Recently I was reflecting on the meaning of self-care and listening to some talks about self-care. However, many things I heard, I was like.. okay, I guess they might help to a certain extent but I think self-care is a lot deeper than just the activities that we do each day.
How many of you have attended talks teaching you about self-care and saying things like, eat right, exercise right, practice yoga, do some mediations, but then you don’t truly buy into it or you feel like you’re already doing it but then you still feel awful? I’ve been there, I have experienced feeling crappy despite living a relatively well-disciplined life. I am very grateful for myself because I think that I am relatively self-motivated and usually don’t procrastinate too much on a task.
I have cultivated good habits like sleeping early, waking up early, trying to watch my diet, exercising and meditating almost daily but yet in the past, I still felt like crap. Some days felt so meh and I just felt down. On the outside, looking in, I am doing everything right (on paper). Eat healthy, sleep healthy, hang out with friends, exercise, meditate, work, but some how, something still felt wrong.
Superficial self-care vs. caring for your true inner-self…
I learned about what self-care is through my own journey as a human being. Self-care when just done superficially, might help for a bit, but it does not solve underlying emotional pain that might be simmering deeper within ourselves. When we engage in self-care exercises, we need to look at the reason we are doing it, how we are speaking to ourselves as we are doing it, and be fully aware of how it helps us out. For example, when you’re engaging in self-care activities what do you say to yourself? Do you speak to yourself with kind words, or do you shame yourself for taking a break?
Taking the steps towards physical self-care is important, but just as important is learning to build a better relationship with ourselves, speaking kindly to ourselves, and truly wanting the best for ourselves. Combining truly wanting the best for ourselves, being kind, and engaging in healthy physical self-care techniques, this is what will make a big difference in our lives.
What self-care means to a Psychologist in Singapore
- Sleep early, wake up early
- Be flexible, don’t have rigid rules
- Accept that I will make mistakes too and don’t beat myself up on it
- Trying to be more aware of my emotions and understanding why I take certain actions
- Learning to stand up more for myself and not play victim
- Being kind to myself and others
- Exercising almost every day
- Trying to build a better relationship with food (This is one of the hardest)
- Learning to be more accepting of others and allow people to live their lives in the best way they know how
- Lowering my expectations at work and of myself
- Building boundaries
- Practicing mindfulness
and many many more.
I write about this because I think it’s important for everyone to rethink the word self-care, when you think about self-care, it isn’t just about building good physical habits, it’s also about learning to be aware of your own emotions, your own inner pains, and learning to be able to care for those pains as well.
Counselling as a self-care strategy
I think that another essential part about self-care is remembering to make time to talk about yourself. Personally, I believe that counselling is important as an addition to our self-care regime. We need to have self-care to take care of ourselves, and to take care of our wellbeing. We spend so much time focusing on the needs of others, whether it’s work, family, friends, we also need to take some time to just talk about ourselves.
Remember, you are not special, you are just like everyone else. Since you’re just like everyone else, you deserve the same treatment, the same care, the same love, and the same kindness. Let go of the ego, let go of the concept of “self”. When you do, resentment, anger, hate, disgust, and other negative emotions will slowly be let out, and in will flow a more positive stream of calmness, peace, and contentment.