There has been a trend growing over the past year, and in 2018 it seemed to explode. It’s a trend that is based on positive principles, however, it has the potential to grow into a harmful habit.
The purpose of ‘self-care’ is rooted in principles that are designed to give us confidence, care, and comfort. However, as with most things, when social media and consumerism grasps a positive idea, more often than not, it turns it into a negative one.
So I thought I should start by explaining what self-care is. The way I explain self-care to clients is being purposeful in carving out ‘downtime’ alongside ‘uptime’. Downtime being something you would find relaxing, uptime being work, housework, achievements etc. However, the more we see on social media, this scale that is meant to be balanced has begun to shift to more harmful than helpful.
What does harmful self-care look like?
This is often found in consumerism. The idea that you should ‘treat yourself’ at every opportunity. Companies have begun to market their material to suggest that we can’t be healthy if we don’t buy ourselves everything we want. Financial pressure is real and harmful. If we base our happiness in external purchases we are lining ourselves up for more anxiety, not less
To ‘radically love yourself each day’
I am a firm believer in self-compassion, but once we set a standard to ‘radically’ love yourself each day, is an unachievable standard. The thought of carving out enough time to radically love myself each day, would mean that I wouldn’t have time to work. Self-compassion looks like cutting yourself some slack for making an error, allowing yourself some time to relax after a long work day, or even ensuring that you're eating at regular intervals and drinking enough water. The idea of radically loving yourself is setting the bar far too high. Life should go in peaks and troughs, and it is completely normal.
What does helpful self-care look like and how to apply it?
I help clients by moderating their self-care. Think of your mind and body having a battery meter. If you feel your battery meter is hitting a low percentage, ask yourself what you can do to bring the percentage back up. That’s it. Its all about balance. When your battery meter hits below 20%, that’s where insomnia, anxiety, and depression come in. For this week, take time to ask yourself what ‘percentage’ you are at and make a list of activities that would ‘recharge’ you. Ensure you look after the battery meter, and it will take care of you.
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Thank you for reading.