How Do You Practice Self Care?
Or better yet, do you practice self-care at all?
Since I started working from home, I've been especially reluctant to "treat myself" or even make time for myself. At first, I wasn't bringing in an income that made me feel like I'd earned it, and I had developed the thinking that one day my time would come and I could "treat myself" then.
As I look back on my time since college graduation, I've noticed a trend in not only sticking so strictly to a budget that I leave no room for myself, but a sense that caring for myself in semi-frivolous ways was just that - frivolous. I had never thought about the emotional and mental implications that putting those "frivolous" needs on the back burner would do.
Just recently, something clicked in me that made me realize how truly important self-care is for all areas of my life. I looked down at my hole-y sweater and 8 year old leggings and thought, "You know what? I think a new pair of leggings - or maybe even a pair of jeans! - would do my raggedy wardrobe some good." Up until that moment, I had been feeling like "hey, I never need to shop because I work from home! I don't have employers to look good for and we can save our moolah for the things we really care about!" But you know what? I care about how I look sometimes, and feeling confident in an up-to-date outfit does wonders for my overall self-esteem. I also started to hem and haw over getting my hair done, when my husband suddenly said, "Joy, I spend more on my haircuts annually than you do. Go get your hair done!" It was kind of a shocking revelation, but it was true! It had been a year since I had my haircut, and even then it seemed like a pampering treatment more than a genuine self-care regimen. I mean, I'm a frugal gal, but when did this extreme begin?!
Whether you're a mom whose priorities lie in the hearts of little people, a new wife who puts her husband first, a poor college student who is focused on reaching that graduation goal and first job, a career minded woman with little time for luxuries, or an entrepreneur barely getting by - self care is for you. All of you. All of us.
What comes to mind when you hear "self care?"
Getting your hair done professionally? Your nails done? A new wardrobe? A day at the spa? Who says self-care has to look a certain way?
Maybe it's an hour alone at the coffee shop. Heck, maybe even an hour alone in your own bathroom to take a longer shower and fix your hair and makeup (for once).
Maybe it's a cup of coffee with the full fat creamer because it tastes extra yummy.
Maybe it's an expensive shampoo/conditioner to splurge on instead of the Suave.
Maybe it's a couple new outfits to help you feel more confident and up with the times.
Maybe it's a fresh set of bed linens and comforter to snuggle into at night.
Maybe it's a few workout videos, gym membership, or new workout gear to care for your body.
Maybe it's a haircut at the fancy salon instead of the Great Clips.
Maybe it's a maid service just this once, so the cleaning isn't on you.
Maybe it's the meal subscription to save you time and help you eat healthier.
Maybe it's a splurge on the shoes, the bag, or the accessory you've been eying but can't seem to justify.
Maybe it's the dinner out with friends you never make the time for.
Maybe it's the time alone to journal or read or have a glass (or bottle) of wine and just be... uninterrupted.
Maybe it's the secret snack you don't want to share with anyone else.
Maybe it's the new underwear because let's be real. You've let those last wayyy too long.
Maybe it's just giving time to yourself.
Self-care, at its core, isn't about selfishness or a something deserved - it's simply caring for yourself. Whatever that looks like! Take care of your body, mind, and spirit. What helps one woman, may not help another, and that's okay. Some women find immense joy and rejuvenation in luxurious goods or services, while others can find an equal amount in quiet-time and a yummy drink at home.
As I've reflected on the last several years and what experiences offer me self-care, I have begun to recognize that even though 'things' don't typically offer my minimalist heart much renewal, those little bits of upkeep do. The haircuts, the little clothing updates, and the glasses of wine. They offer me a re-fresh, a little bounce in my step, motivation, and inspiration.