Self-Care: How To Take Care Of Yourself The Non-Commercialized Way
There is so much talk about self-care these days. And although the concept of self-care is one I’m still figuring out I understand why the idea is important.
Especially when it comes to the “burn-out” culture of today.
Because everyone is overworked.
Everyone claims to be busy.
Everyone says they don’t have time for this, this and this.
Nobody has time for self-care.
But what exactly is self-care?
Before I get into that, I would like to ask everyone, “What does self-care look like to you”?
I’ll tell you what it looks like to me.
On the surface, self-care looks like one of those pretty monthly subscription boxes that they try to advertise all over social media. I’m talking Facebook, Instagram, and those oh-so-fun unboxing videos on YouTube.
You know what I’m talking about, right? Face masks, bath salts, bath bombs, and other aromatherapy bullshit all in one box that gets shipped to your address.
A vanity box if you will. But it’s not free at all, and most times it can be pricey.
But I’m not going to lie to you, though. I like purchasing random things for myself, especially if it’s through snail mail because it’s always nice to get ideas in the mail other than bills, bills, bills.
But I am here to tell you that there are ways to practice self-care without having to make impulsive purchases.
Sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself once in a while. But I think self-care runs much deeper than a simple package in the mail (it’s still cute though).
You can do it by practicing it mindfully and making that effort of prioritizing your needs first.
Self-Care as A Lifestyle
I’ve always thought that self-care only came through when I had a shitty work week.
A shitty work week for me looks like this:
Boss giving me a hard time
Being asked to work overtime
Not taking breaks when I needed to
Pressures to get things done in the shortest amount of time possible
Going home after work dead tired only to wake up the next day and do it all over again.
This is my shitty work week and the shittier, the more I start to realize that “life kind of sucks”.
Because a shitty work week has been, for the most part, a reminder to myself that “enough is enough” and that it was time for me to take a step (or two) back.
Unfortunately, it takes some pushing and shoving to realize that I don’t practice what I should be practicing, which is taking care of myself.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Every person is different.
Self-care is an important practice that we should all prioritize. It is not an act of selfishness, but rather it is our way of contributing our best selves to society.
Nobody wants a person coming into work cranky because they didn’t get enough sleep the night before.
Nobody wants someone with a bad attitude because they didn’t make time to eat their lunch or take their lunch break.
Lastly, nobody wants to deal with a “negative Nancy” just because they hate their lives.
If we don’t take care of ourselves first, we risk ourselves and the people around us by indirectly projecting how we are and what we feel in the present.
So let’s start being mindful and practice self-care the non-commercialized way…first.
Here below is a simple and minimal list of things we should do to take care of ourselves.
ONE: Sleep Like A Baby
My sleep habits are not the worst, but it isn’t the best, either.
Especially working the night shift for a couple of years, my routine of sleeping only a few hours here and there, and sleeping all-day during my weekends is just not cutting it.
Trust me; I feel the toll it has taken on my body.
Okay, okay. My sleep routine is actually really bad.
But how important it is to rest, not just to rest but the quality of it is what matters most.
We are like batteries.
Think about that cellphone of yours.
How do you feel when your battery is at 100%? 50%? 10%?
At 100%, you are fully charged. You have no worries.
At 50%, maybe you worry a bit but not quite yet. You still have enough battery to last you a couple of hours.
At 10%, you start looking for a charger. Maybe even actively looking. You start to realize that you need to start charging because the day is not over yet. You still have a few more hours to go, and certainly, with a 10% battery, you don’t have much time left.
It’s the same with us and sleeping. We are the least productive when we don’t get enough sleep vs. when we do.
At 100%, you are fully charged and ready to get through the day.
At 10%, you try to conserve as much energy as possible. You are maybe taking a few naps here and there just to make it.
Do you see where I am getting at?
Sleeping and getting enough rest determines the quality of your day, work, and your overall performance.
Most of us tend to think that “sleep is for the weak” and that the more you sleep, the less productive you are.
We need to get this mindset out!
Not getting enough sleep doesn’t mean you are productive. It can mean you are half-assing your day and even the work that you produce.
