What Self-Care Isn't
Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Written for Grampa's Garden email newsletter with more than 10,000 subscribers. 2/5/2020
In offering our readers an article on “self-care,” we struggled to find a way not to repeat tired clichés, not to regurgitate the top ten ways to escape your life. At Grampa’s Garden, we are all in favor of warm baths and DIY spa days. In fact, we take pride in our full line of natural products to help you breathe the stress away with aromatherapy or knead the worries out with home massage oils. (See below for links to some great deals.) But we want to offer you more, maybe a fresh way to look at what self-care is by looking at what self-care isn’t.
Self-care is not selfish.
You’ve heard that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Self-care is about replenishing our own resources, filling our own cup, without depleting someone else’s. Some of us still feel guilty when we say “No.” to a favor that we don’t have time for or to an event that will stress us out. “‘No’ is a complete sentence,” implying that no other explanation is required. But if you’re not comfortable leaving it there, try saying, “No, I have another commitment,” even if, and perhaps especially if, that commitment is to yourself.
Self-care is not about escaping from our stressful life.
Self-care is about creating a life that we don’t need to escape from. Learning what we need to be healthy and fulfilled on a day-to-day basis is the kind of caring for ourselves that allows us to show up in our lives with more clarity and satisfaction. It becomes woven into the daily fabric of the meaningful lives we are creating.
Self-care is not about indulging.
Self-care is about treating ourselves with kindness, giving ourselves what we most need to be healthy, happy, and whole. It is not an excuse to rationalize behavior or choices that don’t serve us. Mindfully enjoying a piece of chocolate cake can be a healthy choice for many. Binging on a whole box of cookies just isn’t. While it doesn’t serve us to beat ourselves up if we do eat the whole box, it doesn’t serve us any better to tell ourselves that we did it in the name of “self-care.”
Self-care is not just for women.
Do any Google search for self-care (which we did), and you will find an overwhelming number of commercialized suggestions in the form of products and services marketed toward women with overt messages that women are in more need of “self-care” than others because of the many roles they juggle and people for whom they care all day long. If self-care is about creating a holistic life where our spiritual, physical, and emotional lives are in balance, then no one is in more need than another. It is a way of life that we aspire to as human beings of all genders, ages, and walks of life.
© 2020 Shira Firestone