Every Sunday, I try and treat myself to a little self-care. Sometimes that means taking a bath, bumping some Norah Jones and painting my nails, but other times it's not so pretty. I recently read an article titled 'This Is What ‘Self-Care’ REALLY Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths And Chocolate Cake', and it really got me thinking about self-care and its many forms.
In a way, self-care has become trendy and cool—and good for us, because it's something that we should desire to participate in! When you incorporate self-care into your life, the potential to achieve a more well-balanced, happy life is greatly increased.
But for some people, self-care can be a very painful and detoxifying process. What self care is = is the ability to notice that you need a break (mental, physical, or emotional) and take a step back from the everyday to refuel in a positive, productive way. It can require reframing and readjusting your life, taking a long hard look at what isn't working, and taking steps in a different, healthier direction.
Self-care can be a spa day, or it can be a painful morning spent crying in bed because you wake up with crippling anxiety that you don't feel like you can cope with. It can be going for a jog around the lake to de-stress after work, or it can be making difficult decisions like removing a toxic friend or relationship from your life, quitting a job that's making you feel suffocated, or redefining your self-imagine in a healthier way.
While a bath bomb from Lush and some pumpkin spice candles can offer a quick and necessary escape from the everyday, true self-care is often much uglier and less glamorous then that.
I, for one, believe that crying is a healthy, productive way to deal with emotions. Is it glamorous? No. Is it effective? Absolutely. When I'm feeling overwhelmed and I seem to be trapped in my mind with confusing emotions, I let myself cry for 10-20 minutes before forcing myself to put it behind me and move forward with a more productive activity. Of course I feel like a baby every time, but sometimes I just need to get past the "hump" and can't release the emotions in any other way!
Mascara streaming down my face, eyes puffy with the salt from my tears, I make myself move onto the next thing, because that's what self-care is to me—Getting out the ugly, pent-up emotions, reframing my life, and trying to create a set of healthier habits that will aid me in more effectively coping with everyday stressors in the future.
Even though it's not as glamorous as retail therapy or a latte overlooking the lake, things like crying and sweaty yoga sessions and yelling "GOD SERIOUSLY PLEASE HELP ME OUT I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE" in my car after a long stressful day are essential to my well-being and mental health.
So here's my main point on the first of many Self-Care Sundays: Self-care isn't always pretty, it's often painful, and it's always something that should be celebrated.
If you're reading this (and I have no idea if anyone will actually make it this far in this post, please tell me if you do!), I want you to know that even in your ugliest moments, you are still a beautiful human. Even though you may not feel it the you're sitting on your bedroom floor at 2a.m. asking God where he is and wondering what you're going to do with your life... You are truly a masterpiece and you deserve to feel empowered to build a healthy and constructive life.
Cheers to practicing self-care, whatever that means for you—May we all embrace the sometimes painful experience and come out on the other side with renewed hope, healthier habits and a clearer mindset.