Do you roll your eyes at the phrase “self-care?” You’re not alone. We don’t all have time for bath bombs and face masks—and even if we did, how are they really supposed to solve our problems?
The truth is: real self-care is crucial for our well-being, and it goes way beyond those Instagrammable bubble baths.
Self-Care Is a Need, Not a Want
Let’s get one thing straight: self-care is anything but selfish.
It’s easy to put your own well-being on the back burner, especially if you notoriously overextend yourself, but prioritizing yourself is necessary. The more you don’t believe you deserve it, the more you definitely do.
Self-care is not a luxury. It’s a preservation method. How are you supposed to continue being a functioning human if you never check in with yourself?
That’s where self-care comes in. Ultimately, it boils down to taking care of yourself (mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually). Forget the whole “take care of yourself so you can take care of others” idea. Self-care isn’t about anybody else. It’s about how you deserve better than neglect.
What If I Don’t Have Time for Self-Care?
There are a million and one reasons why you might not have time for typical self-care practices. Maybe you’re swamped with work deadlines or juggling the responsibilities of a single parent. When you do catch a minute to breathe, something else comes up. It can feel impossible to squeeze anything in for yourself.
Here’s the good news: self-care does not have to be time-consuming. In reality, it’s often about doing things you should be doing anyway. So what’s the difference between self-care and chores? Intent.
Rather than framing tasks as things you have to do, consider them things you deserve to do. More on this later.
A quick glance at artist Hannah Daisy’s Instagram reminds us that self-care practices aren’t always exciting. Honestly, they’re often boring. Most are just activities we need to do day-to-day to get by. Some are easy to forget, others can seem impossibly hard, and many will make you feel much, much better.
This can look vastly different from person to person, depending on your circumstances. For someone experiencing a depressive period, merely brushing your teeth or changing out of your pajamas can be self-care. For someone who’s always on the go, self-care may be a mindfulness practice while you shower or letting a call go to voicemail.
So What Does Real Self-Care Look Like?
True self-care can take on various forms depending on your own needs. Essentially, it’s about engaging in practices that help you look after yourself. So what does this look like in real life?
Nourish Your Body
Nourishing yourself isn’t limited to eating kale and drinking green tea (though we do love both). Many times, it’s about just eating something. Aim for three meals a day, keep snacks on hand, and don’t forget to drink your water. You need to fuel up!
Nourishment isn’t limited to food. Intuitively move your body, pay attention to your breath, and stimulate your brain. You deserve movement. You deserve calmness. You deserve creativity. Oh, and meaningful connection? Alone time? Yup, you deserve those too.
Protect Your Energy
Even machines don’t hold endless amounts of energy. Neither do you! When many things require your attention and care, it’s easy to spread yourself too thin.
The thing is, the world doesn’t revolve around you, and we’re grateful that it doesn’t. This isn’t to say you don’t matter. It’s to say you’re not the only person who can tackle those tasks on your plate. Ask for help when you need it. Try delegating. Stay home when you need the rest.
Most importantly, remember that others can handle a “no,” and you should practice saying it. Boundaries are uncomfortable at first, but they make the world go ‘round.
Some days, you may eagerly follow your meticulous seven-step skincare routine, but other days, it may be a struggle just to apply deodorant. Hey, that’s life.
Either way, hygiene matters. Next time you feel like showering is impossible, try reframing it like this: “I deserve to be clean.” Because you do. You deserve fresh bedsheets, a tidy environment, and a good night’s sleep.
Practice your boring self-care not because you have to, but because you deserve to.
Nail Down a Routine
Maintaining a consistent routine can take a lot of stress off life’s unpredictability. Plus, it can help you soar through the day even when your head isn’t in it.
You don’t need to reinvent your schedule to become your dream self. It’s probably best if you don’t! After all, the best routine is one you can stay committed to while still meeting your needs.
You may even set different routines for low-energy and high-energy days. Pro tip: checklists, timetables, and calendars may help!
Get the Hard Things Out of the Way
You know those dreadful tasks that sneak into your mind and keep you up at night? Completing those is a huge (and highly underrated) aspect of self-care. It’s daunting but doable, and you’ll feel so much better once that weight lifts.
So, schedule that appointment. Peek at your bank account. Have that tough conversation. Just do it, even if that’s the only goal you accomplish all day. Then do something nice for yourself as a treat.
Indulge a Little
Just because self-care doesn’t need to be luxurious doesn’t mean it can’t be. We all need to stray from our norm to reward ourselves at times. Whether that looks like sleeping in a little too late, booking a hot-stone massage, or paying the extra few dollars for delivery, you can enjoy indulgent self-care too.
Self-care doesn’t always come in the form of shareable, glamorous moments. Instead, it often feels insignificant, difficult, and, well, boring. No matter what form your self-care takes, it stems from a need, and tending to yourself is never selfish—ever.