A Step Towards Attainable Self-Care
We tend to think of self-care as an act of doing or something to schedule. Taking a bubble bath, attending a yoga class, getting a massage, having a glass of wine at home to relax, or an evening out with friends. Although these certainly are components of self-care, they only make up a fraction of what self-care actually is.
We can buy all the wellness products, enroll in the most popular workout classes, travel to fabulous destinations, and take a hundred bubble baths, but if we can’t find balance, satisfaction, and peace inside of us, the “me time” that we often refer to as self-care won’t cause us to feel better for very long.
Regular self-care has to do with what we are saying, thinking and feeling, not what we’re buying or doing. Taking care of our headspace and loving ourselves needs to be at the heart of our self-care routine. There isn’t anything else that will replace the positive benefits that come from prioritizing our wellbeing and showing ourselves kindness.
This starts with taking an inventory of the words we’re thinking and saying out loud, as well as paying attention to what we’re watching, what we’re reading, and what we’re having conversations about. Have we set up our day to care about ourselves or are we responding to the situations that are happening around us? Are we going into our day with a purpose or are we allowing other people and their intentions to take center stage?
It starts with taking an honest account of what our days look like and making adjustments when appropriate. We often don’t see the role we play in our own drama until we do this. And although there isn’t a one size fits all approach to how we should start our day or what we should be giving our attention to, we can tell by how we’re feeling if we’re on the track to satisfaction or not.
Taking score of our feelings helps us to understand where our set point is. Because sometimes we can become so accustomed to a negative set point that it doesn’t even feel negative anymore.
An example: I had a good friend for a number of years that lived out of state. We became closer at a certain point in life when we were both facing tough situations. She was going through a divorce and I was having a challenging time in a new job in a brand new city. At first it was nice to have someone to complain with, and someone who agreed with me. I had an ally in unhappiness and ironically that made me feel better. We could laugh and carry on about all the shitty things we felt were happening to us. But eventually I needed to make changes to get my set point back to satisfaction, and once I did, I didn’t have as much to complain about.
The topics of conversations I wanted to have were different than before. I didn’t want to complain about what was – I left that behind, I now wanted to enjoy feeling good. Even though she too made changes, her complaints didn’t stop. And I noticed her set point didn’t move to where mine was. I kept this friendship going for a while because we had known each other for so long, but every time I talked to her it was easy for me to fall back into that pattern where we looked for and spoke about things we didn’t like. Eventually I realized I was tolerating a lot of lows for a few highs and our friendship ran its course.
Although this doesn’t always have to happen – we don’t necessarily need to cut people or things from our life, in this case, it was for the best. So often the strongest emotion wins and the loudest voice takes over the conversation even if it’s unpleasant or wrong. And if we’re around someone who is complaining, we often complain.
So I had to take account of my role in my own drama and recognize who and what I was giving my attention to. One of the greatest gifts I’ve learned is that we get to decide where our focus goes. We can decide what we give our energy to. This is living deliberately.
Once I realized this friend wasn’t a shoulder to lean on, but rather it was someone who made it easy for me to stay stationary, I became much more aware of the conversations I was having. I recognized the words I was saying would trigger feelings within me, and I didn’t want to repeat the mistake of focusing on the negative.
Our future is being put together by our daily routine. What we give our time and attention to dictates our emotional responses. And in life there are times when bad, unfair, unfortunate, and sad things happen that we don’t have control over, so why would we want to spend our time looking for unhappiness or feeling dissatisfied? Our behavior – our conversations – our thoughts – become habits. And those habits become our life.
Life isn’t black and white. It’s full of colors and options to pick from, and we owe it to ourselves to identify and focus on the things that bring us the most satisfaction.
Each today is creating our tomorrow. We have choice in every moment.
Nicki Carrea believes that true beauty is synonymous with well-being. In 2015 she established Genuine Glow, an inside-outside wellness and skin care brand, and is a published beauty and wellness writer and speaker. Drawing on her life experiences she conceptualized and launched the Genuine Glow blog, which spotlights authentic voices, and creates a platform for shared experiences and human connection. Nicki is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and currently resides in New York City. You can connect with Nicki here: LinkedIn & Instagram
Genuine Glow is a wellness and skin care brand that creates nutrient-rich exfoliators and specializes in inside-outside health and beauty. Established in 2015, Genuine Glow has been nominated for 3 CEW Awards (Best New Indie Beauty Brand, Best New Indie Skin Care Brand, and Best Exfoliator/Scrub) and chosen as a Top 50 Breakthrough Beauty Brand. You can connect with the brand here: Website, Instagram, Facebook
“Genuine Glow™ products and blog are not intended to cure, treat, prevent, mitigate or diagnose any disease, and are not intended to affect the structure or any function of the human body. The Genuine Glow blog is based on anecdotal wisdom and the experiences and research reported by others. We are not medical professionals and we have not independently tested these claims. Always consult your physician or mental healthcare provider if you have questions about a medical or psychiatric condition or if you seek medical advice.”