Self-Care: Why It Isn’t Just a Trend

self care

The term “self-care” has become a hot topic thrown around a lot, particularly in regards to mental health. But do we really understand what self-care is and why it can be needed?

I was introduced to self-care a few months ago when I was facing a difficult week and was speaking to my therapist about it. At the end of the session she encouraged me to be intentional about practicing good self-care for the next week.

The term self-care describes the actions that an individual might take in order to reach optimal physical and mental health. Self-care can include anything from getting a haircut or a massage, to going to the beach or eating at your favorite restaurant. But even more than that, it means being mindful of and tending to your own daily needs. The most basic example might be: don’t be a workaholic. Take time for a lunch break. Take time for hobbies, family, and friends.

self care isn't a trend

Really, though, self-care takes on so many appearances because it is about taking the time to refresh and re-center yourself, and everybody does that a little differently. For me, when I was having that difficult week, self-care looked like buying myself peonies. They’re my favorite flower, and they brought brightness into my day. As much as we don’t want to be controlled by the things in our lives, it’s worth paying attention to the positive effects small “treats” – items, food, exercise, whatever – can have when we use them well for self-care. Knowing how to practice good self-care can be vital in dealing with depression, anxiety, or even just the pressures of day-to-day life that can so frequently feel overwhelming

Often, when we attempt to meet the needs of family, employers, kids, friends, or society before meeting our own needs, we impede our self-care routines and actually make ourselves less able to be positive influences in the lives of those around us. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish — in fact, it will allow you to show up for the people you love in a more real and impactful way.

Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish — in fact, it will allow you to show up for the people you love in a more real and impactful way.

Self-care is more than just taking time for yourself; it’s about knowing yourself. Knowing when you are being strained mentally and emotionally, and seeing that you can intentionally step back to replenish yourself.

Sometimes the topic of mental health can make us feel a little squirmy, but mental health (just like physical health) needs to be tended to. When we ignore our mental health out of fear of stigmas, we’re harming ourselves. Your body can tell you when it needs to rest. Your mind can let you know when it needs to be refreshed. The trick is listening and not ignoring it.

Perhaps next time you are feeling worn down, try practicing your own version of self-care and see if it helps to relax, re-center, and refresh yourself both mentally and emotionally.

What does healthy self-care look like for you?

Images via Michelle Madsen

Leslie likes to consider herself a walking SNL encyclopedia. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, has crushes on used bookstores, drinks a lot of tea, and dreams of being a writer. She wants to laugh a lot and do what she can to help people in need.

8 COMMENTS
  • Amy October 3, 2016

    This is one of my favorite posts! Self-care is so very important, and sometimes – when life gets in the way, I find myself de-prioritizing this, when it should always be the first thing I should take care of. This article is a wonderful reminder of why we should never forget to take care of ourselves.

    Self-care for me is taking a few minutes each day to say, hey what do I want to do today? What do I want to achieve and how do I feel? It has made a world of difference. That gets translated to a few days I take for myself each week doing things I enjoy – sitting in my favorite coffee shop reading, doing a quick job, browsing through the museum, or just taking a walk and seeing my city in a new way. But it’s time just for me to talk/ listen to my voice and knowing who I am.

  • Natalie September 25, 2016

    Thanks for a lovely piece. I think it’s vital to give yourself some ‘me time’ as I do find it affects the way I am socially if I look after myself. Yay for self-care!

  • Laura Brassie September 22, 2016

    I’m a mental health therapist and my heart cheers every time I see blogs and posts about self care. It’s FINALLY becoming important out in the mainstream community. For me, self care depends on the day. It might be quality time with my boyfriend, or a long walk, or coffee and a book on a Saturday morning. I’m getting better at incorporating self care into my daily life as well, even when I can’t give myself a few hours… like daily stretching, using essential oils, putting my phone away 15 minutes before bed. I love writing about self care as well. Thanks for the great post!

    Laura

    http://www.ivoryandpine.com

  • Michael L Wilde September 20, 2016

    My favorite part: “…mental health (just like physical health) needs to be tended to. When we ignore our mental health out of fear of stigmas, we’re harming ourselves.”

    Good self care is taking the time to see to my mental health. Good self care, such as eating well, taking time out for ourselves, or going for a walk, is a form of self respect. Self respect and self care go hand in hand.

  • Samantha September 19, 2016

    Self-care for me is looking after my inner self, my emotional and mental state. Giving myself some ‘me time’ so I could think more clearly.

  • Sheila September 19, 2016

    Great post! I agree that the stigma attached to treating mental health is incredibly harmful. A big part of my own self care is daily yoga practice.

    http://www.insearchofsheila.com

  • Arina September 17, 2016

    Thank you for perfect post!
    For me self-care looks like walk along the river bank and cup of coffee after hard working day

  • Elise September 15, 2016

    I love the verbiage, “Self-care is more than taking time for yourself; it’s about knowing yourself.” It is so true that the better we care for ourselves, the more we are able to show up for those we love!
    For me personally, self-care looks like a great novel, short story collection, or book of poetry, and is often accompanied by a glass of wine, with my little dog in my lap. It is a lovely way to unwind, escape, and simultaneously connect more deeply with my own thoughts.
    Thank you for an excellent post!

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