Defining "Self-Care" + Ways You Can Care for Yourself


It seems like these days, people are talking more and more about the importance of "self-care," but very few have taken the time to sit down and define it. This ambiguity leaves many of us conjuring up visions of epsom salt baths, faces masks, and generously poured glasses of rosé.

Don't get me wrong; those things can definitely make up a part of your self-care practices, especially if those are things that bring you joy. However, self-care is more than simply being self-indulgent.

If you look at self-care from a holistic point of view, it stands to reason that it should be defined as caring for your entire self. Now, I don't know about you, but a lot of the things that I do to take care of myself are not necessarily relaxing, glamorous, or fun; certainly not always the epitome of serenity I depicted above.

For instance, sweating it out at the gym doesn't typically evoke images of self-care, but when you consider that you are literally caring for your body, you start to think about those burpees a bit differently. The same goes for cooking a healthy meal for yourself.

Creating a budget is neither restful nor enjoyable for me, but I also know that financial security and discipline puts my mind at ease and permits me freedom from worrying about money.

When we have mastery over these basic practices for everyday living, we create space to begin to enjoy the more pleasurable aspects of self-care. This is the fun part!

This is where we actually get into things like taking long, hot showers, declining social invitations in favor of Netflix, and eating raw cookie dough. It looks different for everyone because we all have different things that bring us joy and make us feel good.

Below, I'm sharing some of my favorite, less conventional self-care practices:

Take a dance class.

As I mentioned, exercise is a critial part of self-care for me. It's even more important as a breast cancer survivor, as staying active is helpful in preventing recurrence. In this way, exercise is more than just a physical form of self-care. It's also mental because it provides me peace of mind for a healthy life.

However, I don't love going to the gym. One thing I do love though is dance, so in order to get a workout in, I love taking various classes at different local dance studios. My current favorite is Cardio Hip Hop at Culture Shock.

Read a book in a coffee shop.

This is one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday. I love reading and I do it every night before bed, but it feels like such a treat to get to do it in a different environment, especially when there's a piping hot cup of coffee in that environment.

Play some music while cooking.

For the most part, I like to cook. However, after a long day at work, sometimes the last thing I want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen. Something I've recently discovered that makes cooking a lot less stressful for me is having music on in the background. This may be extremely obvious for some, but as someone who does not regularly listen to music, it was enlightening to learn how much more enjoyable it made the task of making dinner. I typically like to keep the music fairly mellow, as my mood tends to fluctuate with the tempo.

Color-coordinate my planner.

Staying organized helps me feel grounded and sane. While calendaring isn't exactly the most exciting of tasks, I know it's something that needs to be done. In order to make it more enjoyable for myself, I color-coordinate the various categories of entries. This serves a practical purpose, as I can look at my planner and get an instantaneous snapshot of the types of activities I have planned for the week, but it also just looks really pretty.

Go makeup-free on the weekends.

As I've gotten older, taking care of my skin has become increasingly important to me. One of the best and easiest ways for me to care for my skin is to allow it to be bare as often as possible. While I haven't quite reached the point where I feel comfortable enough to go to work without any makeup on, I do have work days where I wear very minimal makeup. However, when the weekend hits, that's the time to let my skin truly breathe. It's the perfect lazy girl hack for healthier, happier skin.

Here is what some of you said are ways you practice self-care:

Annie: "Yoga, hot baths with lush bombs, calm app, & cat cuddles obviously!"

Courtney: "My biggest element of self-care is mustering the courage to say "no" before I hit my stress capacity. Also, running."

Jamie: "Running! Even just a quick walk around outside in fresh air, breathing deeply, and appreciating nature works wonders. Going to a yoga class and wine with friends!!"

Brittany: "Every now and then I have a pamper myself day where I use a special sugar scrub and body lotion that I save just for those days. I do an exfoliating scrub brush on my face and then do the Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask after. It's all very relaxing and rejuvenating."

Pati: "Exercise!!! It's my favorite self-care time.

Hopes you have a great day and as always, thanks so much for stopping by.