When we talk about self-care, we often refer to bubble baths, spa days, or lying in bed all day reading a book. Essentially, we talk about all the little treats we want to give ourselves for surviving the stresses of life. And while these indulgences are nice and can help us decompress, that’s not all there is to self-care.
Self-care is really important for your mental and physical well-being, but it’s not always easy or fun. Self-care is also about doing the things you don’t want to do because you know you need to do them. It’s about keeping up with your doctor’s appointments or getting yourself to bed at a reasonable hour. It’s about letting people know when you’re not feeling your best so that they can be there for you, even if you don’t necessarily feel like talking about it in that moment.
With age comes more responsibility. As children, our parents are in charge of feeding us, reminding us to have good hygiene, and making sure that we get enough sleep. But eventually, it becomes our own responsibility to make sure these things happen on a daily basis. We have to feed ourselves well, clothes ourselves in a weather-appropriate way, and take care of our physical health.
So how do you make sure you’re taking care of yourself?
Don’t just think about your wants, but instead start by focusing on what you need in order to be a fully functioning, thriving human being. Think about the areas in your life where you feel like you’re struggling. Maybe you’re always tired and what you need is better sleep or nutrition. Maybe you’ve been feeling isolated and what you need is to spend more time with friends. Perhaps you haven’t been to the dentist in a year, in which case you should go and get your teeth cleaned. Whatever the case is, you need to take care of yourself, not just pamper yourself.
Remember how when you were younger your mom would make you eat your vegetables even though you didn’t always want to? There was a reason for that. She wanted you to be healthy and well-nourished. So she would sometimes give you food you didn’t love eating because she loved you. Treat yourself in that same loving way. You won’t always love the things you need to do, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth it.
Cover your needs. Take care of yourself. And once you know that part is covered, it’s okay to treat yourself and pamper yourself a little bit as well.