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What’s Really Real About Self-Care

By Lawna Gamble (CAC, MA, MNO)

“Self-care” has become a trendy thing in the age of Coronavirus and social media solutions. In the wake of recent social unrest, curiosity circles the notion with people asking a myriad of questions like what it is, why is it important, isn’t it the same as self-help, is it synonymous with self-love, and on and on. Hopefully with its surge in popularity, we will start to see that it really is not complex at all. This article will not answer those questions but will in fact remind you that finding activities that support your growth and groundedness may be closer than you think. Here are 5 self-care lessons you probably learned in kindergarten but just forgot:

1. A daily ritual can be grounding. It does not need to be complicated by any means but having one small daily ritual can help add a bit of much-needed calm to any hectic day. Try sitting down with your morning cup of java, taking a couple deep breaths after you fasten your seat belt, finishing the song playing on your speaker before getting out of the car, or changing clothes after you get home from work. Little things [that we don’t think about] can go along way.

2. You need to explore your feelings. Adults’ feelings matter. Being mature is not about suppressing our feelings, but healthily exploring them instead. It is good to practice asking ourselves not only what we are feeling but why before the feeling gets too big.

3. Being yourself is a valid goal. No matter who you are, there will always be naysayers, critics, and haters. Those types may get under your skin, but you cannot allow other people to determine who you ought to be. Give yourself permission and freedom to be authentically and unapologetically yourself. Spend less time worrying about what others are doing and instead focus on whatever is right for you. One size does not fit all.

4. You have the right to change your mind. A lot of people look at changing your mind as a character flaw, but it is a necessity. We are consistently gaining new information about every facet of our lives. It would be reckless not to tweak things or change direction as you gather more information.

5. It pays to speak positively to yourself. Drop the negative feedback loop you acquired on your way to adulthood. Sometimes the negativity slips in just because we are taught that thinking highly of ourselves is arrogant. Paradoxically, the more grown up we become the harder we are on ourselves. Cancel the negative thoughts or words you say aloud and replace them with gentler ones, literally. This may shift your mindset into a happier place and even put a smile on your face.

In other words…if it feels wrong don’t do it, say precisely what you mean, don’t be afraid to say yes or no, trust your instincts, never speak poorly of yourself, let go of what you cannot control, stay away from drama and negativity, and most of all…love…on you first. If you can manage doing any one of these things consistently, then self-care will not be a fleeting trend in your life.

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