SELF-CARE: A Blog in 2 Parts (Part One)
SELF-CARE PART 1: Myth-Busting
By Shelly Hogan MA, MEd, LMFT-Associate
As I reached for my favorite coffee cup this morning, I smiled to myself. Writing blogs is not typically my “thing”, but drinking coffee out of my favorite ‘S’ cup is – it brings me joy. I chuckled as I chanted, “S cup, S cup, coffee in my S cup.” (It had a dance too, well… more hand-movements than a dance, but you get the picture.) And then I realized it can be that simple. As simple as my ‘S’ cup. That’s self-care. Honoring what makes you you. Like a little celebration of yourself for yourself.
The idea of self-care is all over the place these days. It’s a buzz topic that seems to be the subject of a LOT of conversations. But what IS self-care, really? We know it’s supposed to be good for us, but how do we “do” self-care? I’ll start by illustrating what self-care could be for you by busting a few self-care myths.
Then be sure to stay tuned for SELF-CARE PART 2: Electric Boogaloo, where I’ll share my own personal recipe for self-care.
Myth: Self-care is selfish.
NOPE. (Ha. That may have been a little harsh. Let me try again.) Self-care is most assuredly not selfish. Think of it as self-sustaining. I’ll paint you a picture using cell phone language: self-care is like recognizing when your “battery” is low and then “charging” yourself back up. Our batteries get low sometimes – no matter what. Your battery gets low even if you’re happy, even if you’re in a great relationship, even if you just got a new job or promotion. No matter if we’re up, down, or anything in-between, we all need self-care. We need self-care to be able to show up and be our best selves for our friends, our partners, and our kids. Your brand of self-care is unique to you and specific to your needs at any given moment. Sure, you and your best friend may love having brunch together, and that could be self-care, but if your schedule is already tight this week and that 2- to 3-hour time block is the only free time you have (I’m factoring in travel and wait time in Austin), it might be worth it to ask yourself the question, “Is this what I need right now?”
Myth: Self-care is exercise and meditation.
Sure, exercise and meditation could be someone’s self-care, probably a lot of somebodies’ self-care. Without a doubt. (Might even be yours!) Research has proven time and time again the benefits of both exercise and meditation for an individual’s mental and physical well-being. However, if you’re time-crunched each day and waking up at 5am to work out seems like the biggest chore in the world, that may not be your brand of self-care. Likewise, the mere idea of sitting in “silence” may stir up a list of all those things you have yet to do today. Let’s be honest, meditation is a practice. It takes time and patience and may not come naturally to everyone at first. Maybe your moment is sitting outside listening to the cicadas. Maybe it’s taking an evening walk when it cools down. Maybe it’s floating in the pool with the warm sun on your face. There’s no denying that movement is good and mindfulness is good, but the point of self-care is that it feels good to you.
Myth: Self-care is expensive.
Spa days and mani/pedis and shopping can be a way that some people care for themselves. But only if that resonates with that certain individual and they have the funds to do so. After all, racking up credit card debt with a shopping spree doesn’t really fit within the self-care vibe. You might notice the joy from purchasing an item tends to be fleeting; it just doesn’t seem to last that long. Yet, we all like to get a new article of clothing or new gadget from time to time, so when can it be self-care? I’ll give you a scenario: for instance, if you buy that new shirt and it fits you like no other, puts a spring in your step, and makes you feel extra good each time you wear it? THAT is the feeling we’re going for. Self-care for you could be as simple as wearing your favorite shirt.
Let me tell you a secret… you ready? Self-care can be ANYTHING you want it to be! It’s just as unique and awesome and beautiful and stellar as you are.
Be sure to stay tuned for SELF-CARE PART 2: Electric Boogaloo – A Self-Care Recipe, where I spill the beans on how you can discover your own methods of self-care. Until then, you just might find yourself exploring the possibilities of what exactly self-care could be (and mean) for YOU.
If you’d like to chat, you can drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to reach out for a free phone consult with myself or one of our other fabulous therapists at Austin STRONG: Relationship Building Center.