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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Chamness

What Does Self-Care Mean Anyway?!

Updated: May 7, 2021

What Does Self-Care Mean Anyway?!

Self-care is a phrase that comes up a lot, often among our friends, and definitely in counseling sessions. But what does self-care even mean and why is it such a big deal?

Let me start by describing what it’s not –

  • It’s not the mindless weekend morning, where you never get out of your pajamas and spend the whole morning scrolling through social media, even if pajama days are your favorite thing ever.

  • It’s not the quick trip to the gym to squeeze in a workout before work, even if you know it will make you feel better.

  • It’s not going to Target and aimlessly browsing all the aisles, even if you enjoy it.

  • It’s not getting take out from a restaurant because you’re running late and don’t have anything planned, even if it’s your favorite pizza place.

Except sometimes it is.

Let me clarify -

  • It is the mindless weekend morning spent scrolling through social media in your pajamas, BECAUSE pajama day is your favorite thing ever and you decided that today, you value comfort over productivity.

  • It is the quick trip to the gym to squeeze in a workout before work, BECAUSE you love the way it makes you feel and you made a conscious decision to prioritize it over those few extra minutes of sleep.

  • It is going to Target and browsing all of the aisles, BECAUSE you enjoy it and that’s the entertainment you are choosing.

  • It is getting take out from a restaurant so you don’t have to cook, BECAUSE it’s your favorite meal and you decide that you want that pizza and you know for a fact that nothing on this planet can bring you the joy that you know that pizza is going to bring.

See the difference? If you do, you get a gold star for interpreting counselor speak! If you don’t, let’s break it down a little more. Self-care can be absolutely anything you decide it to be if as long as you make a deliberate decision to do something just for yourself. Intentionality is the key. It’s self-care because you want to gift that time, that effort to yourself and you are consciously making that choice. Having an enjoyable moment is lucky and great, but it is not self-care. Setting aside time for yourself because you made a choice to do something for yourself, is self-care.

“But isn’t that selfish? I have responsibilities! I have a never-ending list of things to do! How on earth can I find time to do anything else? I don’t want to let everyone else down!” Got it. We all do. But there’s an old expression – “You can’t fill other’s cups from an empty vessel.” If you want to be on your best game, you gotta fill your own vessel first. Self-care isn’t just for you. You will be less irritable, more focused, model good habits and generally enjoy everyone around you more when you accept and address that you need to add yourself to your priority list.

Take care of yourself. Go fill that vessel!

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