Every single time that I open my Pinterest, I see a ton of self-care posts about home spa days and pedicures. I get it. I’ve even wrote posts that talk about similar tasks when you need a break from the hustle and bustle of life. However, there is a realistic, and perhaps “ugly” side to self-care.
It’s a bit sad that self-care had to become a trend for people to realize that they need to take better care of their mental and physical health. Self-care shouldn’t be left to being a last resort after exhausting ourselves to our breaking point. Self-care should be a constant string of choices that help your life become something you don’t have to hide from.
The realistic side to self-care goes beyond a bubble bath after a long day. It’s about taking care of yourself day-in and day-out. True self-care should be a routine that you implement regularly. I’m not saying bubble baths are a no go. I will continue to recommend them, since they can make you feel better. However, there’s more to this than a trend and fresh manicure when you need a pick me up.
The Bigger Picture
With the start of a new decade, so many are hoping on the self-care bandwagon. They aren’t at fault for wanting to take better care of themselves, but there’s a bigger picture with self-care that a lot of people forget about. As women, we’ve already become conditioned by consumer driven self-care.
Treating ourselves with this and that is all fine and dandy, but self-care is bigger than that. It’s like momming yourself by making the right choices for you mental and physical health. Too often do we use self-care as an excuse to “fix” ourselves. We should be learning how to love and accept ourselves by continually making choices that allow us to do just that.
Those bubble baths that are always recommended, even by me, are meant to aid in your enjoyment of life rather than hiding from it. Self-care is bigger than a temporary Band-Aid or products you find at Target. It’s loving yourself enough to make continual choices for your health and mental well-being.
There are aspects to self-care that don’t come in pretty packages we can share on our Instagram stories. These aspects and tasks are important though, because they deal with the energy and situations we surround ourselves with, including our own.
1. Learning to Say No to Others & Yes to Ourselves
This concept is important for self-care, because so many of us allow others to take advantage when we don’t know how to say no. I’m guilty of this. Sometimes, we need to learn to say no to others, because what they want from us can be toxic and draining.
We need to say yes to our needs and wants, first and foremost. For example, I’m continually asked to help people draft up this or create that. There are certain tasks that I genuinely love to do, but there are also others that I initially say no to that I am then talked into out of guilt. Being a busy work-at-home mom leaves me little time to do my own projects, let alone others.
Time and time again, I felt guilted into putting others requests before my needs and wants. Learning to say no can be a challenge, because we often feel like it makes us a bad person. Learning to say no to others but yes to you is an important part of self-care. It’s self-care, not their-care.
2. Out-Growing and Cutting Off Toxic Friends and Family
I have believed in this as self-care for a long time. However, a lot of people hold on to the concept of “well, that’s my friend or family.” Just because someone has known you for a long time, even forever, doesn’t mean they aren’t a toxic presence in your life.
I used to have a very close friend who said awful things about my kids and husband but tried to play it off as a joke. She would put me down and call me meek. One day I made a comment about learning to love our bodies, and she started telling everyone I was fat-shaming her. I’ll give you a minute to go read my endless amount of posts on body acceptance, because fat-shaming is obviously something I would never do to someone.
She had a way of always making me out to be this weak but crude person, and that was the furthest from who I was and am. Her comments were considered “jokes,” but really, she was a mean girl. Confronting her and ending our friendship resulted in a lot of people turning against me. Guess what, it was the freest feeling ever.
Regardless of your relationship to someone, if they make you feel bad about yourself, put you down, or are just a toxic presence in your life, cut them out. I completely understand the challenges with family in this aspect. Hell, I had to cut my family out of my life for years until they treated me better. The point is, you need to keep the energy around you positive. Don’t let others continually put you down.
3. Movement Matters
Despite being a blog called Housewife Hustle, I do believe the glorification of being busy is the wrong approach to making your goals and dreams happen. Rest is so incredibly important, and we shouldn’t be consumed with the idea of a constant hustle. At the same time, movement matters. Plus, you can over do it with resting, which will result in a continuous fatigue.
I’m all for a rest day when you’ve pushed yourself to the limits, but I do see many people using self-care as their excuse to cut to out movement. I may be pro body acceptance and anti-diet, but I am not against exercise. In fact, yoga helps me keep my sanity is apart of my self-care.
