Hello friends and thank you for joining me on this week’s episode of The Confidence Column. Today I’m going to be answering a question that came from a friend of mine (with her permission, of course.) Self-care has become such a buzz word over the last few years and her question basically was “what does that even mean??” For her, she struggles with what she is supposed to be doing for self-care. This is a question you’ve probably thought to yourself. “What can I do for self-care (now that the world is telling me I need to start doing more of it.) Everyone kinda blind sided us with this idea of more care for ourselves. “What are you doing for self-care? What’s self-care? You aren’t doing self-care? Girl, you gotta get on that self-care - so important.” Well if it’s so important why didn’t anyone teach me how to do it?? That’s why I’m here - your first lesson in proper self-care. I remember googling this term “self-care” to see so many articles that were titled “Top 5 Self-Care Activities You Can Try” and most of these lists had “get a massage” or “take a bubble bath” on them. Other examples I saw were “start a morning routine,” “cook yourself dinner five times a week,” or “start a gratitude journal.” Just to be clear, all of these are great forms of self-care. However, they aren’t good for everyone. You may not like getting naked and rubbed down by a stranger. So you tried getting a massage and it gave you anxiety or or afterwards, it didn’t really make you feel good. What if you’re not a morning person? A morning routine won’t feel like “care,” it’ll feel like torture. Are you not the greatest in the kitchen? Cooking for yourself, if you’re making not-so-tasty meals may feel like a punishment rather than caring for yourself. Of course, these are just tips on where you can get started, and there are plenty of sources online that can offer you list-on-list of what you can try.. Yes, I do think that self-care can be about taking extra care of your body in a way that you haven’t been doing. Massages, mani-pedis, facials, bubble baths - they can all put your physical body in a more relaxed state. As my friend was expressing her frustration to me, she was saying “I’ve done all that stuff and I still don’t feel any better, anymore cared for.” That’s because there is a component of self-care that is personal to you. Just like self-confidence, there is an element of its creation that has to come From You. And it’s definitely something more special then power poses or bubble baths. Let’s approach this from a different angle: All that I previously stated is a physical form of self-care. The other part of self-care is your emotional and mental state. So you’ve given extra attention to the body. What about the mind and the soul? This is why self-care can feel so unfulfilling. You’ve kept your self-care activities on the surface. How can you dig a little deeper into activities that actually bring YOU mental and emotional happiness? From this perspective, I can’t give you a list of things to try. I can ask you questions to help try and pull the answers outta you. What do you like to do that brings you joy? What are some activities you put to the side for more “productive” chores? What is a hobby you used to do and enjoy that you’ve dropped along the way? What are things you can do to help disconnect from your screens? Giving you screentime breaks Once you’ve answered these questions, you can begin assessing where in your life you can make time to incorporate them as part of your self-care routine. And they don’t need to be hella time consuming either! Let’s revisit the examples I shared at the beginning of the show: Maybe learning how to cook has been on your list of things to try for a long time. Instead of pressuring yourself into cooking for yourself 5 days a week, you say, “I’m gonna try to make one new recipe every two weeks. Maybe getting a massage isn’t your cup of tea but you do like the idea of stretching out your muscles more regularly so you say “I’m going to try a youtube yoga class once a week.” Maybe a whole morning routine sounds really overwhelming but you say “I’m going to stop hitting my snooze button 12 times a morning and wake up giving myself 30 extra minutes in the morning before I have to get ready for work.” These are just examples I used from the articles I read but you can choose activities that are totally fresh to you. Have you been trying to finish a book for the last 6months?
What if you put in your calendar, an hour of “self-care reading,” and you commit to showing up for that meeting. Try leaving the house to read at the park so you aren’t distracted and can finish the whole hour. Always wanted to start a garden? Start small (aka not overwhelming or a huge time commitment.) Grab a couple pots, maybe some starter plants (if you’re a beginner, they can be easier to grow than seeds,) and a small bag of soil, then play with them an hour over the weekend. If you used to do artsy things, draw, paint, even something like sculpting that you do with your hand, getting a coloring book and sitting down to color even just a little time in a week is beautiful self care for that side of your brain. It doesn’t need to be long periods of time, and that’s the great thing about a coloring book - you can start a picture and revisit it another time. (remember seeing all those adult color books a few years back...I believe this is why they became so popular.) At the end of the day, you get to choose your self-care. If you see an idea that looks fun but overwhelming, how can you bring it down a notch, like my cooking example? Your self-care is about YOU. If you’re trying all these suggestions and nothing actually feels like caring for yourself, sit down with these questions, maybe journal it out. Try something and if it doesn’t work, you have permission to try something else. And yes, these activities can morph and change over time. So if what you’ve been doing feels really stale, ask yourself these questions again! Change it up. There are only two really important guidelines of self-care Keep it off your screens Make time for it every single week Allow it to be time you reconnect back into your body - and your mind - and your soul. Put it in your calendar like you would an appointment you aren’t allowed to cancel. (if you feel like something’s come up and you can’t do your self-care in that time slot anymore, reschedule it for the same week. No cancelling!) And remember - make it an enjoyable experience. It outta feel good, like you’re caring for yourself.