I’m just saying.
Self-care is: Getting enough sleep.
TWO: Eating Right
This is a hard pill to swallow…no pun intended.
But eating right is so important, and I was in denial about this for a long time, too, because I love ice cream more than the average person.
I really don’t want to tell you to eat your fruits and vegetables or anything, but I think it is a good start. However, I am not a nutritionist.
Eating processed foods can make you feel sluggish. Sure they are tasty treats, which are nice once in a while but too much of a bad thing can really do harm in the long run.
If your diet is bad, make little changes like adding an apple to eat at the beginning of your day.
Self-care: Is eating right, but not denying yourself a few treats here and there.
THREE: Drink Your Water
Because water is good for you and I know everyone says that you need to drink lots of water.
“Are you drinking enough water?”
It can be annoying sometimes, but drinking water and staying hydrated is actually important.
It has to do with our biology.
Our bodies are made of about 60% water and water helps regulate our bodies such as our overall body temperature, metabolism, and brain function.
We don’t recognize it, but when we don’t drink enough water we can get dehydrated.
And being dehydrated can have serious consequences to our health in the end.
Self-care is: Drinking enough water and staying hydrated.
FOUR: Saying “No”
Most of us grew up with the idea that by saying “No,” we would appear lazy, unappreciative, stubborn, arrogant, and even selfish.
Yeah, none of those words have a positive connotation to them.
But, being able to say “No” is also very empowering.
Trust me when I say that I can be a “pushover”.
There was a time where I would over-perform at work to get noticed or to prove to people that I was the best at what I did. I would volunteer for overtime.
I pushed myself even past my limits and although the feelings of productivity felt amazing, at the time, I later realized that I was overworking myself and sending the messages to my team that I liked to work.
I would always get asked to work overtime even though I was exhausted. I felt like I had to say “yes”. I felt like I was too important and that my team needed me.
I realized later that everything was in my head.
I know now that if I said “no” it would give an opportunity to someone else to shine. Also, I learned that even if I rejected an opportunity to work more the company would find a way to survive.
I wasn’t as important as I made myself out to be…and that’s okay.
Self-care: Knowing your limits, being able to set boundaries, and saying “No” when necessary.
FIVE: Move B***H, Get Out The Way
Many people don’t like what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it.
It makes a big difference. The thing about exercise is that most of us think of it as a struggle.
So let’s not call it to exercise. Just move around.
Don’t think too much about having to spend 1 hour at the gym and or increasing your heart rate until you hit cardiac arrest. No, don’t do that to yourself.
Instead, find a way to move around.
Sometimes I walk around Target without buying anything. That’s good enough for me, most days.
Or I’ll walk to my destination instead of driving.
Most of them, I clean my house when I’m bored or procrastinating.
Any physical activity can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing diseases later. But also, incorporating physical activity on a regular basis can improve the quality of your life.
Self-care is: Incorporating physical activity regularly whenever possible.
SIX: Making Time For The Things That Matter To You
I must admit that I use to judge people who would spend all day on Netflix, and now I feel really bad about it.
But I realized that, Hey! If Netflix is your way to relax and decompress after a long day of work, who am I to judge you?
Don’t let people’s opinions matter to you, especially if they don’t mean anything to you.
But for real, though. I shouldn’t be judging people for a little thing because I don’t like it when people tell me to stop doing the things that I like to do just because they don’t understand it.
Forgive me? Thank you!
Self-care is: Making time for the things that matter to you, whatever that may be.
I hope this post serves you well. There are many other things and practices that could have been included, but I feel like this list is the bare minimum.
If you want to meditate, as what most resources suggest, go on right ahead. I won’t stop you.
If you can attend a wellness trip to Bali and do yoga all day and all night, go on right ahead. I’m a bit jealous, though, because it does sound quite nice.
Lastly, if you are into those commercialized self-care packages with the glitter, bath bombs, and fruity face masks, don’t let me shame you either.
Because I love bath bombs.
Everything on this list, you can do on a budget because taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be as expensive as what it is made out to be.