The type of self-care that I’m referring to in the title is the type that infuriates me the most, and alas, it’s the most popular one to appear across a variety of social media platforms. It’s the aesthetic type that involves heavily filtered images and more so, videos with individuals bathing in water full of scented bubbles, and a face mask to accompany it.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like all those beautifully scented bath bombs and moisturising face masks, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of TLC, there never has been. But, for me, problems arise when this is the only visible way that self-care seems to exist.
As a child, this type of self-care used to make me cringe to the point where I neglected it as a whole, I was severely burnt out the majority of the time, sleep-deprived and wholly focused on academia. In a way, it broke me.
To this day, I still suffer from the consequences of self-inflicted pain. Trust me, it’s not pretty.
If this type of self-care doesn’t work for you, then know that you’re not alone, there’s recently been a rise in the understanding that self-care is not pretty, or aesthetically pleasing or, in fact, easy to do. If you struggle with regular self-care like me, then stop thinking what self-care should be, or what society markets or tells you to believe it is, and go back to basics.
Self-care literally means to care for the self, if you keep this reminder in the back of your mind, and know that self-care is for no-one but you, it’ll become easier to do what works for you, to do what you need to do to recover from a long workday, or week, to get back on track after being in a slump or even just treat yourself to extra love every now and again.
There are times when self-care for me is not an early morning full of already accomplished goals, but an extra 2 hours of sleep. It’s not living off of salad and smoothies, but stuffing myself with takeout meals, and at times, desserts. It’s not bottling up my emotions and faking a smile in front of everyone, but crying when I feel sadness or sorrow, happiness or joy, anything at all. It’s not being in the company of toxic people as much as you may want them, but it’s about letting them so you can survive and thrive.
Self-care isn’t always what it looks like, it’s not always surface level deep. it’s about self-forgiveness, self-understanding, peace, happiness and most importantly, balance.
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