A pretty trendy buzzword these days is “self-care.”When we check any of our social media accounts, it is not uncommon to see posts of friends having dinner, a solitary glass of wine, scenic nature photos, or simply a cup of coffee with the hashtag #selfcare.
In fact, if you check Instagram, you will see that there are more than 23 million public posts with a #selfcare usage. Self-care has even become a marketing ploy, especially to the health and wellness industry.
Since the term “self-care” has become huge and blurry, it has become difficult to trace back its core and why it is necessary. The consumer side of self-care emphasized retail therapy, expensive vacations, spa treatments, and the likes.
However, self-care is more than just “treating yourself” with nice things. Though they are part and parcel of self-care, genuine self-care goes beyond that.
History of the Term Self-Care
It may seem like the furthest thing on our minds, but according to an article in Mashable, this whole self-care movement should be credited to the Greek philosopher Socrates.
Accordingly, self-care is never about pampering one’s self. It is putting effort into examining and improving one’s self to serve the world better. After all, as the saying goes, you can never give what you never have.
The article went on further to explain that Ancient Greek history talks so much about self-care. How the Greeks emphasize this even resonates today.
One speech by Socrates, allegedly made during his last days, pointed out how the citizens of Athens had devoted all their care to fleeting matters like reputation, wealth, and honor. Rather than these worldly things, care should be devoted to truth, reason, and the never-ending pursuit of improving one’s soul.
Though the self-care definition has somehow changed from one form to another over centuries, it essentially boils down to becoming the best version of ourselves to be of better service to humanity.
Self-Care: What Is It
Behind the myriad marketing ploy of how self-care is defined, it all boils down to the deliberate acts we do that show grace, compassion, and care that we have for ourselves.
Self-care continues to be multi-faceted. Acts of self-care could range from the typical shopping spree or spa day that we know to push ourselves to learn new things and develop new skills. Nonetheless, though a warm bath and a massage could give temporary relief from stress, genuine self-care calls for effort and dedication.
Real self-care involves efforts to resolve inner conflicts, fostering positive self-talks, and awareness of one’s inner dialogs, feelings, and actions.
How You Can Discover the Real Meaning of Self-care
As mentioned, everyone has a different habit of practicing self-care. But to be able to practice self-care authentically, here are some points you need to consider:
1. Self-care vs. Self-soothing
All these marketing schemes make us think self-care is the same as self-soothing. Businesses highlight alcohol, spa experiences, luxurious travels, and other consumer-oriented products or services as a way to relieve stress.
But the essence of genuine self-care has nothing to do with goods or services at all. Real self-care starts from within ourselves. It is about creating a sense of calm and of self to become a better version.
2. Setting a Routine
Self-care is about following a set of routine behaviors and activities that continues to promote self-betterment.
It includes getting enough sleep, maintaining healthy communication, exercising, choosingnatural beauty products, nurturing social connections, and following a healthy diet plan.
3. Monitoring Your Health
Self-awareness is a key component of self-care. Each day, try to ask yourself questions like “Was I able to get enough sleep last night? Was I able to eat right? Have I been physically active these days?”
Monitor your health. Stay away from activities that are detrimental to it. Quit smoking. Embrace a healthy lifestyle.
4. Reflection & Meditation
In this capitalist society, we tend to equate self-care with that “treat yourself” mentality. We equate blowing off cash to feel good. Though it feels nice being pampered at times, it does not fill the emptiness we feel inside at the end of the day.
Authentic and helpful self-care is by no means tied up with spending money or always feeling good. Take time to reflect on what it is that you value in life. Once you have an idea about your needs, it becomes easier to point out what self-care activities suit you.
Remember, genuine self-care is not selfish, expensive, a fad, and the same for everyone. It is not even something to be guilty about. So, take time, discover, and learn how to apply authentic self-care in your life.