Sometimes (okay, most of the time), we get so busy in life and side-tracked by all our deadlines and responsibilities that we forget about ourselves—how we are feeling and what we want and deserve. This is where the rising concept of “self-care” comes in. Self-care has become a lifestyle for most successful people to a point that they swear by it. However, some believe that self-care is self-sabotage.
If you ask me, self-care only turns to self-sabotage if you do not really know what the meaning of “self-care” is. One of the most common issues here is that people use the term “self-care” as an excuse to be lazy. I understand how people can be confused by the two because the line between them is so thin that you would not have noticed that you’re on the other side already.
But let me put it out here first and foremost: Self-care is NOT an excuse to be lazy. Self-care is NOT laziness.
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What Is Self-Care?
- “Self-Care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication.” – World Of Health Organisation
- “care for oneself” – Merriam Webster
- “These are our daily activities in looking after ourselves. The process of looking after one’s self.” – Psychology Dictionary
As you can see by the given definitions, self-care is a lifestyle and/or set of activities that we do to look after ourselves, care for ourselves, and maintain a healthy mental and physical state. Practicing self-care gives your life a sense of calmness away from the daily stress.
Self-care is an essential stepping stone to self-love.
You cannot use self-care as an excuse to be lazy because practicing self-care is doing the things that are beneficial for you. It is the practice of creating and maintaining habits that contribute to a more positive living. Self-care is doing things or activities to recharge your batteries for a more productive day or week ahead.
Doing your daily self-care checklist consists of productive practices that are greatly beneficial for your mental health and physical wellbeing.
You Are Just Being Lazy
As mentioned before, it is really easy to justify laziness as self-care especially when you do not have clear goals in life. Both self-care and laziness have this concept of conserving your energy. However, one is for recharging and one is to make yourself even less motivated. And I am pretty sure you know which one is which.
If you are still cautious about practicing self-care because you are scared that you will fall more into a rut, then here are the signs in which you are just being lazy:
You procrastinate – When you procrastinate, you keep on delaying the things that must be done. This means that you love the terms “I will do that later” or “I still have a lot of time. This will result in doing less productive things that you think are beneficial for you. Procrastination leads to laziness, and this is probably how your day will look like:
- You want to read a book about personal growth but you feel like there is still a whole day ahead, so you delay.
- You have to do your workout but scrolling through social media sounds more enticing at the moment.
- You need to drink water but you are too lazy to leave the bed.
- …and so much more activities you need to do accompanied with endless excuses.
You feel guilty and selfish – Here is a reminder: self-care is not selfish. It is not selfish if you are putting yourself first. It is not selfish if you are thinking of your wellbeing. Practicing self-care gives you the motivation, energy, and the mindset to help others, and that is the complete opposite of being selfish. If you feel guilty about your self-care day because you know that you are doing nothing productive for yourself, then that is just laziness. If you feel selfish and guilty because you think that you are just wasting your day, then maybe it’s because you are.
You do not take care of yourself – In other words, you do nothing. You do not workout. You do not meditate. You do not read. You do not go out and breathe some fresh air. You do not play with your kids or your pets. You do not do activities that can contribute to your personal growth. You purposely ignore your checklist. Instead of recharging your batteries and channeling a healthy mindset, you are setting yourself back and closing your doors to limitless potentials and opportunities. And that is just a real waste.
How To Self-Care
There really is no proper way or a standard guideline in doing self-care. As long as you do the things that contribute to your mindset, productivity, and overall growth, then you are doing everything right. However, if you are just starting out and need a little bit of guidance, then here are some simple steps on how you can effectively incorporate self-care into your life:
Make a goal checklist – The first step you must do to effectively start your self-care practice is to identify and set your goals. Your self-care routine will highly depend on the goals you have put up for yourself. These goals can be as broad or as specific as you want it to be. It can be a personal goal, financial goal, or career goal.
- Live healthily
- Start my own business
- Get a promotion
- Reach my body goal of __ kg
- Earn $____ by the end of the year
- Stay happy
Make a daily self-care checklist – Now that you have your goals all set up, it is time to list down all the activities that you must do to help you reach those goals. Remember, it is self-care if it is beneficial for yourself, your well-being, and your growth. You do not need to be strict with yourself or overwhelm yourself with rigorous tasks. You can start with simple and easy activities and then add up as you go.
Your self-care checklist may look like this:
- Workout every morning
- Journal after waking up and before going to sleep
- Read self-help books
- Drink lots of water
- Eat vegetables and fruits
- Take a relaxing bath at night
Invest in self-care tools and resources – This is optional but can also be a great help for your self-care practice to be more fruitful. Personally, my self-care tools consist of scented candles, self-help books, personal development blogs, journals, bath bombs, and skincare products. There is nothing wrong with investing in yourself. Remember that you are doing this so you can effectively serve your purpose and help others reach their goals as well.
Personal self-care tools recommendations:
Make it a habit – To make your self-care practice truly effective, you need to make it a part of your everyday or weekly routine. To do this, you need to start small. Again, you do not need to overwhelm yourself with daunting tasks at the beginning of your journey. What you have to do is to make sure you have accomplished the small tasks and are sure that it is already part of your routine, THEN you can add more tasks. You can read more about how you can effectively build new habits using simple hacks here.
Remove the obstacles – Most of the time, people give up on self-care because they think it is too much work. However, what they are not aware of is that it is them that is making everything hard. Remove the hindrances between you and your self-care goals. If you think that going out of your room to drink water is too much, then put a glass of water beside you. Do not put your books far away from you – make sure it is just within reach. Make sure that your gym room is neat, airy, and a perfect place where you feel good while working out. There are so many ways where you can make things so much easier for you. Be stronger than your excuses.
Relax and quiet your mind – Last and most importantly, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and relax. Your self-care day is for you. Tune out all the daily stressors in your life and think about yourself for once. Be at peace with yourself and listen to what your body needs. You deserve to love and care for yourself.
Truth be told, self-care isn’t something that you can succeed at on the first try. I believe any personal growth journey is a challenge – and that itself is what makes you grow. You may have second thoughts about the concept and effectiveness of self-care in the beginning, but trust me, once you make it a routine, you will see a huge positive change in yourself.
So please, take care of yourself.