Self-care is often described as getting your nails done, drinking a glass of wine and chilling out. I’ve seen a lot of posts on how to exercise self-care that mimic these things and I even wrote one myself in my undergrad days. One thing I’ve learned since then is that is not the only type of self-care there is.
Constantly ignoring all your responsibilities is not self-care it’s being lazy.
Flaking on people who depend on you just as much as you depend on them isn’t self-care it’s being selfish.
Spending money that you don’t have because it will make you feel better isn’t self-care, it’s irresponsible.
Sometimes self-care isn’t fun or relaxing it’s doing the work.
I am in no way shaming you for having those days where everything is hard and getting out of bed feels like an accomplishment. My depression comes in waves and can stop me dead in my tracks and it can take me a few days to feel better. I know at that time I have to acknowledge what I’m feeling and do what I can. I also know if I try to reflect and push myself to do little things it will help me feel better.
For me, this is usually acknowledging and working on my flaws. I have a tendency to compare myself to others and critique myself to the point where it makes me feel defeated. I now try to confront these issues and reflect on why I feel the way I do and how I can change it.
Another act of self-care for me is working on my love-hate relationship with nostalgia. I have a tendency to look back on situations that should be over with and find a reason to hold onto them. I have to do the work of putting things (and people) in the past understanding that everything happens for reason.
I also think that another part of self-care that encompasses all of this is realizing that you are human. You make mistakes, sometimes you’re the bad guy but you have to forgive yourself in order to move on and grow. Forgiving yourself is hard because it involves facing parts of you that you may not be too proud of but this is where real growth happens.
Believe me, I love a good chill day in the name of self-care just as much as everyone else but sometimes we use that as a way to avoid the work we need to do to become better people.