“Self Care” seems to be one of those buzzy phrases that has been showing up in the culture for a while now. Often it seems to be connected to some act of consumption–paying for a fancy haircut, or buying yourself flowers. While these things are great (don’t get me wrong, we all love a little pampering at the salon), it sort of misses the point. It perpetuates that idea that caring for oneself is something only accessible to those with money, and that an act of self care is an act of consumerism.
Radical self care isn’t about getting pedicures or buying the latest gold leaf laced face cream. It’s about doing the things that you need to do in order to be functioning at your best. And sometimes, it isn’t particularly fun. I swim three mornings a week because I need to do it for my body to feel functional. But when I’m pulling on my swimsuit at 6 am, I am definitely not in a state of bliss or joy. However, I know that after I swim I will feel energized, and my body will thank me. So I keep doing it as a gift to myself, a gift that requires effort.
Self care can manifest in many ways. It can be the act of saying “no” to yet another responsibility. It can be the act of saying “yes” to something that might take you outside your comfort zone. It can be giving yourself the gift of time–time to take a walk, or read a book, or just sit on the deck and breathe. It can be feeding your body with nourishing food, moving your body, or letting your body rest. It is the message we send to ourselves that we are worthy of care and nurturing, and that we are listening deeply to that inner voice that is letting us know every moment what we need.