When Self-Care Goes Bad…

I am 100% a supporter of self-care. I think it is more than a great idea- it is an essential idea. BUT, as with most things relating to our health , I think it can easily become a tiny bit skewed. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen “self-care” being rebranded at times as something that you have to do in a certain way. Or something where you can be told that you’re doing it wrong, because it isn’t really “caring” for your body- even though the idea of caring for yourself encompasses so much more than your physical frame. Sometimes we feel the pressure to do something, well, more “self-carey” than what we know deep down would relax us. Thanks to social media we have the image that self-care should be a certain way, or link to self-improvement. 

Occasionally, you might really need fish and chips. Or to sit on your arse and watch GOT, or a film, in your pjs- alone or with some friends. You might need to stay in bed all morning, more than you need to get up and go for an “unwinding morning walk to watch the mists rise and take a wonderful photo to show how much effort you put into caring for the zen part of yourself”. If yoga relaxes you, if walks unwind your mind- then go for it. Enjoy it. But don’t let yourself feel pressured into your self-care having to look a certain way, or match up to certain IG-worthy standards. Self-care is not always going to be exercise/ a healthy home-cooked meal/ an expensive manicure. You can do all of these things, but choose what feels right for that time– choose what your gut is telling you  you need to truly take a step back and relax. It might not be a yoga class, or a meditation session, followed by a cake from a health food shop. It might be a bubble bath and a glass of wine and some chocolate. Sometimes, yes, this could be the other way around depending on who you are/your mood/your hobbies- but don’t lie to yourself about what you need.

Sometimes, I see “self-care” activities where I wonder how much the person is actually enjoying them. Sure, I do feel great after a gym session- I feel powerful and strong and energised with my hair scraped into a god-awful ponytail, and looking a shade closer to “tomato” than I usually do, but I personally don’t find that is my best method of self-care. Working out is an activity I enjoy, but it doesn’t usually relax me in the manner I need self-care to. I also feel great when I have a lie-in after a long week, followed by a morning shower and clean pjs (not even real clothes), purely  to eat breakfast and watch a film. Sometimes, very rarely, self-care isn’t even all rainbows and glitter – it can be having a whopping great cry to release all the stuff inside of you, and then gluing yourself back together in a bubble bath, before getting an early night under fresh sheets. Self-care on another level is simply saying ‘no’ to situations that take up too much of your time, and drain you. You can’t really IG that..

My point is this: self-care is so very individual. It can’t always- and shouldn’t always- have a Valencia filter stuck on it, and be paraded before the whole world. It isn’t something you can do “wrong”, unless you aren’t actually spending time on yourself,  for yourself alone. Whatever you need is what you do; it might not always be the image of self-care created on social media, but if it makes you feel a bit better? Then to hell with it. Make sure you remember the “self” in self-care.


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