Our world is always changing, and as it changes, so does our society's priorities. In the past, the concept of self-care was often overlooked; the model of strength was more so connected to getting through a tough time with as little hassle as possible, compared to today where doing something for yourself to improve your well-being is not only glorified but advocated for constantly.
Today, self-care has transformed from a simple term into an all-out movement. No matter whether you're scrolling through Instagram or reading an article online, you are likely to see recommendations for how to make more time for self-care through yoga, meditation, and much more.
The simple fact that people are taking more time to focus on themselves and how they are feeling not only physically, but mentally as well, is a huge success for our society and its future. It is common that people get too caught up in their everyday life to even think about how they are feeling and even more importantly why they are feeling that way. This is why self-care is important.
Self-care is defined as "any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health." But in a lot of ways, self-care has strayed away from this definition and into a commonly used term for a reason to watch Netflix in your room alone.
This is not to say that taking a day every-so-often to cuddle up in bed and watch Netflix is not important because it definitely is, but we must not paint this as the only picture of self-care.
Different people practice self-care in many different ways. Some do so by going for a run or planning a trip with friends, and others by writing in their journal or helping those around them.
There is truly no limit to how you practice self-care, and most importantly, you do not have to be alone to do it. Yes, spending time with your thoughts alone can be very impactful, but sometimes actively engaging with others can be just as therapeutic. This is why we have to be careful about the way that we portray self-care on social media.
After all, actively participating in self-care doesn't just improve yourself, but it can improve the lives of the people around you too. Sometimes when we focus too much on ourselves we neglect the great comfort that can come from helping others as a product of helping ourselves. It can become overwhelming to work on improving yourself without others in mind, but if we took the "self" out of self-care maybe this would go away.
If we work to make others our goal, in addition to ourselves, our experience with self-care might be more fulfilling and involve less time spent alone and more time growing with the people around us.
We must always try and give our mind and bodies what they need, which can at times be a day of rest, but we must also be honest with ourselves and realize that another goal should be bettering ourselves in order to better the lives of others.
So when you're feeling like you need to practice self-care, try to avoid the inclination to hop in bed if it's not what you need just because it's what you saw on the internet. Try to determine exactly what is best for you and what activities make you feel joy because when you are your best self you are ultimately impacting the people around you, and I would argue that is just as important.