We Have Misdefined Self-Care

If you were to make a list of the most popular buzzwords and phrases of the year, ‘self-care’ would be pretty darn close to the top.

Our capitalist society has had a FIELD DAY with the surging emphasis on taking care of yourself. Is it really a beauty department if there’s not an aisle dedicated to face masks? Heck, even I have a mug that reads, “Treat yo’ self.”

The problem, which comes any time we try to boil down a necessary human function into something easily consumable, is that the American conception of self-care has been completely misdefined.

Yes, self-care sometimes equates to withdrawal, relaxation, and treating yourself (also known as face masks, Netflix and chill, or that Starbucks order you wouldn’t usually get). However, culture likes to act as if this is the epitome of self-care, when it’s really not.

Self-care is exactly that: caring for yourself. It doesn’t always come in the form of something easy, comforting, or packaged in a beauty aisle. Self-care includes the difficult and mundane.

Exercising daily because your body needs it is self-care.

Getting up early because you know your day won’t feel the same if you don’t is self-care.

Sometimes getting out and serving another person is self-care because it does wonders for your soul and your walk with Jesus.

If we only emphasize the Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford ‘treat yo’ self’ form of self-care, then we really haven’t reached the goal at all. Caring for yourself is not as simple as taking a luxury vacation or applying face masks until your skin can’t take it anymore. If it was that simple, we would have a culture of calm and collected people, not the harried mess we currently possess.

Self-care requires doing what’s best for you in all realms: soul, mind, and body. It’s not always fun, but loving and caring for yourself in healthy and whole ways instead of the Instagrammable way pays off. It’s hard to love others like you should when you’re not caring for yourself as needed.

This week, think about what steps you can take to care for yourself and your soul as best you can. It might not be worthy of a Pinterest quote or Insta post, but you better believe that those steps will help you to love, serve, and live from a better place.

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