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Jan 8

Self-Care: What is It Really?

In our high-stress world, we often hear a lot about “self-care.” Despite what many people say especially about millennial self-care, it’s not all sweets and essential oils. Self care is building a healthy life. Self-care is learning how to de-stress, feel good, and love yourself.

What is self-care?

Self-care is letting go of self-sabotage, in the form of beating yourself up, guilt, procrastination, and victimhood. It may mean taking breaks from stressful goals or toxic people. It also is a lot harder than it sounds. Self-care requires working towards good habits, like making yourself go on a budget or keeping yourself from escapism when tough times come around.

It’s doing what makes you feel truly good, like service, getting out of debt, or picking up a new physical activity just because you enjoy it. Ultimately, whether it’s relaxing or simply vital to building a better life, self-care is about making your world, including yourself, healthier and happier.

What it is not

  • Reckless indulgence. It’s great to feel good once in a while. But believing only that self-care is letting yourself eat a box of cookies could be detrimental. Remember, self-care is about building a better life for yourself.
  • Giving in to your current desires. That goes back to self-sabotage.
  • Constant consumerism. Many people mistake self-care as needing to buy special products like bath salts, soy candles, and acai bowls. However, this is costly and distracts from the real purpose of self-care.
  • Exorbitant spa days and vacations. This falls under the umbrella of consumerism and indulgence. Don’t let others tell you that you aren’t doing self-care “right” if you aren’t participating in these.

Examples of self-care


Go for a walk

Organize your room or desk

Clean part of your home

Do something physical (that you enjoy!)

Take small steps towards fixing a big problem

Cooking a healthy meal

Prioritize what’s really important (like eating and sleeping)


Learn a new skill

Relive something you love (like a book series you enjoyed growing up)

Keep track of your accomplishments

Emotional and Social

Practice “active listening” on yourself (i.e. understand what’s making you upset and saying it back to yourself with empathy)

Spend time with a loved one

Express gratitude to others

Unplug from Instagram and Facebook, whether permanent or temporary. Remember that these posts are usually idealized versions of their lives, and it can be hard to compare to. Sometimes a little distance is a good thing!

Tell yourself one great thing (or something you did well) that happened every day

Hug someone you care about or who makes you feel good



Be aware of when a form of self-care doesn’t work anymore. If it causes too much stress to keep up with a new skill or hobby and you no longer love it, it’s okay to put it down. Find something else that helps you become a better “you.”