I recently read an Instagram post that asked just this. It stopped me in my tracks. What an outstanding question. I thought about all the things I do in the name of self-care, that I believe are necessary for me to be well. After seeing this question, I decided to look at it from an outside perspective. I believe some in my immediate circle of people would think that my self-care routines are self-indulgent, not necessary and really over the top.
These are most likely the same people that I wish would do more for themselves, add more self-care into their own lives.
For example, I noticed that their sweet new baby has “special” organic milk – yet their milk is the cheapest (gmo laced) milk on the market. These peeps won’t even buy good milk for themselves in the name of self-care! I compared this situation to the in-flight passenger announcements at the beginning of every flight. “If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.” To me it's common sense to all be drinking the organic milk. As they roll their eyes at my "in-flight" comparison.
We’re at opposite ends of this spectrum, obviously.
Since becoming a pop culture phenomenon, doing things in the name of #selfcare has taken on a whole new meaning. Where do you draw the line between what feels good and what is actually good for you? Is buying the good milk a version of self-care? Is lathering yourself in luxurious organic creams and oils self care? Is sleeping until noon?
Let’s take a step back.
I think true self-care comes when you think about your long-term happiness and well-being. It’s about understanding your boundaries and not setting yourself back by going beyond what’s essential. That’s where it becomes indulgent, right?
But where is that line drawn? I guess it’s different for everyone.
One person’s indulgent is another’s everyday routine.
It was throughout this introspection that I had a thought: Self care is a daily ritual, while indulgence is a once in a while – what the heck – let’s do it – sort of thing. The decision to self-indulge provides instant gratification, although the decision to invest in self-care may not.
Self-care is about taking care of ourselves. Yes, sometimes that means ordering dessert or not leaving bed on a Sunday. But in order to holistically — mind, body and soul — show we value ourselves, there has to be balance. That balance is challenging and takes effort. Prioritizing our time and checking in with ourselves are the first steps. The more consciously you focus on the balance, the better you will ultimately feel. And isn’t that the point of self-care, after all?
I’ve discovered through the “good milk” story, self-care is not a one-size-fits-all mentality. Maybe my version involves a face mask and essentially avoiding any and all human interaction, while yours is more like dinner in the city and great conversation. Treating yourself to those little luxuries from time to time is necessary. Healthy indulgences are small actions that help restore a sense of balance in our busy lives, and they are very necessary for happiness. The real challenge is figuring out what is important enough to add to the daily self-care list and what ultimately belongs in the indulgence category.
P.S. My "good milk" people brought a cheese ball barrel to my house this weekend and refused to take it home in the name of some good old fashion self-indulgence.