likes, follows and clicks but if we sold the tough stuff, the less pretty ways as self care it probably wouldn’t catch on!

Self care is sometimes difficult to do and doesn’t always feel good when you do it. But there is a longer-serving reason as to why some of those practices and habits need to be woven into our day-to-day lives.

Self care can be:

• Setting boundaries and learning to say no to things that don’t nourish you

• Unfollowing people on social media because they don’t fill your energy up in a positive way

• Taking time out of your day to make decent food and eat it mindfully

• Not answering your phone because ‘that’ call will only make you feel crap

• Managing your finances better, booking a doctors appointment, going to a therapy appointment

• Taking time to breathe deeply, micro actions for better health

There’s a FANTASTIC book by the amazing Suzy Reading that talks about the Self Care Revolution and provides ‘habits and practices to help you flourish’-  a toolkit that really equips you to make self care practice a daily practice.

Remind yourself that real, RADICAL self care is about replenishing your energy and making that sustainable. Beware to mind the #selfcare gap and dig deeper into daily rituals and habits that really top you up – these are the things you need to make time for (or we all really will burn out).

In the end, it’s about creating a life you want everyday (not just for holidays and weekends) – good quality sleep each day vs exhausting yourself and then having to book a fancy getaway. Help yourself to ease the worry and stress on a day-to-day basis rather than saving it all up. It’s a practice that is required daily, as Jim Loehr (author of The Power of Full Engagement) said, “Rituals also help us to create structure in our lives.”

When it comes to self care, practice mindful self care – allowing yourself to be present in that very moment; whatever it is that you do. And remember, it’s your daily self care, you don’t need anyone else’s permission and sometimes, a bubble bath is just a bubble bath!