In a time when the term “self-care” is plastered on advertising campaigns for bath bombs or skin remedies, it can feel like in order to achieve self-care, we must spend money, set aside large amounts of time, and feel guilty if we’re not practicing it. In order to debunk these beliefs around self-care, it is important to adjust our relationship to it.
Self-care does not need to cost large amounts of money, take up large amounts of time, or be something that we check off of a list. At the route of it, self-care consists of self-implemented strategies and practices that increase our well-being, decrease stress, and maintain a well-balanced and regulated life.
...it can feel like in order to achieve self-care, we must spend money, set aside large amounts of time, and feel guilty if we’re not practicing it
With this messaging from advertising campaigns and wellness brands, there is an expectation and pressure to have a “self-care routine”. If we don’t, then we’re doing something wrong. This pressure can then create its own stress. The aim of this blog post is to help people to begin adjusting their relationship to what self-care is, to begin reflecting on what individual self-care practices can be created and maintained for each person, and to relieve the pressure we may feel to practice self-care a certain way.
Implementing self-care into your daily life is something to be done with a bottom-up approach as opposed to a top-down approach. This means that we want self-care to be a part of our lives fundamentally – the structure our life is built on, as opposed to having it be something we pepper in when we feel like we can or because we feel like we should. While having a bubble bath once a week or buying the latest pampering materials feels good and relaxing (and may be a part of your self-care routine), if we only rely on these strategies to implement self-care, it means that we may be approaching burnout or elevated stress in other parts of our lives.
How do we structure our lives with the fundamentals of self-care? It will look differently for everyone. A place to start is to recognize what your limits are in life and what brings you purpose and meaning. Take some time to reflect on some of these questions:
How many hours a day can you spend on work tasks before feeling overly exhausted?
How many breaks in your workday do you need in order to remain focused?
What is the ideal amount of time spent with other people during your week?
What brings you energy in your day?
What passion/hobby/interest do you have and when can you create time for it in your week?
What morning routine helps you get the most out of your day?
What nighttime routine helps you get the most out of your sleep?
What boundaries might you need to set with other people to help you feel more balanced and at peace?
All or none of these questions may have resonated with you. They may have given you an idea of what you need to implement into your week for self-care to be a part of the fundamental structure of your life. Your self-care is unique to your needs. It is not a big company’s role to tell you what you must do to practice self-care.
Perhaps you are already practicing self-care by setting up your work schedule the way that works for you, by going for a walk a few times a week, by not checking your emails the second you wake up, by starting your day with your favourite breakfast, by watching your favourite show in the evening. These practices are setting you up to have a well-balanced and fulfilling day. They are not something you have to check off a list, they are things that are a part of your day and week that are right for you. So, I encourage you to set aside some time to reflect on what your needs are and what self-care means for you and your own routine.
Do you have any feedback/questions on this article? Feel free to leave a comment and let us know. We'd love to continue learning with you :)