I bet you see it in your social media feeds every day. People sharing pictures of their yoga classes, essential oil collections, and nature walks. All under the heading (and the hashtag) “self-care.”
But what about those self-care shots that make your Instagram feed look more like a website from a 5-star resort than a typical Monday afternoon?
It’s easy to see someone else’s images “self care” as long walks on the beach and extravagant getaways and think to yourself, “who does that, really?”
But images like that show up under hashtags like #SelfCareSaturday all the time. And it gives you the impression that “self-care” means 24/7 nature walks, bubble baths, and yoga retreats.
Not that there’s anything wrong with those things! But does it have to be massages, champagne wishes, and caviar dreams to qualify as quality YOU time?
Here’s the deal. “Self-care” doesn’t have to be extravagant. It doesn’t have to take all day. And most of all–having your own self-care practice does NOT mean you’re selfish.
A solid self-care practice can actually save you from exhaustion, burnout, and resentment. It can bring more peace, balance, and joy to your life. And there is nothing remotely selfish about that.
Today I’m going to debunk a few myths about self-care, and show you why it’s so important to a healthy, balanced, beautiful life!
First, I’m going to clarify what self-care is. Then I’m going to share why pop-culture images of self-care don’t tell the whole story.
Then we’ll talk about why taking time for you isn’t selfish. (In fact, it’s necessary!) And that no matter how crazy your life is, you do have a moment or two for YOU.
Ready to make self-care a new way of life, without excessive time, money, or guilt? Let’s dive into some serious YOU time right here!
Let’s start by taking on two major myths that might be keeping you out of the self-care game.
First, there’s the idea that if it’s not a walk on the beach, a trip to the day spa, or hours in a hot tub, it “doesn’t count.” (Go big or go home, as they say…)
Then, there’s the other side of the coin.
Some people portray “me time” as indulging in champagne, chocolates, and vast quantities of food. It’s got to be excessive and luxurious, or forget it.
Now, don’t get me wrong–if you have the time for a long walk on the beach or a trip to the day spa, that’s fantastic! And there’s nothing wrong with a little celebratory food and drink once in a while, either.
But neither of those things define “self-care.” Not even close.
Self-care means just that–taking care of yourself! Meeting your needs. No more, no less.
And believe it or not, it’s one of the more necessary things in life. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most overlooked.
Many of us are taught to put everything and everyone ahead of ourselves. And it’s easy to believe that if you ever put yourself first, you’re shirking responsibilities. And letting people down.
But self-care is not selfish. It’s self-preserving. And denying your needs in favor of everyone else’s doesn’t do anyone any favors.
Not that this is always easy to accept…
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, you’re climbing the corporate ladder, or you’re building an empire, you’re busy. You have places to go, things to do, and people who count on you. And taking care of your own needs might feel like a luxury that you just can’t afford.
But what if I told you that when it comes to taking care of you, you can’t afford NOT to have a little YOU time?
Let me explain…
You might believe that if you take a few moments out of your day to revive, the sky is going to fall. You’ll lose time at work, with the kids, and the with people who need you. (Push all the guilt buttons that apply here…)
So what do you end up doing? You go through your day on autopilot, pushing through, getting it done, never pausing to recharge.
And the longer you stay in overdrive, the more stuck in your head you get. That leaves you disconnected from your body and out of touch with your center.
Before you know it, you crash and burn. Over time this can lead to exhaustion, burnout, and–worst of all–resentment.
But what if the key to letting go of all that guilt, supporting your needs, and doing right by everyone in your life was simple acts of self-love?
Let me give you an example of how focusing on your needs ultimately works wonders for you and for everyone in your life!
Take me, for instance. Over the years, I’ve become pretty clear on what I require. I need connection. I need partnership, friendship, and happy relationships. I also need play time, fun time, and recovery time.
But my needs actually go much deeper than that…
I also crave significance and purpose. Building a thriving business and serving the people I was meant to serve is everything to me. And doing what I do for others not only benefits their lives, but it brings me endless joy.
So the coolest part is that when I meet my own needs, it serves more than just me. The care that I give myself expands to include my family and friends, my community, and ultimately the world!
And here’s the cool part–meeting my needs doesn’t necessarily require a week-long vacation or a spa day. In fact, I can give myself what I need to be my best self at any time, anywhere. And it only takes (literally) a moment to do it!
Self-care comes down to pausing for a moment, and asking yourself a simple question…
How am I feeling right now? And what do I need right now to support me in this moment?
Back in the day, I would push through my workday no matter how I was feeling. And you can imagine where that landed me–with a soul-crushing case of burnout.
But ever since I discovered this simple technique, I’ve worked in self-care every day, and literally in minutes!
Not only has it made my life more peaceful (and productive!) moment-to-moment, but it’s also helped me manage the toughest moments in life with more ease and grace.
My number one self-care hack is simply to be here now. Connect to yourself. And ask yourself what you need to support you in this moment. And then act accordingly to give yourself a little love!
So what kinds of answers do you get when you check in with yourself? It could be different on any given day.
Maybe the thing you need the most in the moment really is a massage or a bubble bath. (If you’ve got the time, go for it!)
Then again, your saving grace might be a one-minute reconnection meditation, a one-sentence affirmation, or a 30-second dance break. It could be stepping outside for a (literal) moment in the sun, or slow, deep breath.
Mini-breaks like these show you just as much love as a long walk on the beach–and they’re a lot easier to fit into the daily schedule!
Those short and sweet pick-me-ups can pull you back from the edge even in the most challenging moments, too.
When you’re feeling sad, upset, or panicked, the first instinct is a quick-fix. Some sort of escape, like plopping in your bed and scrolling mindlessly on Social Media. Maybe even attempting to chase the stress away with food. We’ve all been there and done that.
But let’s be clear–that is not self-care. It’s numbing and diversion. And it’ll only make things worse, in the end.
Even if you’re super stressed and eyeball deep in overwhelm, you can still ask yourself that magical question I shared above. And sometimes asking the question alone is enough to cut the stress response and bring you back to your center.
This little trick works when you’re feeling peaceful. It works when your stress is off the chain. And it works because it adjusts itself to what you need, not to someone else’s idea of self-care.
So if you’ve ever thought that self-care is a luxury that is out of your league in every way imaginable, remember that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It doesn’t have to take all afternoon. And you are totally worthy of receiving a little love from yourself!
So make self-care a part of your day, and keep it simple! Start by taking at least one moment each day to pause, breathe deeply, and ask yourself what you need in order to feel like your best self.
Do this every day…and watch what happens!
If you’re ready to make self-care a part of your everyday life, but you’re not sure where to begin, I’ve got just the thing that’ll help you get your journey back to yourself going!
My free Holiday Eating Survival Series will set you up for a holiday season full of self care and time spent being present with the ones you love instead of focussing on food stress and fear of weight.
I hope that I’ve given you some inspiration to make giving yourself a bit of love an everyday thing!
So how do you feel about self-care? Is it easy for you to take a moment for yourself, or do the guilt and fear usually keep you sidelined?
Today I invite you to choose one simple thing you can do to show yourself some love!
So take a few moments, and think of one thing you can do to pause, reboot, and revive. Then share your thing (or things!) in the comments!
Maybe your short and sweet pick-me-up idea will inspire someone else–so let’s start a chain of positive intentions and self-love in the comments below!