What is self-care and did we get it all wrong?

Self-care is a term that is tossed around often by modern-day media. It usually just scratches the surface of this complex topic. But, what is self-care actually all about?

As millennials, we are the generation with a strong focus on self-care. Or, at least we like to think we are. But, what is self-care and are we actually doing it right? Or, are we using this term to cover up for behaviours that may not lead us to better selves?

A dear friend of mine recently sent me this article that talks about how self-care “is not all salt baths and chocolate cake”. I love how they put it and I couldn’t agree more! We sure like finding time for taking care of ourselves when it involves activities of pampering and indulgence. We are all good at telling ourselves that we deserve that piece of chocolate cake. Or that we do need that dress and that it’s ok to spoil oneself. Don’t get me wrong – it is great to treat yourself from time to time, but that’s not the only part of self-care that you should implement.

Self-care often includes taking care of the things we’d rather avoid.

While we all like to take care of ourselves with pleasant activities (with indulging, treats and rewards), sometimes we also need to do the dirty work. Self-care often includes taking care of the things we’d rather avoid. Like going to the dentist, finding time for working out, or getting rid of toxic people in our lives. It is more than finding time for a nice bath after a long day at work. It also includes taking care of your emotional and psychological health. Working on our issues often feels like hell, but hides the best treasures at the end of the tunnel.

All photos by Ivan Radovic for stylequest.se (see the full post here).

The more you work on yourself and try to improve your life on the inside, the fewer treats and indulgences you need to make you feel good about your life. True self-care means taking care of the issues that you’re facing. It’s not supposed to be used as an excuse to escape one’s life, but as a constant struggle to improve it. The hedonist in me will never give up small pleasures of life! But, I don’t think I should use them as a cover for self-care while avoiding to do any real work that needs to be done.

So yes, get that piece of the cake you really like, and treat yourself with that dress that you really want. But, don’t forget to also make sure that you are taking care of your deeper physical, emotional and mental health. That’s what real self-care is all about.

Ivona

Ivona Josipovic is a co-founder of The Smoke Detector, writer, fashion stylist, social media manager, curious creature, chocolate lover.

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