So much could be said about what self care is. You can find tons of blog posts about self care on the internet. I even have a few on this blog. But no one is talking about what self care is not. We get caught up in glorifying self care. We see all the insta posts of people at luxury spas ultimately painting an unrealistic view of self care. Luxury vacations that only the ultra-rich can go on that promise rejuvenation.
But let’s remember half of those photos are fake.
We are overwhelmed with content of what self care is supposed to look like. But when we don’t have time for a weekend getaway or afford manicures, we can start to feel like we are failing at self care. We begin to believe that we don’t have the time for self care. Or that we don’t have the money, so why bother with self care.
But it’s a lie. A lie we tell ourselves. But in reality, self care can be free. Free, if we want it to be.
So what is self care is not.
Self care is not drowning yourself in wine to forget your problems.
Don’t get me wrong; I was always first to crack a bottle of wine after a tough day at work. In my twenties, wine after work was a way to relax from the craziness of work. Then after having kids, drinking was a way to wind down after dealing with toddlers all day. I remember in the mom Facebook groups, the moms would call wine “Mommy juice.” Ya, that was a thing. But hydrating yourself with wine and not water doesn’t help you. Ya, it feels good. But all drinking does is mask the fact that you need to find a better way to cope with stress.
Self care is not spending money you don’t have on spa days.
Buying new smelly bath salts will not fix your problems, but it’s a lot cheaper than a spa day. Taking a relaxing bath is just as good as spending money you might not have on a spa day. If you can afford it, then knock your sock off. But don’t feel like you need to spend money on beauty products to experience self care. Self care doesn’t come in a bottle.
Self care is not scrolling mindlessly on social media.
Taking a minute out of your day to mindless scroll on social media is not wrong. But it’s not self care. Next time you click on a random Facebook article, ask yourself if this is worth 5 minutes of your life. Is whatever in the post going to change your life for the better? Are you going to be a happier, healthier person by reading this article? Your time is scarce. Pick content that improves your life. Feed your mind with positivity, not gossip. Scroll if you want to scroll, but don’t call it self care.
Self care is not turning your hobbies into a side hustle.
Not all hobbies have to become side hustles. In today’s gig society, everyone is obsessed with having side hustles. They say you must have seven different streams of income to be a millionaire. But it’s ok to have a hobby, for hobby’s sake. You don’t have to turn everything into a side hustle. It’s ok to enjoy knitting without opening an Esty shop.
Self care is not an excuse for procrastination.
Don’t use self care as an excuse for not doing what you need to do to make your life better. Taking time away from work to refocus is different than procrastination. Self care is about improving your life, even if that means tackling the hard stuff first. Self care is going to the gym when you don’t want to.
Self care is not doing (insert an activity) because you think you should but secretly hate it.
If meditation is not your jam, don’t do it. If yoga makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it. Just because the self care gurus say to do something doesn’t mean you should. If saying morning mantras doesn’t resonate with you, then don’t do it. Put the “self” back into self care. Figure out what works for you. What brings you joy and happiness and do more of that.
Self care is not being a dick when saying NO.
Self-care is not being a dick to people when you say NO. A simple NO is all you have to say. You don’t have to give people your sob story. And you don’t have to say the real reason you don’t want to go to your mom’s garden party is because Aunt Alice is a b*tch. Are you going to hurt your mom’s feelings when you say NO? Maybe, but you can be polite about it.