What is Self-Care, Really?

Self-care is a phrase that has been spread across social media platforms, advertisements, and likely, your therapist’s office. But what does self-care actually mean?

Self-Care can look different for everyone.

Self-care is not always bubble baths and candles, but it could be! Self-care is simply the practice of taking care of oneself. It is the practice of making time for your needs and giving yourself the space you need. Self-care could be reading a book, decluttering a space that has been bothering you, or simply watching a Netflix show.

Self-Care does not require you to buy that expensive moisturizer from Tik-Tok.

There has been an influx of advertisements trying to sell you expensive products as a form of self-care. Do you love skincare? Amazing! Treating yourself can definitely be a form of self-care. However, know that you do not need to spend money in order to practice self-care. The book that you bought six months ago that you haven’t had time to start could do just fine.

How do I know what self-care looks like for me?

This is a great question! Where to begin? Self-care can be a great time to discover your interests, pick up a new hobby, or make time to talk to that friend you’ve been missing. Here are a few ideas to allow your brainstorming to begin:

Organize your space
Organized spaces help to regulate our thoughts and invite us to feel calm. Organizing a space that you have been ignoring could make you feel better.
Take a nap
Sometimes what our bodies need is uninterrupted time to rest. Nothing else- just peace and quiet.
Call a friend
Catching up with an old friend or de-stressing with someone you love could be a great form of self-care. Feeling supported and having a space to share our thoughts can be cathartic. On the other hand, talking to a friend about the drama on the show you both watch could work, too.
Treat Yo’ Self
Is that gift card that you got from Grandma last Christmas still in the bottom of your bag? You deserve to take yourself shopping once in a while. Or maybe you haven’t had your favorite meal in a while. Treat Yo’Self!

Self-care is about your needs. Your needs may be different than your neighbor’s, and that’s okay! Take the time to give yourself what you need. This week, your body may need that extra hour of sleep. Next week, you may need time to unwind with a friend. I challenge you to take at least an hour each week to figure out what self-care really means to you.

Written by Hannah Swarm, SWT