The wine down

Recently, I’ve been part conversations where the topic of self-care has come up. Unfortunately, many of the behaviors given as examples of self-care have been anything but.

Self-care is the deliberate act of taking care of your own physical, emotional, and mental well-being. It involves engaging in activities and practices that promote overall health, wellbeing, and personal growth. Good self-care practices are essential for maintaining a balance in life and building resilience to get through challenging times.

Good self-care practices range from getting plenty of sleep and eating nutritious meals to physical activity and staying hydrated. They can also include taking time to pray or meditate, reading a good book, or spending time in nature, among other generative activities.

Here’s what isn’t self-care:

  1. Neglecting responsibilities: Self-care is not an excuse to avoid important tasks or shirk responsibilities. Although it’s essential to take breaks, self-care should not lead to a lack of accountability.
  2. Substance abuse: Turning to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism is not self-care. It may provide temporary relief, but in the long run, it can negatively impact mental and physical health. That daily glass (or four) of wine in the evening isn’t self-care. We need to be careful with confusing a treat (or self-medication) for a wellbeing practice.
  3. Overindulgence: Speaking of treats, we should absolutely enjoy them occasionally. However, overindulgence in food, shopping, or other activities can lead to negative consequences and ultimately harm our well-being.
  4. Constantly seeking validation: Relying on external validation or seeking approval from others for self-worth is not self-care. True self-care involves cultivating self-compassion and self-love from within. It is unlikely you’ll find this on Instagram.
  5. Comparing yourself to others: Comparing yourself to others or trying to live up to unrealistic expectations can be detrimental to your mental health. Self-care involves focusing on your unique journey, embracing your strengths, and working on personal growth. As Denis Morton says, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Let’s not lose precious time from our lives comparing ourselves to strangers on the internet. Their outsides will always seemingly look better than our insides.

Fundamentally, self-care is about nurturing your unique self and prioritizing your needs in a sustainable and compassionate way.

It’s about giving yourself a measure of healthy grace.

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