Self-care is not about buying things
Self-care is life, and it's more than buying new things that only satisfy you for the short term.
This November, I’m challenging myself to write every day. You can read them all under the “Shorts” category, where each post should be around 500–1k words. Think of them as “less polished” than my usual longer blog posts. This is Day 17.
As consumers start to take control of their own health, self-care is reportedly becoming a booming multi-billion-dollar industry. However, self-care isn't about buying new things to comfort you when you're down. It's more than that. Self-care, not to be confused with self-soothing, is the act of caring for one's overall well-being in the long run, from your emotional to physical needs. Self-soothing, on the other hand, provides you with a distraction or comfort during stressful times, such as shopping, binge-watching TV, and drinking bubble milk tea. Self-care is not something you do to reward yourself after doing something good. It's essential to life. You shouldn't wait until then, and you definitely don't need facial masks, face rollers, or bubble baths to care for yourself. Bubble baths are nice and they may make you smell nicer, but they aren't necessary and they won't address long-term problems. What's even better is tapping deeper into your well-being with these three tried-and-true activities that you know all too well:
We don't need to go on a retreat or meditate for an hour to reap the benefits of meditating. 10 minutes is more than enough every day. You don't need to know how to meditate to start meditating, and you don't need any money to do so. Just download Headspace, Calm, or other free meditation apps, or even search for a short meditation session on YouTube. But it's hard to calm my mind. It's in the nature of the mind for thoughts to wander. Observe your thoughts as they come and go. Simply let them go and bring your attention back to your breathing. Be gentle with yourself. But it takes too long to benefit from meditation. Unless you intend on becoming a monk, it doesn't take long to benefit. We can already feel the benefits after each session, even it's only for 5 minutes to calm ourselves. Do you feel a bit less stressed and more at ease? It does help, even a bit. And each time you meditate, you'll be able to manage your emotions a bit better. I wrote a bit more about meditation in my other blog post.
The best time to journal is after you wake up. That's when you're still fairly connected to your subconscious mind. Brain dump your thoughts with whatever comes to mind. Fill your journal with your emotions, goals, reflections. You don't need a fancy book for this. Typing it on a doc on your computer works too. Not only can you self-reflect, but you can also relieve some stress, improve your writing and get to know yourself better by clarifying your thoughts and feelings. Understand what your triggers are and question your thoughts. Take it slowly. You can also journal with prompts if it helps. I do my morning journals every morning with these four simple prompts, which also allow me to set the tone for the rest of my day.
- What happened yesterday
- Today's thoughts
- Today's goals
- Today's affirmations
It goes without saying that eating and exercising regularly are also important aspects of nurturing your overall well-being. Skip out junk food, eat less sugar and meat, and drink a LOT more water. I recently bought a 2L water bottle just to make sure I finish drinking at least 2 litres of water every day. I'm being a bit more conscious when I have desserts and junk food. If I do, I make sure to compensate by drinking more water. Choose your form of workout and exercise every day if you can, even 10 minutes counts. So far I do yoga on Fridays, run and do strength workouts on weekends. I'm slowly building it up though, at the very least it's something for now!
All I'm saying is that we don't need to buy fancy self-care products to carry out our self-care routine. Self-care is not meant to be glamorous. Buying new things will only satisfy you in the short term. They'll soon become yet another regular product in your collection. Get back to the basics. Are you sleeping well? Are you eating and exercising well? Self-care is not a substitute for therapy, so if you need professional mental health help, by all means, see a therapist. If not, learn to appreciate the simple and mundane activities that contribute to our overall well-being.