This is not me telling you that conventional exercise and going to the gym are necessary for self-care. This is me telling you to incorporate movement into your daily routine so you feel better mentally and physically. Our bodies deserve care, and they require movement so everything inside of us flows the way it needs to.
4. Organize & Clean Your Space
Fold the laundry. Do the dishes. Organize your space. I hate laundry just as much as the next person, but shouting self-care and hopping in a tub rather than putting clothes away is only going to make me temporarily happy. Cleaning isn’t a favorite task for a lot of people, but having a clean living space can do you some good.
When we organize our homes, our lives feel less chaotic. Making lists, keeping a schedule, and even planning out our days on paper can relieve a lot of stress. It gives us something to follow and helps with motivation. Organization can really set you free once you get past seeing it as a chore. It’s a necessary task for self-care.
5. Get Dressed
This is not me coming for those moms that live in leggings or pjs. I’m typing this out in pjs, although I’m also currently doing 4 loads of laundry as well. Getting dressed, even if we aren’t going anywhere, is good for us.
When you do the simple things like make your bed and get dressed in the morning, you’re sending a signal to you mind and body. You’re saying, “let’s be productive, and get shit done.” It feels refreshing to not runaround in lounge wear all of the time. I hate bras and buttons too sometimes, so try finding some balance with what you wear and when you wear it.
6. Change Your Social Media Feeds & Habits
Unplugging can be important. Going through your social media feeds and getting rid of toxic content can be just as important as unplugging. Fill your feeds with positivity, motivation, and things that just make you genuinely happy.
Stop the hate liking and scrolling before bed. Work on when you’re on social media and for how long as well. As a blogger and influencer, social media is apart of my job, but I have schedules for when I’m on. I also only follow accounts that make me feel good. Changing my social media habits helped me in more ways than I realized.
7. Create a Bedtime Routine
Having routine that helps us to unwind before bed is important. Sleep is so incredibly important for our bodies and minds. You can’t have self-care if you don’t include sleep, because sleep does wonders for our physical and mental health.
When we sleep, our bodies repair themselves. Rest is good for the soul. Remember that too much sleep can be bad for you though. I know a few people who sleep way too much, and they are constantly sick or complaining of feeling “blah.” Movement is good for you just like sleep, so again, find your balance.
8. Continue to Learn & Stimulate Your Brain
Read something more than a beauty magazine or horoscope. Pick up a book. Learn something new. Stimulating your brain may feel like you are back in school, but school is required for a reason- learning is good for you!
9. Learn to Let Go
I had a terrible time with this part of self-care. For too long, I was offended by every little thing and took so much personally. I held grudges and just couldn’t let go. There’s a great rule to this. If it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes upset or affected by it.
Learn to let go and focus on the important things in life. You’ll feel mentally lighter once you learn to let go of the superficial things or things that don’t really matter. Also, mind your business. If it’s not about you, don’t make it about you. Focus on yourself. Again, self-care starts with self for a reason.
10. Repeat Forever
Don’t just do these things once you feel burnt out. You should create a routine for your life and repeat these types of tasks forever. Don’t just have an emergency self-care routine for when things get rough. Create a self-care shield. Let it become a routine that keeps you happy, healthy, and continually thriving for the rest of ever. Make self-care a life priority rather than an occasional task list.
You Can Still Take Bubble Baths
I didn’t write this for you to feel guilty by enjoying a bubble bath and getting your nails done when you’re stressed out and overwhelmed by life. You can still take that bath, and you can still treat yourself. Just don’t allow the idea of treating yourself to become the only form of self-care that you know. Because, that’s not really true self-care. There’s a bigger picture than just pampering and doing what feels like an escape from the overwhelming moments of life.
Try creating a routine that has some of the “ugly” side of self-care coupled with the treating yourself tasks if it helps you to ease into it all. Find a balance that works for you, but remember that true self-care isn’t always easy and filled with glitter and fluffy slippers. It’s about doing what’s best for us mentally and physically so we can live our best lives and grow.
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What are some of your favorite self-care tasks? What are some that are hard for you? Let’s chat!