For the longest time I have been told that I’m an over-thinker who is constantly working and never takes time to shut my brain off. I’d like to argue this but it’s, in fact, 100% true. To my defense, I just never knew what my type of self-care looked like. I didn’t know how to relax. People would tell me to go to yoga, meditate, or go get a massage. And while that may be great for someone else, that’s not what my perfect day looks like.
Coming from someone who doesn’t know how to shut their brain off- please don’t suggest that I go try and shut my brain off. Trust me, I’ve tried. Meditating is nearly impossible for me. Yoga is okay and I have enjoyed doing it a handful of times but it’s not something I’m excited to go back to. And massages bring me more pain than they do relaxation. Even typing this now it’s no wonder it took me all these years to find my sweet spot. All of the things that the average person may consider nice sound like a nightmare to me.
It wasn’t until recently I realized that self-care doesn’t look the same for everyone, and that’s okay. I think our society puts so much pressure on the fact that self-care is related to physical health, but personally I think it’s more about the mental health. Sure, going to the gym or attending a yoga class can be a great way to decompress. But so can eating cookies in the bathtub as you read a chapter in your book. Yes, putting some essential oils in your diffuser while you meditate is a great way to unwind, but so is dancing in the living room by yourself with the music turned way up.
I think we need to stop putting so much pressure on what self-care looks like because it doesn’t look the same for everyone. In my opinion, the best form of self-care is to build a life that you honestly enjoy living. Fill your home with knick-knacks of places you’ve visited and photographs of people you love. Let your toes feel every grain of sand beneath your feet as you look out at the waves. Go for a run. Scream. Eat cookies. Soak in the bathtub until your fingers are so pruney they’re hardly recognizable. Call your best friend and talk for hours. Move to a new city. Live your life, and never apologize for how you want to live it. The whole point of self-care is that it’s for yourself, no one else.