If you have read any of my blogs or know anything about me…I am not a big fan of the term self care.
The reason I’m not a fan is because it’s such a subjective term. What it means for me is different than what it means for you and for the next person…and while we’re on the topic…what does it mean again?
This past weekend, I was visiting the Adirondacks with some of my family. My mom kept bringing up self care. She was bringing it up with the best intentions, making sure her kids (including me) are taking care of themselves, being kind to themselves, and generally happy despite the global pandemic. It made me think…is this the new way of saying “How are things?”…what would happen if people who hadn’t seen each other in a long time asked “How have you been practicing self care” versus “How’s life” or “How are things”?…I wonder how conversations would change…my mom tested this out without even realizing it. It definitely led to more positive conversations with family members, talking about achieving goals, exercising, and positive things going on in our lives rather than complaining about Susan at the office.
My theory may not be fool proof though. After my mom asked me if I was practicing self care, I asked my mom and dad how they were practicing self care. My mom, who has more of an understanding, responded with talking about how she has been doing a guided journal based on the recommendation from her therapist. When I turned to my dad to ask him about self care…his response was “I always practice self care, I care!” When I pressed my dad further, about what he cared about, he responded and said “Everything!”…although I appreciate my dad’s enthusiasm and loving attitude, I don’t think he really understands self care, the term self care, or what it means to practice self care. Sooooooo…I don’t know how my dad’s doing other than the fact that he cares about everything 😊
Back to my point though…what if we started asking people:
How have you been loving yourself lately?
How have we been showing up authentically for yourself lately?
Give me an example of a time recently where you put your needs first in order to honor your mental health.
Maybe, just maybe, I don’t have to use the despised term self care, to actually promote self care. Maybe, by changing the conversation just a little bit, we can promote self care. (Don’t worry, I gave my dad examples of how he can take care of himself and told him I’d be following up with him on it).