The concept of “self-care” has taken a spotlight in recent years, although the experience and need to take care of ourselves has been present forever. What is self-care and why, oh why is it so important?!

Self-care is subjective and unique to each individual (in my opinion). In a time in society where we experience the pressure to rise above and beyond, work to high expectations, maintain busy hours working for others in exchange for $$, in the hopes of us being able to afford the type of lifestyle we want in our off hours, all while balancing family responsibilities, etc… well, we NEED self-care to survive, let alone thrive.

Is self-care indulging in a meal or heading to the bar with friends after work for a drink or two? Is it taking time after a busy day to sit in silence and maybe listen to some favorite music or devoting time to decompress in a yoga class or high intensity workout? Maybe it’s going out for a walk? I think many could argue about some of these coping mechanisms, but in my opinion it depends on what you need in that moment — what your body requires and is seeking to find balance and ease in this chaotic world that we live in. Self-care is unique to YOU.

I once heard from someone in my previous profession as a school counselor that self-care is not just sitting around putting on one of those face masks or going out to get your nails done. For her, she was right — this type of self-care was menial and worthless, she required something else in her life to feel & experience growth. She argued that self-care was much deeper than just that. I did not disagree with her, because self-care can require more meaningful strategies for some, but I do strongly believe that self-care differs for each individual. For many, taking “me” time to sit quietly and throw on a face mask or head to the salon can qualify for self-care, just as much as heading to a therapy session or acupuncture or a massage or yoga class can, too. The bottom line is… each individual requires their own specific self-care routine because each individual experiences their own, unique journey in life. What is therapeutic for me, may not be therapeutic for you and vice versa.

Self-care allows us to step away from the worries of the past and the fears of the future and to take time in the present moment: To learn about ourselves, to reflect, to heal, and to nurture where we are at in our life’s journey. Self-care provides us with the opportunity to honor ourselves and regain our strength — to give ourselves a chance to recuperate.

So… how do you care for yourself? Take a moment here to reflect on a day where you may have been really struggling or feeling down. Were you able to tap into some healthy self-care strategies? Some unhealthy ones perhaps? Either way, reflect on what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. The goal is to find meaning in your outlet — a strategy that allows you to find peace. For me, decompressing with a face mask or sitting alone in a café with a pastry to reflect in silence does something for me that a therapy session would do for others. Self-care is unique and you owe it to yourself to discover some positive and healthy mechanisms in your own life, too. After all, with the daily responsibilities we are faced with, we not only require, but deserve to care for ourselves, too.

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