In an era where self-care has become part of our daily vernacular, have you ever wondered what the true meaning of self-care is?
Sure, pamper days at the local spa, indulging in a relaxing bubble bath (no shade — we love a good bubble bath) and sipping on herbal teas while practising mindfulness are all delightful ways to unwind. But the truth is, self-care goes beyond the standard or ordinary practices that social media claims as the panacea to all of life’s stresses.
Instead, self-care is about radical acts of self-love and self-respect in each and every of the multiple aspects of our wellbeing. What really nourishes our souls? What really enables us to replenish amidst the chaos of our lives, no matter what we think the latest self-care trend is?
In this article, we dive deep into the multi-dimensions of self-care and what examples of it can look like for different individuals from all walks of life. Read on to find out more.
1. Empowering choices in cosmetic procedures
In an age where internet trolls find joy in leaving demeaning comments online, it’s easy to feel scrutinised and judged for decisions regarding our own bodies.
However, remember one thing: “my body, my choice”, and opting for a cosmetic procedure like botox or fat freezing is not about conforming to societal norms or seeking validation from others.
It’s about taking back our narratives, reclaiming ownership of our bodies and making decisions that support our confidence, undeniable beauty and comfort in our skin.
So, if that means making an informed choice to have a cosmetic procedure, please remember that it is exactly that – your body, your choice, and that choice should come with encouragement, support and respect, not judgement or shame.
Let’s revel in the freedom to make empowered and empowering choices for ourselves and to acknowledge the unlimited ways to exude beauty.
2. Revamping diet culture: Embracing mindful eating and nutrition
As women, we are so often made to feel like we occupy too much space. Whether it’s arms that are a little too big, a tummy that isn’t as tight as it once was, or thighs that don’t fit the narrow standards of beauty, society constantly bombards us with messages that our bodies are simply not good enough.
The result? A lifetime of being a slave to diet culture and attempting to shrink ourselves into society’s arbitrary box.
But what if we shifted the focus from shrinking to nourishing? What if we embraced mindful eating and nutrition not as tools for weight loss, but as pathways to self-care and self-love?
Nourishing our bodies with wholesome, nutrient-rich foods isn’t about deprivation or fitting into a certain size: it’s about honouring our bodies’ needs and fuelling ourselves with the love and care we deserve.
By prioritising nourishment over restriction, we can cultivate a healthier relationship with food and a deeper sense of wellbeing. Because at the end of the day, your amazing body has carried you through life, and what better way to thank it than by giving it the fuel it needs?
3. Staying physically active for strength, not aesthetics
As we mentioned above, societal pressures to look a certain way can drive many of us to unhealthy coping mechanisms, one of which is excessive exercising.
Ask yourself: when was the last time I did a workout or gym routine solely for the purpose of building my strength, rather than trying to force my body into some non-existent idea of perfection?
You see, when we rethink exercise and physical activity, we unlock a world of possibilities beyond the confines of appearance-centric goals.
Instead of fixating on pursuing a particular body shape and size, prioritising physical activity for strength is a celebration of how much our bodies can accomplish and endure. It’s about embracing our abilities and cultivating resilience as a means of increasing our overall wellbeing.
So, let’s move the focus from aesthetics to empowerment and start defining what it means to stay physical in a way that truly honours and strengthens our bodies.
4. Recreation with purpose: Enjoyable screen time
Ever felt guilty for spending too much time watching your favourite series on Netflix? Or perhaps you’ve felt like an ‘irresponsible’ adult when you’re indulging in your favourite video games.
Honestly, when did it become a crime to find joy and relaxation in recreational screen time? Sure, doom-scrolling for 24 hours a day certainly isn’t healthy by any means, but enjoying a well-deserved break with your favourite shows or games shouldn’t be frowned upon — seriously!
In a culture that praises productivity, and a world where every minute feels like it should be spent on the pursuit of something ‘worthwhile’, it’s easy to downplay the importance of fun.
But here’s the thing: engaging in your favourite screen time isn’t about being lazy or shirking responsibility. It’s about finding those moments of pure enjoyment and escapism wherever we can.
So, next time you find yourself entrenched in a new series or gaming experience, remember this: your enjoyment and your ability to switch off is just as important as every other aspect of your life.
5. The importance of prioritising sleep
Here’s another thing that hustle culture tries to make you feel bad about: getting enough sleep.
In a society that encourages burning the midnight oil and glorifies around-the-clock productivity, sleep is often the first thing to go during a busy week. Sleep usually takes a backseat to work, social obligations, endless to-do lists, and around-the-clock entertainment.
But here’s the thing: sleep is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. It’s the bedrock of good health and wellbeing. It impacts everything from our physical health to mental clarity and emotional resilience.
And surprisingly, skimping on shut-eye in the hopes of boosting productivity and getting ahead is a recipe for burnout and diminished performance.
So, instead of wearing sleep deprivation as a badge of honour, slather on that overnight lip mask, put that heatless curling hair band in, and get your 40 winks.
6. Mastering the art of saying ‘no’
I don’t know about you, but what we’ve noticed is an epidemic of people struggling to say ‘no’ to things. Frankly, it’s also something that we’ve struggled with a lot in the past.
In a world rife with opportunities, requests and obligations, the word ‘no’ can sometimes seem impossible. Whether it’s the fear of disappointing others, missing out on future opportunities (major FOMO), or simply wanting to be nice, the word ‘no’ more often than not has a less than desirable reputation. The result? A constant cycle of overcommitment, stress, and burnout.
Learning to say ‘no’ is a crucial skill to help protect our time, energy, and mental wellbeing. It’s all about setting boundaries, prioritising our own needs, and saving some of our valuable time and energy for when it really matters.
Saying ‘no’ isn’t selfish or uncooperative, it’s self-care and self-preservation. So next time your colleague asks if you’ll take their shift when you’re already stretched thin, or you’re invited to a party when all you want to do is relax on the couch, practise the art of saying ‘no.’ It gets easier, we promise — and future you will thank you for it.
As we redefine self-care, let’s embrace the diversity of experiences and choices that contribute to our wellbeing.
Let’s celebrate the autonomy to make decisions that empower us and cultivate a culture of acceptance and support for all forms of self-care, including those that may challenge traditional norms.
After all, true self-care begins with honouring and nurturing the relationship we have with ourselves.