Do I really have to ask? Yes! Yes, I do because it took me little bit to make the distinction between self indulgence and self care.
Picture this: Your sitting in front of your TV, in your fanciest sweats, binging Stranger Things knuckle deep in a pint of Soy Delicious? Self care or self indulgence? Well, that depends. Is that what you're feeling you need to get some balance back? Then it's self care. Is it merely a continuation of the same scene from last night? Maybe, then, it's falling over that cliff into self indulgence. No biggie, we all go there sometimes.
The point is that self care is a practice. It's conscious effort and action that you do for yourself. I'd call it a discipline but using that word really strips the fun out of it. So, let's call it a practice.
In my book (title to be determined, publish date still a big ol' mystery) about a time in my life where I felt like I didn't know myself. That stemmed from severe insecurities and a long-running negative conversation that ran in my head all day long. I didn't notice any of the kind things that I did for myself if I was even doing anything nice for me at all. If I exercised, it was because I was too fat, not because I enjoy my healthy body and without it I wouldn't be enjoying my life, my kids, food, you name it. If I did plop down in front of the TV it was because I was lazy and unmotivated, not because I was feeling run down and just needed time to decompress.
My relationships with other people, women in particular, were difficult because I always felt less than. There was a constant comparison and I never, ever was good enough in my own mind.
When I started to take my own self care more seriously, I began to look differently at the ways in which I was already caring for myself. Instead of taking that hour long gym class and then still lamenting about my lumpy thighs, I focused on what that class just did for me. It made me feel good. That class got my heart pumping and I was smiling for an hour and that makes it, and me, worth it.
Defining self care is a worthwhile conversation to have with yourself because it will help put into perspective the things that you're already doing in your life. It also takes the guilt out of taking the time to give yourself what you need and it also proves to yourself that you have value, something that goes far beyond just making you feel good. Knowing that you value yourself will lead to stronger relationships with other people. You will let go of your insecurities because you will know and understand yourself so much more and you will feel grounded in confident in who you are in the world.
Self care also involves keeping up with your yearly checkups, making that appointment with the therapist that you've been meaning to see, cooking yourself and your family a good meal. There are so many avenues to go down when we are talking about self care and it's important that we're all on the same page as to what it actually is so that it makes sense in our lives.
~Here's to helping yourself!