Community//

Self-care: a requirement for wellness or just an excuse for a spa day?

Has self-care become a little too self indulgent?

I discuss self-care a lot in my career and am frequently being asked for ‘non-extravagant’ and ‘inexpensive’ self-care ideas. This got me thinking – when did self-care become a commodity? Whilst treating yourself to a manicure or massage is undoubtably lovely, is it really the essence of self care? Or has the term become TOO synonymous with spa trips, nail appointments and chocolate treats? Sorry to ask, but has it become a little bit self indulgent?

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy a bit of salon time as much as the next person, and I am not giving it up any time soon. But labelling this my ‘self-care’ and calling it a day means there is an expectation for these activities to sustain my mental and physical health. That’s a lot of pressure on a nice coloured nail varnish! They may relax me for a little while, or give me a feel good boost but alone they are simply papering over cracks, which in the long term may be doing more harm than good.

For me the essence of self-care is how you show up in your life every day. It should be more about:

Treating yourself with respect – understanding and maintaining your boundaries, saying no when necessary, showing yourself the kindness that you offer others

Taking responsibility for how you approach each day – checking in with yourself, your mindset, and how you are feeling – like you would your children – and tweaking your day accordingly – as you would for your children

Challenging yourself enough to spark adventures, but not enough to create unrealistic expectations and almost certain failure and exhaustion

Being present in your life so you are free to enjoy it in all its multi-coloured / crazy glory

Eating and living to nourish your body and soul – the couch is nice, crisps are nice….they are not self care unless they are part of a much more nourishing package!!

Paying as much attention to your tired cues as you do to your children’s

Showing up and doing your best regardless of the outcome

Committing to learning and developing a little bit everyday

Ditching the guilt for doing all of the above!

These are just my ideas and I acknowledge that some of them are actually quite uncomfortable (someone bring back the spa day please!!) especially if you are just starting to assert your boundaries or to check-in with yourself more. But like ripping off a plaster, it’s a necessary pain that is well worth it in the long term. I believe these acts of self care should be as habitual as brushing your teeth. I’m not there yet but I’m working on it, alongside booking in my next little spa afternoon with the girls!

    The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Make self-care work for you

    by Ruth Kudzi
    WNstock/Shutterstock
    Well-Being//

    For Many People with Anxiety, Self-Care Just Doesn’t Work

    by Kristi Pahr
    Community//

    Self Care Sundays

    by Britni McCotter

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.