Self-care has become a buzzword. It seems like everyone on social media is talking about possible ways to care for yourself and how important it is. But just like everything else that is popular, self-care is now a product that companies try to sell to those of us who are stressed or overwhelmed or simply want to avoid burnout. So I decided to share with you “the truth” about self-care that I have come to realize in my practice and in my personal life that has helped me improve my own routine and hopefully will help you as well.

Self-care should benefit you long-term

It is not a quick fix. To prevent burnout or even help yourself deal with anxiety/depression it’s important to create a solid routine. You can think of it as a number of practices that you can do every day to help you feel grounded and more relaxed (or energized). It will take time for those practices to become habits that will in turn transform your life.

Doing something only once is most likely not going to make a difference, especially if you are dealing with issues that took time to occur in the first place. Setting realistic goals and always remembering why you started will help you stay motivated.

Self-care is not always pleasant

I think media has really mastered the art of presenting caring for yourself as something fancy, relaxing, and often luxurious. As many posts are aimed at selling products there’s no wonder that the term “self-care” has become a synonym for pleasure and enjoyment. But honestly, it’s often far from that. Self-care is a commitment to take care of yourself. It can be regular exercise, eating more greens, and even going to therapy. These things are not necessarily pleasant and exciting but they help you make sure you are preventing burnout or physical and mental pain.

This is not to say that your daily rituals will not be enjoyable at all. Once you start seeing the results of your hard work you will feel more inspired to show up for yourself every day. Your mindset is important! Think of your rituals as a toolbox to help you achieve your goals and live your best life.

It can be difficult to find time for

Self-care is all about building healthy habits. It takes time and dedication. Caring for yourself isn’t about treating yourself with SPA once a month, although it can be relaxing and fun, it’s about taking some time out of your day in order to do the work.

Yes, you should schedule your “caring” practice. Always plan ahead, as it’s so easy to get distracted and forget. Don’t make it the last item in your priority list but rather the most important one. Prioritize things you tend to forget about the most. For example, drink a glass of water. It may sound simple, but “simple”, yet important, aspects of life are often neglected.

Taking care of yourself doesn’t need to cost any money

Like I’ve already said more often than not self-care is presented as something that can be bought. However, it doesn’t mean that it should be. There are so many things we can do for ourselves that don’t cost any money. Think daily walks, progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness, and much more. You don’t need expensive candles and bath bombs to relax.

Of course, there are many great resources that help with learning something like meditation and yoga. Therapy/counseling can also be a wonderful self-care practice. So if you can, by all means, invest in yourself. But what I want you to remember is that there are free options as well.

Think about your unique needs

Sometimes lists of self-care ideas can make you feel like there’s nothing to choose from, that you don’t enjoy anything that’s been presented but honestly there is no self-care practice that will fit everyone. You are your own unique person, and your likes and dislikes should be taken into consideration while choosing your form of self-care. If you don’t like baths, don’t take them. Maybe you like painting or collecting stamps, or walking with your dog brings you joy. Anything that takes your mind off daily problems and stress is self-care.

Many of us struggle with knowing ourselves and what we enjoy. If that’s you, spend some alone time and learn to listen to your inner voice. Try not to feel discouraged if it’s taking a while. Being patient with yourself is also a form of self-care.

~ Tren

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