Updated: Jun 19, 2021
If you rolled your eyes the minute you read the title, I’m right there with you. The words ‘Self Care’ elicit almost the opposite response they were intended to create. We have all watched cozy YouTube routines and sponsored Instagram posts about dousing yourself in a coffee scrub is how you care for yourself.
Yet, post the recurring argument with your parents or completely breaking down after having a gut-wrenching conversation with your partner, lighting a candle, and applying a face mask as you overthink, clearly doesn't feel too good. So, does self-care REALLY help, and if it does, how do I know if I’m doing it right? Am I doing too much or do I need to altogether just go back to, well - feeling bad?
Let me share my experience as a twenty-something adult, still trying to fully grasp what it means to be me and how that fits into this seemingly overwhelming thing called life.
The way you treat yourself is how you teach others to treat you
That’s the easiest way for me to understand ‘Self-Care’ and the practical application of it in my life.
Now if you were to take a moment right now and ask yourself, how you feel in this moment, the answer could range from great and okay to pathetic. The reason behind how you feel could be other people, something you did or didn't do, or mostly in my case how good my breakfast was (being a foodie has its own side effects).
This is because our general mood and long-term satisfaction in life are influenced by the quality of our relationships, the opportunities we give ourselves to act in our purpose, the ability to feel safe and loved, and finally our relationship with ourselves.
However, first and foremost it is the relationship we have with ourselves; who we think we are, what we deserve and how we cater to our own needs (especially being aware of them) that ultimately affects every other area of our life mentioned before.
That is why after repeated attempts at self-care that left a big mark on my pocket and a bigger mark on my sensitive skin from all the face masks I realized that pampering my body was not the way ‘I’ wanted to define Self Care for me and thankfully that led me down the path of asking myself a question that has impacted my life more than waking up at 5 am ever could.
The simple question is -
“What do I need to feel like my best self ?”
The answer has varied from a simple cup of chai (tea), a walk, and sometimes to be loved for exactly who I am. Yet it is in asking myself this question that I realized what I truly desire, is important to me, and what stands between me wanting something for myself yet not fully believing I was worthy of having it.
Now, this is where a lot of people lose interest in self-care because genuinely committing to caring for our own well being requires a change from us and also putting in the work of adopting habits, beliefs, company, and way of thinking that is more suited & aligned with what we truly desire. This means we have to let go of behaviors that are familiar, give a sense of safety yet, in the long run, are detrimental to our long term fulfillment in life.
We’re all aware of how tough that is right? Knowing exactly what we want and being responsible for our own selves. I’m not going to pretend it doesn’t feel tough, but looking back and even observing myself right now, supporting what we want with the behaviors that align with that vision is more unfamiliar than it is tough. Plus the way we treat ourselves during this phase of transition certainly doesn’t help.
If you’ve looked down upon yourself or felt guilty and frustrated for not being consistent, not acting how you decided, or not controlling your anger when that is what you planned, please stop. I say this with love, to you and myself:
Self Care is a Long Term Commitment, it is not a “quick abs in a week tutorial” on YouTube, and whatever habits, commitments, and decisions you will make for yourself are all aspirational.
So instead of beating yourself up the next time you ‘fall off-track’ remind yourself you’re doing this for the future you, expect yourself to fall, miss a day, have the same reaction, and allow for that to mean nothing about your self worth.
In all fairness, Self Care is a new concept, a majority of people live their lives unsatisfied and blaming everybody else for not figuring out an answer to a question only they can truly answer for themselves. So if you decide to practice even an iota of self-care you’re adding responsibility to an existing list and that takes work. Just like every other relationship in your life.
However what I can guarantee is how worth it all the effort is, when you see yourself, slowly but surely becoming the person you always wanted to be. Plus nothing beats the love and security you get from having a friend, the home you had been looking for all along right there inside of you.
Next time you come across a 5 AM morning routine, skip it without guilt if it's not for you, and instead play C’est La Vie by Khaled, you will thank me.
I’m rooting for you,
Written by - Shruti Dutta
Your mental health matters as much as your physical health. Don't hesitate to take a step towards your mental well-being. If you’re looking at talking to a professional, book your Initial Consultation with us on https://www.themoodspace.com/freeconsultation or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a step towards bettering your mental wellbeing because you deserve it