The term self-care has long been associated with warm bubble baths, colorful face masks, and treating oneself to certain items, often luxurious, especially on social media – all of them done in the name of self-care and on the premise of feeling good.
What is self-care?
From the phrase itself, self-care means taking care of oneself. Whilst warm baths can be included as a way of practising self-care, the aim and meaning go deeper beyond physical practices. Indonesian psychologist, Tara de Thouars, said in a local media that self-care ultimately translates into acceptance. “We know what our strengths are and we take advantage of them, but we know our weaknesses as well,” she said.
Meanwhile, a local psychological organization, Pijar Psikologi, defined self-care as imperative maintenance of oneself, aimed at retaining positivity and productivity.
“Self-care helps us to stay mentally and physically healthy. It helps us to come back into ourselves, appreciate and love ourselves,” the organization said.
With that being said, it is fair to say that whilst bubble baths and other relaxing, joyous physical activities are included in the list of self-care practices, there is also acceptance, growth, and mental makeovers, among other characteristics.
It is not merely about performing feel-good rituals but also thinking about how they could contribute to healthy thinking behavior and adequate love, acceptance, and growth for ourselves.
In a bid to demystify what self-care ultimately is, ANTARA has chosen a few ways one can begin practising self-care as part of their 2020 resolution.
Meditation is an excellent way to get to know ourselves deeper. It allows repressed thoughts and emotions to come to the surface, allowing us to identify them and therefore making us more emotionally mindful.
For those who are dabbling in the meditation practices or simply prefer not to meditate on their own, numerous guided meditations featuring different breathing techniques can be found on audio visual platforms such as YouTube, or smartphone applications such as Calm and Headspace.
Journaling is another popular mean of self-care. It is equivalent to laying all of our thoughts bare, with no self-censorship and it would allow us to organize our thoughts, let us let go of those residing in our heads without the need of being there. If one is not keen on writing on a notebook, they can try audio journaling. Let the thoughts out with one’s own words while recording them with recorders, laptops, even smartphones. Journals would also let us keep track of our mood and emotions and notice any patterns.
With meditation and journaling, inconsistency can be considered one of the main distractions. As the months go by, we might find ourselves getting too busy to meditate or journal. The key is in the timing, take 5 to 10 minutes from the 24 hours of the day to meditate or journal every day as a daily dose of self-care.
Especially for those living their day-to-day lives in concrete jungles all over the world, going to an actual jungle and spend some time surrounded by nature can be a choice of self-care practice. Not only would it give a break to the lungs from all the city pollution but would also provide some time for self-reflection and allow us to indulge in activities that differ from the usual ones we perform on the daily.
As mentioned earlier, physical activities top the list in self-care. Activities such as working out, extra skincare regimens or massages can be incorporated into the daily schedule as part of a routine. After all, feeling good on the outside can contribute to feeling the same way on the inside. Book an appointment at the nearest spa place, diffuse some aromatherapy oils, light some scented candles, and feel the endorphins releasing in the body while sweating it out in a spin class.
Lastly, do not leave socializing out of the equation just yet. Connections with other people are considered just as important as connecting with oneself. It can lead to acquiring new perspectives and contributing to how we feel in terms of being valued and the ability to relate to others.
Maintaining healthy relationships with those one feels most comfortable with is part of self-care, be it with family members or friends.
These are a number of self-care practices one can try as we step into the New Year and the new decade. There are many more choices out there waiting to be explored. Ultimately, we should stick with one that we are the most comfortable with. It is not about feeling good and not always about being materialistic, rather, it is about gaining a sense of balance, clarity, and acceptance.
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