The concept of self care as a bubble bath has been covered. So has the concept of self care as “not a bubble bath.” In my POV, both are valid.
I wanted to do a different spin. Indulge me as I attempt to bring new perspective to this age-old (like 2 years old) idea.
Before jumping in, it may help to define self care. Self care, in its truest form, is caring for self. As a language-y person, and this is official because it’s in my Bumble profile, the lack of hyphen between “self” and “care” is intentional. Hyphens allow a piggy back. I want these two words to stand alone, carry their weight with equal importance.
In this post, I break down the not-fun examples of self care and write about their challenges. These are descriptions, not solutions.
Setting boundaries: Not easy
It’s uncomfortable to a set a boundary you haven’t previously set or enforced. Why is that? It comes down to feeling like you’re infringing on the other person’s rights – their right to feel comfortable, their right to be accommodated, their right to your availability – and of course, I say “right” with quotations here.
One question for you: What about your rights? (Yes, sans quotations.)
You have the right to have time to yourself, not have time with someone in particular, not attend this or that, not engage in conflict, not engage in non-conflict, to decline something that’s not your job, to deny a request from someone who’s not your friend. To do this and that or that with this person or by yourself, for an amount of time or for an unspecified amount of time or by simply not acknowledging time at all.
Sitting with yourself: Not easy
To me, sitting with yourself means not finding an activity to distract you from what your body and mind are trying to tell you. Activities are great; everyone should have Favorite Activities™. But when we find ourselves doing things we never want to do to avoid sitting with ourselves, that’s probably when we need to sit with ourselves the most. I’m thinking, like, cleaning. If you find yourself cleaning for fun, you should go sit with yourself.
Maintaining our self care: Not easy
Healing comes when we defer short-term relief for long-term growth. Instead of grabbing the wine, it’s grabbing the journal. (Okay, WHOA. As I edit this, I can’t remember where I got that first sentence from. If you know, please tell me. Credit is most certainly due.)
I think of healing as a big grand thing, yet it can really be choosing to focus your attention elsewhere when what you really want to do is make the snarky comment. Our brains can truly only follow one thought: give it something else.
When we have habits that provide us with consistent short-term relief, it’s super hard to break those habits in favor of the long-view. It takes thought every time. And this can be exhausting.
Forgiving yourself: Not easy
I recently started sharing journal prompts on my Instagram stories. When compiling prompts in my own journal, one I found was “I forgive myself for…”
Forgiving yourself is self care. What are you going to forgive yourself for?
When, and how?
How will your life look different once you’ve forgiven yourself?
Building a life you don’t need to regularly escape from: Not easy and many times unpleasant
(Idea from this Thought Catalog article)
Have you ever thought about why therapists have to have you consent to the “risks of therapy” before beginning your journey together? The paperwork says something like “I understand and consent to the potential risks of therapy…” It’s called informed consent.
I found out from one of my group therapists that this is because the risks of therapy can be significant. Like, uprooting-your-life significant. As in, lady, you can temporarily put a bandaid on your problems but if you want the solution, you’re going to have to break up with someone. Or change jobs. Or move across the country.
Building a life you don’t need to regularly escape from is not easy and there are going to be risks.
Self care – caring for self – is not meant to be fun. It’s meant for survival
….and yet it absolutely can be fun. 🙂 Post a pic of your bubble bath while you’re at it.
Articles that got me thinking:
- 30 Excruciating Examples of What Real “Self Care” Looks Like (Voices in Action)
- This Is What ‘Self-Care’ REALLY Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths And Chocolate Cake (Thought Catalog)
- What is Self Care (Real Simple)
P.S. in case we haven’t met…
you seem normal is a mental health medium run by 24-year-old communication professional (hello!) who… well, seems normal. Turns out, my roommate is mental illness. Actually more like my unborn, and non-conceived baby. Because it’s like, inside of me. This is getting weird already. Topics of focus: self-awareness (we love it), mood, anger management, perfectionism, relationships & boundaries.