Self-care is more than a catchphrase
Updated: Aug 30
If you’ve ever worked with me or visited my social media sites, you know that I am a big fan of self-care. In fact, I think self-care, self-love, self-compassion, and self-acceptance are all vital to healing and growing. Yet, I’m also aware that “self-care” has become a catchphrase, and a problematic one.
You wouldn’t need to dig deep on the internet to find someone experiencing burnout, disconnection, or stress and someone else saying, “do some self-care!”. While that may be a great recommendation, the problem with that is that self-care isn’t an activity that someone can learn online or pick-up at the store. Self-care requires an internal, intuitive process of discovering what makes us feel calm, restored, safe and connected to our authentic selves. Once we have done that work, we can tap into that information when we are struggling to find our center.
For some, that may involve occasional time away from a high-stress job so that they can focus on hobbies like writing, reading, or traveling. For some that may be a daily exercise routine or structured schedule that allows a sense of control despite life’s craziness. For some that may be time away from devices or with supports. Ultimately, self-care is incredibly person-specific, as it is essentially what resets your soul, purpose and mood when you are feeling disconnected.
Self-care is a great thing to explore and hone-in on in therapy, and there are some ways you can explore this for yourself. Some journal prompts to explore self-care include:
When I care for myself, I feel…
How do I know/show when I’m experiencing burnout or stress?
What activities make me feel most centered?
What environments make me feel happy, restored?
Remember that self-care is not only what we do to take care of ourselves mentally, but also physically and emotionally. Self-care can be boundaries. Self-care can be releasing boundaries. Self-care is not just bubble-baths and massages, but it can be bubble-baths and massages if that is what it means to you. Self-care is non-binary, it is beneficial to all, and it takes intention.
What makes you feel balanced?