by Carmen Catterfield, MA, Honeybee Healing & Counseling Services
After a year like 2020, self-care has become an important goal to add to your New Year’s resolution list. However, while we know we need it, we may not know what self-care really is or what it looks like.
Popular culture tells us it’s about bingeing Netflix, eating ice cream or treating yourself to an indulgence. While important, such things may not always give you deep, long-lasting nourishment. Expand the way you think about self-care.
Create a life you don’t need to escape
Self-care has become synonymous with the idea of escaping or numbing. What if we could create a life we didn’t have to run away from? Where would you start? What are the things that drain you the most? How could you change them? Answering these questions is hard.
We often learn to tolerate stress so we don’t have to face the things we don’t want to change. You may need to start saying “No” to people or obligations; start practicing boundaries with your time and relationships. You may need to shift your priorities or look at the emotional pain you’ve been avoiding. Hard at first, but ultimately this will produce longer-lasting results than bingeing your favorite show.
Remember you are worth more than your productivity
So many of us have internalized the idea that our self-worth is synonymous with our productivity. If you struggle with giving yourself permission to rest, this may be an important place to start when thinking about self-care.
Reflect on the messages you received from your family, social circle and popular culture about what rest means. See if you can challenge some of the negative messaging and carve out intentional time in your schedule to allow yourself to “do nothing” without shame and judgment attached to it.
Protect your joy
Now, more than ever, it is important to hold onto and prioritize the things that bring us joy, not just distraction from pain. Let 2021 become the year your joy and self-care becomes non-negotiable.