Redefining Self-Care

0
94
Photos of Sara Younger by Shira Shenberger

With Pesach around the corner, many of us are longing for a spare five minutes of relaxation.

That being said, the concept of self-care has become somewhat of a buzzword recently. Take the world’s bubbliest bubble bath to wash away your worries. Position yourself in downward dog for days to find your inner calm.

Although it’s true that raising awareness on the importance of self-care is in no way a negative thing, let’s take a closer look at the concept and what it actually means to embrace self-care. 

Society’s Bad Habit 

Society has a bad habit of taking something which already contains greatness in its simplicity and then glorifying it until it becomes blown out of proportion. We want that super simple hack, but on a whole other level. We want the easy muffin recipe, but we also want it to look like a rainbow unicorn cupcake. We want simple DIYs, but we also want the extra #allnatural ingredients, like matcha powder and hibiscus extract. And we want simple relaxation, but with fairy lights, candles, throw blankets, face masks, and Insta-worthy bath bombs. While there is nothing inherently wrong with anything on this list, in our attempt to simplify our lives, while also striving to perfect them, we have torn apart the concept of self-care.

Really, the point of self-care is that you’re able to take these breaks because they’re just part of your schedule and not because you wore yourself down to the point of no return, so that, now, you need a five hour bubble bath and a pack of tea lights to get you through the next week.

Why does looking after ourselves need to be this pretty, perfect, and elegant endeavor? On top of our already hectic, never-pausing days, why do we need to find the time to take the perfect #SelfCareSelfie?

Don’t get me wrong—I’m all for a bubble bath, a spa day, or a mental health weekend, and I love lighting a candle while I read my favorite book as much as the next girl, but we shouldn’t be treating self-care as if it’s this “trendy” endeavor. We should be concerned that our society feels the need to label and idolize the concept of doing basic things which make you happy, help you chill, and allow you to be the best you!

Looking after yourself shouldn’t be a “treat”; it should be a given, and it might not look as Instragrammable as you have been led to believe. In a world that’s obsessed with continuous hustle and grind, the idea of needing a break becomes a novel, idealistic notion which is treated as a luxury, when, truly, it is a necessity. Really, the point of self-care is that you’re able to take these breaks because they’re just part of your schedule and not because you wore yourself down to the point of no return, so that, now, you need a five hour bubble bath and a pack of tea lights to get you through the next week.

Fill Your Cup 

The concept of self-care is founded on the notion that you can’t pour from an empty cup. The truth is that filling up your cup might not mean a bubble bath. When push comes to shove, filling up your cup means putting your needs first—whatever that may look like.

And you shouldn’t need to wait for your cup to be empty before you refill it. Why is it such a struggle (it really is a struggle!) for us to be consistent with fulfilling our needs? Part of the problem is that we’re led to believe self-care is this glamorous venture that we actually don’t have time for!

In reality, self-care doesn’t fix our problems, and it doesn’t look a certain way. Yes, part of self-care is taking a timeout from the bustle of daily life, but we all know that lighting a candle isn’t going to solve our real and valid problems. Self-care lies in the (mostly unglamorous) tasks which fill our metaphorical cup. Those tiny actions which make us feel good, like we’ve got our life together. It might be grocery shopping, doing the laundry, making the bed, or just taking a much-needed 5 minute coffee break among all the Pesach prep. It is taking an extra long, hot shower to wash away the day’s events; it’s meal prepping every day so we actually eat; it’s going to the gym, or breathing a lungful of fresh air, or creating healthy boundaries in our relationships. These are the things that fill up our cup and are the essence of self-care…and it’s okay if they don’t jive with one’s Instagram aesthetic. 

Self-care lies in the (mostly unglamorous) tasks which fill our metaphorical cup. Those tiny actions which make us feel good, like we’ve got our life together.

At the end of the day, self-care is about finding ways to take better care of yourself. It isn’t necessarily the sparkly, stylized concept society tries to sell us. As athlete Katie Reed so eloquently put it, “Self-care means giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.” And this can mean something different to everyone. Looking after yourself isn’t always a pretty thing, but I can assure you—it feels just as good. 


LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here