I love talking about self-care. It’s one of my favorite topics and one of the reasons is that I love that it’s such a broad topic and also that it’s different for everyone.
But I think the biggest reason is that while it seems so simple and obvious – self-care was not obvious to me growing up.
I was raised in a single-parent, low-income, household. I remember Christmases where our presents were dropped off by charities or churches. Standing in a line so that we could get free coats for the winter. We struggled as a family. But what I remember the most is how tired and worn down my mom was all of the time. Like, all of the time.
The only time I ever saw her relax and enjoy herself was when she was with a boyfriend.
Somewhere in my head, I began to associate real happiness with being loved by someone else. You couldn’t have one without the other.
When I moved out on my own and discovered self-care – the thought of filling your day with things you loved or intentionally relaxing – was alien to me.
I went to work, I watched tv, I slept, I waited for Prince Charming. That’s when I would be happy right? That’s when I’d get to try new things and go on adventures and have someone to laugh with.
But learning that I could do kind and loving things for myself just to make myself happy and feel loved? That changed my life.
A few days ago, I posted that “Sometimes self-care is Netflix, pajamas, and popcorn” and how I was so excited to start Bridgerton (I’m currently four episodes in so no spoilers!).
I received a message that asked me not to portray self-care in that way because self-care was much more than Netflix and that “self-care culture” was ruining the true meaning of what self-care is.
I deleted the message and tried to move on with my day but it got under my skin. For me to intentionally put my phone down, to turn off work, to free myself of responsibility for a few hours, to get in my jammies and make popcorn and be present while I’m watching something? It doesn’t happen as often as it should.
I work all the time. I have trouble taking breaks and letting myself rest. I feel like I always have to be “on”. (Even though I know better!) I am the queen of multitasking, most of the time when I watch tv – I’m simultaneously doing something else. Netflix and popcorn was my self-care that day and I delighted in every moment.
I don’t care what your self-care looks like day-to-day.
I just care that you do it and that you’re making time for things that make you feel good or are good for you.
Self-care is different for everyone and that’s okay.
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LOVE that you acknowledge that self-care looks different from one person to the next and also from day to day for ourselves. Netflix and popcorn was complete self-care for you on that day because that’s what your mind and body needed. And on another day, your self-care may look the same or look different. As a licensed clinical social worker, I THANK YOU for all your posts, don’t get discouraged by the more critical messages from people and know that you are doing amazing work by sharing your creative and fun art images and blogs that promote mental health supports, education, and healthy self-care ideas.