Living Well: Let’s Stop Calling it Self-Care

Living Well: Let’s Stop Calling it Self-Care

 It is Sunday afternoon, and as I write this, I have on one of those scary (but super on-trend) hockey goalie skin face masks. This one is supposed to brighten and refresh — let’s see. 

I have about five of these lovely masks in my bathroom drawer but this is the first time I’m actually using one. It’s not because I don’t believe in the benefits or because I don’t care about my skin. It’s more that to take twenty minutes to do something just for your skin (and for myself) feels like a complete and utter luxury. Meanwhile, how easy is it for twenty minutes to pass by while scrolling on your phone?

To me, taking care of myself has always meant eating well, being active, learning and growing, having a support system, giving yourself time and space for reflection and asking for help when you need it. These important and very useful learnings came from living through situations where they literally helped me to emotionally survive. But as I move through new stages in life, I’m realizing that my perspective on self-care needs to change as well.

When you’re suffering, or in emotional pain, self-care gets you through. But (thank goodness) we aren’t always just trying to get through. So how does self-care play a role when you want to thrive and expand and grow? Or even if you just want to be?

Self-care can be play. It can be giving yourself time to be creative. It could be giving yourself permission to take the WHOLE weekend off. It could be spending an extra 10 minutes on your make-up just for fun.

Self-care can be trying something new. It can be unplugging for 24 hours. It can be letting yourself feel bored (and actually feeling the discomfort that comes along with that boredom). 

You know what is crazy? 

Self-care just means to take care of yourself. And doesn’t that really just mean to LIVE 

Self-care is about being in the moment, knowing what you need and acting on it, doing more of the things you love, and living a good life day by day.

Why are we forgetting how to do that? Is that why we need so many reminders (google “self-care” and you will get one billion articles on the topic)? And if so, why? Why have we forgotten how to live and live well?

I have a bunch of theories (our obsession with celebrities, an over-emphasis on attainment of material goods, over-consumption of media (we are practically drowning in it!), the addictive lure of technology, an obsession with always being “productive”) which I’d love to reflect on another day, but today, as it is the beginning of these precious few months of summer, I’m saying this: 

Let’s stop having to “care” for ourselves and do what we are here on this planet to do which is to live and live well.

This summer, I challenge you to wake up every morning and choose to live well. Here are some ways I plan on to follow through on that — I hope you make your own list!

  1. Flip through some of your favourite old books
  2. Go out of your way to be extra kind to someone
  3. If you see a beautiful summer dress buy it immediately (you’ll never find one when you’re looking for it!) 
  4. Say yes to things that make you smile and feel energized
  5. Shop every farmers market you can
  6. Leave your phone at home as often as possible
  7. Go for walks at sunset and admire the gardens in your neighbourhood 
  8. Do not feel guilty about ice cream!
  9. Cook with fresh herbs
  10. Eat outside as often as you can (balcony, picnic blanket, rooftop, backyard,wherever!)
Quit hanging on to the handrails . . . Let go. Surrender. Go for the ride of your life. Do it every day.  –  Melody Beattie

I’m all for meditation, yoga, baths, journalling, tea rituals and spa days. These are all wonderful things. But we shouldn’t have to “carve out” time to take care of ourselves. Self-care shouldn’t be yet another thing on our to-do lists. It shouldn’t be yet another thing we feel guilty for not doing. Instead of focusing on self-care, why don’t we try focusing on just doing what we are meant to do.

We are meant to live. So just live well. Every day, wake up and commit to living well. Doesn’t that sound so much simpler and a lot more fun?