There’s no doubt that today’s society markets self-care as a privilege. It’s portrayed as luxurious bubble baths, face masks, a glass of wine, and other niceties aimed towards those who deserve a break from taking care of everyone else. This portrayal is misleading and makes self-care unattainable for a large portion of the population. This month, let’s try to reframe how we think about caring for ourselves and expand it to include the mundane, monotonous, day-to-day responsibilities we choose to fulfill and make self-care inclusive for all ages, genders, and seasons of life.
At the end of the day, self-care isn’t a privilege; it’s a discipline. Caring for ourselves is something we must do in order to survive and thrive, not just something we get to do in our free time. Sure, it can look like bubble baths and candlelight, but it also includes tasks such as making a dentist appointment, paying our bills, setting boundaries, and not responding to emails at home. It can include saying no to something or someone, asking for help, coming to our yoga mat, and delegating nonessentials to others. Self-care is idealized when its true nature is one of necessity.
Without the discipline to take care of ourselves we risk leading a life we have little control over. In reality, self-care isn’t nearly as glamorous as it’s made out to be and it can actually be pretty boring. Who enjoys flossing, remembering to set an alarm, and saying no to people? Yet these things are necessities if we want to show up for ourselves and others and grow into the next best version of ourselves. We can’t pour from an empty cup and denying ourselves the care and love that we deserve from ourselves will only leave us feeling worn out and stressed.
It sounds cliché, but we have to give ourselves the love that we want to give to
everyone else. It’s easy to give to others, but taking time to love ourselves is a bit more of a challenge. Expanding our lens on self-care to include our responsibilities allows us to more easily give back to ourselves. This reciprocal process makes caring for ourselves into a discipline rather than a privilege. It encourages us to look at the tedious little tasks as acts of love. It also reassures us that we do so much for ourselves on a day-to-day basis and helps us see how impactful we are in our own lives and others'.
Let’s challenge ourselves to recognize the discipline we cultivate in caring for ourselves and strengthen it to better serv e ourselv es and others.
-Hannah Chapman, YS Student Advisor & Blogger