top of page
  • Writer's pictureTeena Marie

What Is Real Self Care?

There are some mainstream ideals in circulation regarding what self-care is.... a pop culture definition. It usually involves bubble baths, eating chocolate, buying clothes and shoes, and using self-care as an excuse to be mean and rude. Some of these things are nice but, hey.... being an asshole is still being an asshole and the above is not the only thing you should do.

All these actions are essentially coping mechanisms that is putting a band aide on the problem. Once the water turns cold and the bubbles melt away into the water, once you lick the last bit of chocolate from the wrapper and check your back account to see how much money you spent that could have been put to better use, the problem will still be there. Waiting like a petulant child. What caused you to take a bubble bath and eat lots of sugar...stress? What is causing the stress? Once you find the cause, you will find the core of the problem. True self-care is problem solving. True self-care is loving yourself enough to intentionally protect your own best interests. In other words, standing up and showing up for yourself every day. Below are 7 real self-care strategies that when applied can create an environment for improvement:

Setting Boundaries – This is huge. Being a recovering people pleaser, I know first-hand how hard it is to say No. At first, you feel like you must explain your reasoning to make the No easier, or to say Sorry or come up with other alternatives that no one asked for. Setting boundaries is hard and will be uncomfortable but it is freedom in every sense of the word. Setting Boundaries is knowing your likes and dislikes and not being afraid to hold yourself and others accountable. Your No is a firm No, and you follow through on that. For example, if you do not like people popping up at your house unannounced, you let that person know in a diplomatic way, that that behavior is something you do not like. State what you would like to happen, such as call before you come or let me know a few days before you plan on coming. Make it about the behavior and not the person. If the person does not respect your boundaries, don’t answer the door when they pop up or tell that person no you can’t come in. People with no boundaries will be angry that you are setting boundaries. There are some people who feel entitled regarding your space and time and being told no upsets them. But would you rather be upset and uncomfortable saying yes to people being disrespectful and intruding on your space? Personal space, physical space, whatever space means to you, you have a right to protect it with love and respect.

Following through on Goals – Goal setting is also an avenue to consistent self-care. Take a moment to be by yourself and take an inventory of your life. Have you done everything you wanted? Write down short- and long-term goals. Short term goals are goals that you can accomplish in 6 months to a year. Long term goals are longer than a year. The key is to follow through on the actions it takes to complete your goal.

Being Authentic /Doing Activities You Enjoy– this is more along the lines of self-actualization when one is completely comfortable with being one-self, unapologetically, and may take many years to accomplish, so this can be a long-term goal. Also, discover and develop hobbies that you enjoy doing, try learning a new skill.

Eating Healthy/Exercising/Hygiene/Proper Sleep– We can’t get away from this one. What we eat and how we live can make a big difference to our health and determine how much we are able to enjoy life in the future. Our skin, our bones, our hearts will thank us later if we take care of them now. The occasional chocolate cake or alcoholic drink won’t hurt because everything in moderation is key. We should enjoy food, but not overindulge. Also, good hygiene is critical too. Knowing how to properly clean ourselves, keep our environment clean is a part of self-care, it just isn’t the only thing. Exercise has been proven to increase endorphins, our brain’s feel-good transmitters. I know from personal experience exercise can give you more energy, make you feel better about yourself and help you sleep better. A lot of Americans do not get enough sleep because of our busy lives' kids, etc. But if we strive to get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep in my opinion and make sure it’s uninterrupted, we can function better the next day. Everything does not have to get done in 1 day.

Family/Friends - We do not get to choose the family we are born into, but once we become adults, we do have the power to choose who will and who will not be in our lives. At times, families contribute to the toxicity and stress in our lives. At other times, they are the foundation and bring stability, accountability, and support. Some of the friends we’ve always had since we were kids, is due to proximity, where we lived, who our neighbors were. On our journey to becoming mature adults, we must take stock of our lives and determine who is in our lives to help or to hurt. This brings us back to number 1 of Self-Care, which is setting healthy boundaries. If we choose a toxic family member or friend to still be in our lives, strong boundary setting must consistently take place, otherwise, we should kick them off the Island. The main point is that we are not stuck to deal with toxic people just because they are friends or family members. That is a terrible place to be. We have the power of choice, except if we have children. We must take care of our kids. But if in this process, you find that you are a toxic person, then it’s time to take accountability and change the negative behavior.

Mental Wellness – I am a huge advocate for this. Our mind is a powerful tool and just like we go to the doctor when we are physically sick, we should go see a therapist to help our state of mind. The thoughts we have influence our feelings and our feelings influence our behavior. If your life is okay, it is still good to see a therapist every month or every 2 months depending on the situation for “maintenance”. We go see a primary care doctor annually, so we can hear that “everything is good” statement. We get oil changes for our cars to prolong the life of the car and to catch problems early. We should treat our mental health the same.

Travel – This is also very important regarding self-care because traveling allows us to explore outside our bubble of existence, explore outside our block to gain another perspective, understand different ideas and learn how we are all connected in this world. Seeing the beautiful nature that this world has to offer can ground us and bring us back to earth when our lives are in chaos.

All in All, Self-Care is much deeper than the many bubble baths we try escape to. It takes a lot of self-work to achieve the life we want.

21 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Can We Cancel Workplace Toxicity?

At last, the pandemic is over.... finally. No more sweaty masks, constant testing, the looming threat of losing a job if you don’t comply with getting vaccinated, the unknown of what exactly would hap


I could write about something light and fluffy. A topic that is filled with pink air or say how Jesus loves us so much and everything will be alright. But it’s not. A lot of us are hurting and a lot o

Dear God.....

I had a long talk with God, but I think he is ignoring me. God’s probably thinking, “I’ll wait until she calms down before I engage with her.” I remember the pastor at Justin’s funeral stated to talk


bottom of page