What is self care?
You will hear us talk a lot about self care at MISS FOX, but what exactly does this mean? To me:
Self care is a commitment to yourself — to nurture your mind, body and spirit.
It involves intentionally engaging in behaviours and practices that promote your own well being. Self care means putting yourself on the list of beings that you take care of, and putting yourself at the top of that list — not at the exclusion of care for others but ensuring that you get as much as the other people do in your world. Taking your own wellbeing into account as you evaluate choices is critical for many of us that tend to always put others first. Your wellbeing isn’t your only priority, but by practicing self care it is your top priority — and that’s important.
Self care is about taking full responsibility for your own care, and not expecting others to care for you. As adult human beings we have a responsibility to society that we will care for ourselves. Self care requires that we pay attention to ourselves, sensing our inner state and taking action where required to be healthy and happy.
It is important to note that self care has to do with the intention behind your activities — self care comes from a place of love: it’s about feeling good, healthy, and self-confident and honouring yourself. It’s for pleasing you, not anyone else.
Why is self care important
The golden reason for self care can be summed up with this mantra:
“I am my best me when I am taking care of myself”
Self care sets you up to succeed in life. People who engage in good self care are more productive, satisfied and happier. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and is key to a balanced and fulfilled existence, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. It helps cultivate a real, positive relationship with yourself, and because the relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for all other relationships —including people, career, money and the environment — your self care becomes a foundation for a deeper, authentic connection with the world.
Self care is your responsibility — not someone else’s. We all have an individual responsibility to grow and be responsible for ourselves. When you effectively take care of yourself it allows acting authentically with other people, and removes any need to manipulate others to take care of you. Putting your needs and priorities first also allows us to put forth our best efforts in life. By having strong boundaries and saying no, you can show up in in the world from a place of inner alignment and truth — and when you feel good, you do good.
It is important not to label self care as selfish. Self care has far reaching benefits for you and everyone in your life. When we are nourished, then we are better able to help others from a stronger foundation. It allows you to make a contribution to others from a place of health, wellbeing and abundance. We have a responsibility to help others grow in their lives too, and helping others starts with helping yourself.
What if I don’t take care of myself?
If you don’t practice taking care of yourself, you can fall into victim behaviour: someone unwilling to take responsibility for your self and actions, and bringing down those around you with a “poor-me” attitude.
This disempowered state sees one blames others as the reason for their unhappiness, and position themselves as someone who needs “rescuing”. Whilst this may be attractive to some, the pity-party is generally a drain on colleagues, friends and family and the world as a whole.
Not taking care of yourself can lead to feelings of resentment, as constantly placing others before you slowly starts to build anger and bitterness. It is important to remember that putting yourself second (or last) on an ongoing basis is your choice, so meditate carefully on who you should really be angry at, and consider learning from it and letting it go — both the resentment and the behaviours that led to it.
Getting unwell on a regular basis or being constantly run down is a sure sign that your self care commitment needs to be improved. If you are unhealthy and unstable, you are not only robbing yourself of the best life has to offer, you are also unable to take care of others. Self care is an investment in the wellbeing of all.
What self care isn’t:
Self care is not the same as selfishness. Selfishness or self-serving behaviour is lacking any consideration about others and profiting by this. Self care is about making sure that we are well and healthy so that we are actually more available to help others — replenishing your resources without depleting someone else’s. A selfish action is motivated by “me-first, me-only”, whereas self care has the message “me-first, me-too”.
Self care isn’t about self indulgence or to be seen as a luxury. Whilst it can include pampering, it is about surviving and thriving. Sustainable, small and frequent self care functions are also certainly more valuable than occasional decadence. Like any relationship, someone showing kindness every day means more than one grand gesture a year, so apply that same principle to your self.
Self care isn’t about activities that are a chore. They should fill you up, not be a burden. It is important that you find the type of self care that works for you — yoga, drawing, running or bubble baths might be lovely, but if it doesn’t feel good to you, it isn’t your truth. Self care isn’t guilty pleasures either… cakes, holidays, shoes or reckless behaviour can be enjoyable and bring some temporary relief, but real self care activities contribute to your long term health and wellbeing.
Self care doesn’t come from practices or activities to impress or please others — it’s about meeting your own needs, not society’s. But it also isn’t an excuse to break commitments or be lazy or irresponsible. Self care is about honouring your authentic needs, not your ego.
Self care isn’t about caring for everyone else and leaving yourself out, and neither is it making yourself your only priority. Self care essentially means that there are two truths sharing the same place — be kind to yourself and be kind to others.
—Victoria Lucille Fox @victorialucillefox