You don’t develop your self-care habits overnight. You try a couple of things that mainstream media suggests as forms of self-care, and for a while they work, but then they lose their magic and you don’t feel like doing them anymore. The sad reality is caring for yourself is easier said than done.
But why is this the case? Here are some of the reason:
You’re inclined to prioritize what other people think
Self-care is supposed to heal your self; it’s all about putting your emotions and wellbeing first. This is the reason a lot of people enjoy wearing Korean sheet masks, because it has that immediate effect on your skin and you feel like you really are pampering yourself. However, many people forget what self-care is all about when they start thinking about what other people think.
Want to go home on a Friday night instead of going clubbing? That could be your idea of self-care, but because you think it will make you less likable to your peers, you go through the motions (and spend money unnecessarily) and go out with them just to prove that you are like them. In the end, instead of recharging at home, you feel more drained.
Mainstream forms of self-care get expensive
When self-care became the messaging of your favorite influencers, suddenly, it’s all about going to the spa, having an indulgent bath routine, or creating aesthetic pockets of space at home. The colors were important, too. Suddenly it was all about millennial pink and pink fur underneath all your flat lays. Your tea needed to be high tea, and your coffee needed to be artisanal. These were the marketed self-care routines, and if you didn’t have the money to spend on these, you could either go into debt or not put attention to your self at all.
You don’t really know what self-care means for you
Circling back to mainstream forms of self-care, it became difficult for individuals to figure out the kinds of activities they should be spending time or money on. At the core, you need to remember that it is your self you need to care for, and that should take into account what works for you personally. Figuring this out requires that you sit down with your thoughts and getting to know yourself. If you love being outdoors and you feel recharged after communing with nature, your self-care routine should be guided by nature. If you recharge by being around friends, find a way to do that without overspending. If tidying up your space is your chosen form of relaxation, by all means, do it. Don’t just pick and choose what mainstream media said you should do. You have to dig deep and figure this out for yourself.
It is important that you care for yourself before anything else. However, don’t just fall for the trap of aspirational self-care. Know yourself and focus on your needs–your real needs–and give yourself the right kind of care. Only then can you truly feel recharged.