This time of year, when we’re all so stressed, lots of articles seem to pop up about self-care, and weirdly, they all seem to be about things you can buy yourself. “Look at this list of indulgent things you can buy with money you don’t have!” Personally, I do not find this particularly helpful. Because the term “self care” has been so taken over by marketers, it is easy to lose sight of what self-care actually is, what it looks like in practice.
Because here is something it has taken me too long to discover: self-care is not the same as indulgence. It is not always even fun. Taking care of yourself, like taking care of another person, is work. Does it sometimes look like taking the night off and watching Netflix and doing a face mask? Sure, sometimes. But it also looks like making yourself dinner when you get home from work even though you'd really rather not. (Because it turns out you cannot eat Captain Crunch and Goldfish crackers for every meal. Who knew?) It looks like taking yourself to the doctor, to your therapy appointment, to the gym or to yoga, even when you really don’t want to and you’d rather stay in bed. It looks like saying no to going out or having drinks because you have to go into work early tomorrow and you don’t want to be exhausted. It’s making yourself a pack lunch instead of buying a burrito because you’re on a budget and you don’t want to feel panic-stricken when it’s the last week of the month. It’s doing laundry and changing your bedsheets and washing your hair and getting a flu shot. And none of that is particularly fun, and it’s not going to make any “best of” lists on a lifestyle magazine website, but it is important and will make your quality of life better and future you will be so grateful. You're worth the work, bb.