There’s a Whole Latte “Self-Care” Going On!
After glancing at the third cheery snapshot of friends’ double-caramel triple whipped cream venti mochas on social media one day, under the heading of “self-care,” I decided to delve into the question that has been burning in my mind for months now. What is the difference between “self-care” and “self-indulgence?” How do I know if my ice cream splurge is self-care, or simply an excuse to indulge in a favorite treat? Thankfully, I am not the first person to ask this question, and I found so much good information.
According to the experts, self-care is not selfish when it is done right; it’s actually more of a discipline than an indulgence. The goal of self-care is to boost your health and well-being, both mentally and physically. This may look a bit different in each of us, but there are some guidelines that we can use to help ourselves figure out what self-care should look like for us. First, there are some questions that you can ask before you engage in an activity:
- Why am I doing this, and what are the consequences?
- Will I feel better when I am finished, or will I have guilt?
- Does it improve or restore my mental or physical health?
- Does it have long-term benefits?
- Is it intentional and purposeful?
- Will it help me to build a happy, satisfied life?
- Am I getting closer to feeling the way I want to feel or reaching goals that I want to reach?
I also learned some other interesting things about both self-care and self-indulgence:
- Without moderation, self-care can become self-indulgence.
- Sometimes self-care actually involves others, such as repairing a broken relationship.
- Self-care strengthens, nourishes, develops who we are at our core.
- Self-indulgence feels really good, but has no additional benefit other than feeling really good.
Nearly all of the experts agree that there is nothing wrong with an occasional self-indulgence. Go ahead and enjoy that latte or ice cream sundae. But try not to confuse self-absorption or splurges with things that genuinely boost your mental and physical health. Self-care isn’t selfish at all when it’s done right.
The following paragraph really summed it up for me. It is written by Tami Forman in Forbes magazine (no relationship, though we share last names.)
“Ironically when you truly care for yourself, exercising all the discipline that requires, you are actually in a much stronger place to give of yourself to those around you. You will be a happier parent, a more grateful spouse, a fully engaged colleague. Those who take care of themselves have the energy to take care of others joyfully because that caregiving doesn’t come at their own expense. And those who take care of themselves also have the energy to work with meaning and purpose toward a worthy goal. Which means they are also the people most likely to make the world a better place for all of us.”
Here’s to all of us as we take care of ourselves, so we can be the best possible friend, guide, mentor, caregiver, or Nana as possible! Now, off to find my own self-care routine. I’ll report back!
Photo cred: Zoe on Unsplash