The other day, one of my friends asked me, “What is self-care? How do I do it?” I explained to him that self-care is doing anything that aids our mental, emotional, or physical health and advised him to start by thinking of things that make him feel connected with himself, relaxed, and at peace.
Especially among younger people just emerging into independent lifestyles, we may think we know ourselves really well. We make a mental checklist of what we think we need in order to thrive, often including circumstantial criteria like the perfect job, an ideal location, or a particular friend group. We then quickly learn that a lot of life circumstances end up out of our control. How should we deal with the resulting discontentment? Should we just accept defeat, or rather start a chase after all the things we “need” but can’t have?
On the contrary, we may need to reevaluate and redefine our needs. To get at the deeper needs that aren’t purely circumstantial, we need to get to know ourselves better. Since September is Self-Care Awareness Month, it’s time to get introspective and ask yourself these questions:
- What are my priorities?
- What makes me happy?
- What do I want out of life?
- Who am I really?
- What does authenticity mean to me?
Often caught up with life and fitting in with other people, we don’t take the time to sit down and really figure out our preferences, habits, personality, values, etc. Before jumping into a self-care routine that suits your friend, a trendy wardrobe that everyone on social media seems to have, or a career that your family thinks would make you the most successful, spend some one-on-one time with yourself.
Give yourself the kind of undivided attention and care that you would give to your loved ones without hesitation. After all, you’re the one person in the world who you can count on to understand and love yourself in the way that you need.
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