Not Always Rainbows and Butterflies: The Realities of Self-Care

Bath bombs, staying in to binge on Netflix, staying lowkey on social media, and getting a new hairdo after a painful breakup––self-care is one of the greatest things we can invest our time in; but it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. 

Self-care can get difficult; ugly, even. 

I remember my initial perception of what self-care looked like when I went through a recent breakup; I cut my hair about a week after, I started exercising on a regular basis, and I even isolated myself for a bit so I could focus on work. Then I realised that while these were definitely the steps toward healing, the ultimate form of self-care I had to engage in was actually letting my ex go, both physically and emotionally––and it wasn’t easy. 

With that said, sometimes (if not all the time), going through pain and fully embracing it is the ultimate form of self-care. Cutting off the people who aren’t good for your mental health, no matter how much you want to keep them in your life, is a form of self-care; forcing yourself to hop into the shower, no matter how bad your mental state is and how difficult it is to get out of bed, is a form of self-care. 

When asked about different people’s forms of self-care, the majority of people claim that their go-to method would be to disappear for a day; allowing themselves to breathe, and to spend some time alone. Other people say they choose not to do anything, while other people decide to stay busy. 

The bottomline is that self-care is overly romanticized by the media, and although taking care of ourselves is beautiful, it can be equally as ugly at the exact same time. 

We must remember that if we want the benefits of care, we must put in the groundwork. Groundwork includes detoxing from things that bring us negativity; the things that hinder self-growth, and bring unnecessary stress into our lives. Self-care is also a form of self-allowance; allowing us to do the things we would normally feel guilty for; forgiving ourselves, loving ourselves, and letting go of fear and unnecessary resentment is exactly what self-allowance looks like. 

We musn’t also forget the few minutes of solitude we get to experience on a daily basis; the few minutes we have alone when we take a shower, or the one hour lunch break we get at the office––these are the perfect and most precious moments we could use to reflect on the people we are today; do we like who we are? Do we like the people we’re about to become? Have we improved from the characters we had a year ago? Have we grown?

We don’t have all the answers to our questions and being okay with this is self-care. 

The important thing to remember is that we all have our own versions and perceptions of what we need to do in order to improve; in order to take care of ourselves. Allow yourself to cry, allow yourself to try, and allow yourself to feel––we all have our support systems, we will never leave ourselves. 

Never feel guilty for caring for yourself. We’re all apart, together. 

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