Self-care is becoming more popular than ever before. In fact, according to Apple, the most popular trend in apps in 2018 was around the subject of self-care (https://apps.apple.com/us/story/id1438571562). It isn’t just a trend, though. Sure, there will be people who show a keen interest in it now and then dismiss it further down the line. In reality, though, self-care is something that has always existed. We just didn’t coin the phrase and start talking about it until more recently. The reason for this is our inability to accept that self-care is not selfish.
There has been a shift in focus these days. We are now openly discussing mental health, addressing well-being, and talking about how we can do and be better. Once upon a time, neglecting your own needs to put others first was just expected. You can live in anxiety, you can deal with the anger, you can take the blows to your self-esteem, you can do all of that because you’re busy looking after everyone’s needs. That’s just not the case. As you expose yourself to stress regularly you are wearing your physical and mental health down. This doesn’t just increase your risk of anxiety, depression, and sleepless nights. It also influences the health of your heart.
No wonder we are growing more accustomed to weighing the benefits of ignoring care versus practicing self-care. Unfortunately, self-care isn’t easy and here are some of the obstacles you will likely face in your journey.
Self-care can be especially tricky if you are just now getting aboard the train. It’s easier to forget about yourself than you care to admit. You’re low on energy, you’re short on time, and you have things to deal with. Yet, you haven’t looked after yourself. You choose others and you suffer as a result. It’s fine if it’s a one-off, but the problem is it isn’t. This is a pattern of behavior and it’s difficult to overcome. The hardest part of practicing self-care is making the time for it. You have to commit to it just as you do family life, just as you do work responsibilities.
You have been neglecting yourself for years. You’d think you’re so hungry for it that anything would do. The problem is that a lot of us hold unrealistic expectations for our self-care journeys. This isn’t a magic pill that will solve all of your problems. However, if you are determined, you can influence your life for the better. Eating one healthy meal isn’t going to result in immediate weight loss. Studying briefly for a test isn’t going to ensure you pass the test. Applying for a job is not a guarantee you’ll secure the job. One music class won’t make you a classical pianist. You get the picture – self-care just isn’t easy.
You can’t jump to any conclusions where self-care is concerned. More importantly, what works for you might not work for someone else and vice versa. You may find a hot bath relaxing, but the thought of a bath is hell for others. We have our own interests, we have our own needs, and how we meet them will depend on our personality. There isn’t a single act of self-care either, there are endless possibilities.
The reason self-care isn’t easy is because we often don’t know ourselves well enough to get it right. It is impossible to meet your needs if you have no idea what your needs really are. So, start by getting to know yourself a bit deeper. You can experiment with various self-care acts and find out what works for you. If it doesn’t work, don’t force it. Just keep searching until you find your self-care.