Self care has had a bit of a buzz moment over the last few years and that is really great because everybody needs to spoil themselves on some level. But there’s just one problem, it would seem we’ve been doing it a little wrong! It turns out that self care is actually more than having a bubble bath and getting a massage..who knew hey? The thing is you really can’t polish a turd! If you are chronically stressed, chronically busy and overwhelmed, having a bubble bath once a week isn’t going to fix that. If you’re feeling anxious and tired and burnt out, having a massage once a week isn’t going to fix that either.

Real Self Care can be a Little Painful!

There’s no denying that it’s nice to do nice things for yourself, but the truth is that real self care is probably a little bit more emotionally painful than what you would have hoped. The real definition of self care is about being honest with yourself and admitting your true feelings. It’s about addressing the bad experiences you’ve had in your life and processing those feelings and emotions. Each of us can be triggered by past experiences, which then evoke some sort of reaction, real self care is all about dealing with your shit and processing everything that you’re feeling. Once you have developed strategies to help you deal with things that are out of your control, and the emotions that come up, you can also change your response. Having strategies in please allows you to be less reactive to all the bad things that happen throughout your day.

Create Boundaries and Prioritise Your Time!

Real self care is also about keeping your promises to yourself and to other people, which means being really strict and creating strong boundaries around your time so that you can say yes to the things that align with your priorities, or no to the things that do not. In fact you can learn how to say no in my blog titled “3 Ways to Say No Respectfully”. Once you’ve committed to something, it’s really important that you stick to it. If you make a promise or a commitment to yourself, or to someone else, and you let yourself or that person down, it feels really shitty and it affects your self worth. So honour yourself by keeping promises.

Create strong boundaries and rules for yourself also. Honour your time and be realistic about what you can actually achieve in a day or in a week so that you’re not getting to the stage of burning out, being over-committed, and not being able to enjoy your day to day life. Schedule in time for restful activities and also prioritise going to bed at a time that suits when you need to wake up so you’re not cranky or unproductive the next day and continue on a that sleep negative cycle. Consider the real reasons why you stay up too late and need to have that me time in the evening. Are you really being productive or are you just scrolling social media? When you get adequate sleep you are ready to face the day and your physical and emotional wellbeing do not suffer.

Real Self Care Means Nourishing your Body!

We all know exercise is important right, but it is also important that you find a type of exercise that nourishes you. Personally Reform Me Pilates is the right type of exercise for me, in fact, it is the one keystone habit I changed that resulted in a massive follow on effect to the rest of my life (watch my video about that here). I’ve had two babies, I’ve got abdominal separation and going to F45 or CrossFit is way too intense for me. I’ve identified that it’s not the right thing for my body and instead, I’ve found something that nourishes my body the right way. When I go to pilates I feel really refreshed like I’ve done something for myself and I feel positive about the exercise rather than dreading it or feeling like I’m a failure because I can’t lift the weights or do the number of reps required. Rather than depleting yourself, especially when you have young kids, you need to be nourishing yourself and building back what’s been taken from growing those babies.

Get on top of Your Finances!

Now by no means am I a financial expert, this is just general advice and I would suggest speaking to a financial counsellor if you need to. But the real definition of self care means sorting out your finances! As women, a lot of the time, we can tell ourselves this story that money is hard to deal with, but it’s actually not. It just takes a little bit of focus and dedication to get yourself set up as best as possible. Stop living outside of your means, set up a savings account, don’t get into silly debts, pay your bills and mortgage on time and work towards paying off your debts. Start looking at ways that you can build some financial independence and not be living week to week.

Additionally, have insurances and a Will in place so that if anything happens, everything and everyone will be taken care of. Get together all your personal documents, including your birth certificates, marriage certificate, insurance documents, passports and other important documents and place them in a secure location.

Surround Yourself with Positive Relationships!

Finally, real self care is focusing on positive relationships, the ones in your life where there’s significant give and take. Sometimes people do need you more than at other times and that’s okay, but when things are toxic and somebody is being abusive or neglectful or taking more than they give, then that is not okay. These type of relationships impact your mental health and your wellbeing negatively, and can have a follow on effect in the way that you react and engage with other people in your life. At that time, it’s properly best to distance yourself, if not eliminate those relationships.

5 ways to practice real self care

When you acknowledge the real definition of self care, start implementing strategies, are honest about your feelings and process your emotions, everything comes into alignment and what happens is actually incredible. You are able to stop having a life that you’re trying to run away from and self-soothe through procrastination. You stop self-sabotaging activities and habits like drinking and eating too much, and you start living a life that’s more in alignment with what you actually want to achieve. If you enjoyed this blog and really felt it resonated with you, I’d love to invite you to join my community. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel where you’ll find even more slow living ideas, tips and discussion. You can also subscribe below to this blog, and I will be able to send you emails letting you know the latest news and updates, including when new blogs and videos are released.

If you would rather learn about the real definition of self care via video, check out my YouTube video below.