4 Ways To Make Your Self-Care Expectations Match Reality
Self-care is too crucial to overlook, especially in our hectic, fast-paced world. But when so many things demand our attention– from work to family obligations and everything in between– it can feel like there's no time left for ourselves. So is it possible for expectations to match reality when it comes to self-care?
Self-Care: Expectations vs. Reality
You already know it's crucial to slow down and take care of yourself. You've likely heard the quote, "you can't pour from an empty vessel," meaning you must take care of yourself first before giving care to others.
If you believe it's necessary to practice self-care in order to show up as the best version of yourself for the ones you love, then you must give yourself the space and time to care for yourself. No excuses.
But, who has time for all that?
The good news is that you will once you realize that self-care doesn't have to be time-consuming, expensive, or extensive.
Here are 4 ways you can match your expectations about self-care with reality.
Realize that self-care isn't the same for everyone.
If the thought of being left alone with your thoughts in a candle-lit bathroom while soaking in a hot tub gives you more anxiety than comfort, you're not alone. And yet, a nice soak is a self-care go-to for many.
The point here is to recognize what your best friend or favorite influencer might find relaxing may not be the same for you – and that's okay! Self-care isn't the same for everyone, and there are plenty of ways to recharge.
For some individuals, the best way to relax may be by taking a pleasant stroll in the park. For others, it might be getting a massage. For others, relaxation means simply taking a moment to smell the flowers or curl up on the couch with a warm cup of tea and a book.
Whatever the case, it's essential to identify the activities and times you feel most at peace.
Notice when your swirling thoughts are quiet, when you feel at ease, and when you feel a sense of relief or satisfaction. Then, when you pinpoint those activities, incorporate them intentionally into your daily routine.
Understand that self-care is not a cure.
Compassion fatigue, burnout, and depression are very real and very serious. Self-care can help prevent these things, to some extent, and aid in your recovery. But self-care alone is not a cure.
For example, burnout is incredibly difficult to recover from, and it can take months or a year to feel like yourself fully. Moreover, once you burn out, recovery can be a long and treacherous road to navigate. And a one-time visit to the spa isn't likely to do the trick.
Self-care shouldn't be used as a "cure-all" when you feel like you're at your breaking point. There is no substitute for professional medical care. So when you need help, reach out.
Self-care is most effective when used as a preventative tool. The easiest way to stay on top of your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being is to incorporate self-care rituals into your daily or weekly routine.
Take a moment to step back when you start to feel overwhelmed. Check in with yourself and recognize when you're approaching that precarious edge of the cliff. Making this seemingly insignificant act of stepping back and checking in a habit can make the difference between a single difficult day and a long-suffering bout of self-neglect.
Remember that self-care is not only about taking care of your physical body. It's also about maintaining your emotional and spiritual well-being and safeguarding your energy.
And that means protecting your boundaries. Self-care can help you keep your boundaries resilient and strong. For example, do you have a particular friend or family member who calls often, and you dread picking up the phone, knowing that you'll be exhausted after the conversation? Don't feel obligated to pick up every phone call. Instead, call them back when you're fully recharged and in a better mental space so you can give them the best version of yourself.
Self-care doesn't have to take a long time.
Does it ever feel like there's not enough time in the day? You're not alone.
On top of that, a rigorous schedule filled with work, family obligations, and stressors may leave you exhausted at the end of your day and ready to crash. So when you feel like you can't even catch a break and breathe and are too exhausted at the end of your day to care, how are you supposed to practice self-care?
The good news is that self-care doesn't have to take a long time. And it doesn't have to be a complicated or extensive process.
You can incorporate small, simple acts of self-care into your daily routine to rejuvenate yourself. For example, simply taking a deep breath now and then, stretching while seated at your desk, or taking an extra moment to observe a beautiful view are all acts of self-care.
You work hard and deserve to set aside at least ten to twenty minutes for yourself each day. Use the time for anything that helps you disconnect and create a reset from your usual daily stressors, whether it's meditating, reading, journaling, or just sitting and watching the grass grow.
Time-Saving Ideas from Naturemary
- Do your feet ache after a long day? Take a few minutes to soak them in a warm shallow bath once you get home. Follow up with a pain-relieving balm like our Dream Feet Pedicure & Moisturizing Stick.
- Only have a few minutes in the wee morning hours before you have to rouse the kids for school? Then, make your skincare routine more soothing and remove facial tension with a Contouring & Sculpting Gua Sha Stone!
- Love a nice soak but don't want to spend an hour in the tub? Our Bath Teas will quickly melt away any aches and pains while revitalizing your skin!
Get creative! There are many ways to squeeze in a bit of self-care here and there to feel your best!
Self-care is for you.
Your self-care is yours and yours alone. Your self-care routine doesn't have to be extravagant, expensive, time-consuming, or like anything you see on social media. In fact, it doesn't have to be a "routine" at all, but self-care does need to be part of your daily life.
What matters is that you have self-care activities built into your life that are effective in helping you dispel stress and feel good.
Take that long soak in the tub, a brisk evening walk, or close your eyes briefly and breathe deeply. Whatever makes you feel your best.
The impact of your self-care can drastically reduce your stress levels and invigorate you, preventing burnout and ensuring your vessel is full enough to give of yourself to others.
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About The Author
Jasmine is a writer who is passionate about self-care and skincare. She has over eight years of experience in specialty retail in the bath, body, and personal care industries. After a long day, Jasmine practices self-care by curling up in bed with a book and a hot cup of tea.