Self care has been a buzz word for a few years now. In fact, like anything popular, it has been morphed and taken out of context to the point of being something it is not. Women hate the word now because it has become synonymous with face masks, manicures, and fancy coffees. By internet standards, self care appears to be something that has to be done outside of the home and away from work. This makes it inaccessible to many of us today. Who has the luxury of taking a bath when we barely have the 15 minutes (or less!) it takes to properly shower? Who can spare the $30 for weekly manicures when we have a difficult time paying our student loan bills or putting food on the table?
Beyond the physical and financial restrictions this form of self care places upon us, this self care really is superficial in most cases. Sure a manicure makes us feel more put together, baths help us relax, and a face mask feels nice, but the longterm benefits don’t last. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things either. I love them all. But with the restrictions above it leaves women feeling like self care is yet another thing that they do not have time for or can’t afford.
However, this could not be further from the truth. Investing in yourself does not have to cost money. It will cost you something though. It will cost you your old mindsets, a few extra minutes scrolling on Instagram, and probably a bit of your comfort zone. True self care is going to your annual exams when you’re afraid, putting down your phone when one more refresh of your feed is tempting you, or cooking all your meals on Sunday so you don’t have to worry about them each evening. Self care and investing in yourself mean doing the things that will serve you best in the long run. They’re routines that help make life just a little bit easier.
For me, it looks like setting a timer for 10 minutes during my daughter’s nap and just picking up the living room, brushing my teeth each night for 2 minutes and taking off my makeup when I am just so tired, and folding the laundry right away instead of letting it sit in the basket, taunting me for a week. Sure, sometimes it looks like sitting back and watching an episode of something before doing something that will make my day easier, but often that is what we call self comfort. Self comfort is another topic for another day, but basically self comfort is anything we are doing to soothe ourselves in the short term. It’s something we do once in a while, but when we do it often self comfort can easily turn into a bad habit.
None of the things I mentioned above cost extra money. I don’t need to go out and buy cute, matching bins to tidy up and create a more harmonious place for myself. I don’t need to have special ingredients for meal prepping. I don’t need anything special to invest in and take care of myself every day. What shifts in your day care you make to truly take care of YOU today? What can you prioritize over everything else to ensure that YOU feel good, not your partner, pet, coworkers, or child? It’s so cheesy, but it is so true. Prioritizing yourself will ultimately spill over and benefit those you love in your life. Invest in yourself, it’s the cheapest most valuable return you will get today.