It's nice to take a break and treat yourself for an evening or a weekend. I think it's important, crucial really, to take time for yourself. Sometimes self-care is taking a bubble bath and lighting a scented candle. But self-care is usually so much more than that. I think it is a discredit to label "self-care" as a DIY spa night.
Self-care is hard. It's one of the hardest things to do, actually. Self-care is knowing your boundaries and sticking to them. Self-care is setting a budget and not going over it. Self-care is taking steps to reach your goals, not procrastinating or making excuses, and being on top of everything. That's a lot. That is overwhelming. That is some Maslow's self-actualizing noise right there.
For some people, self-care is getting out of bed before noon. It is remembering to brush your teeth or to eat food. It is the simple act of just showing up to class, even if it means you didn't show up on time. Well, it should be simple. But sometimes it can feel almost impossible. In those cases, self-care is forgiving yourself.
But you know what? I think Maslow got it wrong. Because progress is not some pyramid staircase that you climb up once. You may have to climb that staircase a hundred times before you make it to the top. Even when you do make it to the top, you might fall back down to the bottom again. Life is unpredictable. People have good days and people have bad days. Sometimes people have bad weeks or bad months or even bad years. Self-care is getting back up and trying again.
Self-care is making plans to meet up with or hang out with people when all you want to do is hide. Self-care is standing up for yourself every single day and making sure your needs are met. Self-care is telling yourself things will get better. It is telling yourself that you do not have to feel happy to be successful.
Self-care is asking for help. Even when it is hard. Especially when it is hard. It is reaching out when you are scared no one will listen or care. It is recognizing you are not alone even when it might feel that way.
All I am trying to say is that self-care is a lot bigger than making a cup of tea, wrapping up in a blanket with a book, or listening to guided meditations. Those things are nice and they can help relieve stress or uncomfortable feelings. I just don't like the trend where vlogs or blogs say that those types of things are the recipe for feeling better when you are struggling.
No single person can be their only source of love and support. Self-care is recognizing you can't do it all by yourself. It is the compassion that you give to yourself through all of the things you do, or don't do, every day. It is also the compassion that you should extend beyond yourself. You never know what others could be going through. Always try to be kind to others because life may not be so kind to them.