I saw a tweet a while ago, and since then I’ve always thought it embodied an important idea about self-care.
The tweet reads: "self care isn’t always lush bath bombs and $20 face masks. sometimes, it’s going to bed at 8pm or letting go of a bad friend. it’s forgiving yourself for not meeting your impossible standards & understanding u are worth it. self care isn’t always luxury, but a means for survival.”
Heres a link to it: https://twitter.com/hertweetx/status/933317490037444608?lang=en .
This tweet hit home for me, because, trust me, I know the struggle. I’m a college student working two jobs just to pay my rent. I get stressed out all the time, but sometimes I don’t have the time to take a bubble bath, let alone the money to buy a bath bomb.
I think a lot of us—living in this materialistic, consumer society—are swayed by the idea of Lush products, fancy candles, expensive face masks and artisanal chocolates as the best things for “self-care.” But what this tweet told me is that self-care needs to be internal as well as external. Things like ridding your life of toxic friendships and trying to get more sleep don’t hold the same glitz and glam as face masks and a glass of champagne. But they’re just as important—if not more important—when it comes to self-care.
Doing a quick search of “forms of self-care,” I found a Psychology Today article called “Seven Types of Self-Care Activities For Coping With Stress,” and it's a great article to check out. The author, Barbara Markway, Ph.D., breaks self-care into seven categories: sensory, pleasure, mental/mastery, spiritual, emotional, physical, social. Something she says in the emotional category caught my eye. She says, “Accept your feelings. They’re all ok, really.” I never thought of accepting my feelings as a form of self-care, but really it is. I think some ways to accept your feelings as a form of self-care are to write them down in a journal, or tell your best friend about them. And don’t be afraid to cry. Crying can be a form of self-care. Who knew?
The idea that self-care needs to be internal as much as it is physical isn’t something I’ve really put a ton of thought into, but I’m starting to realize how internal self-care is just as important as physical self-care. Taking care of our minds cannot solely come from expensive products. We can’t put a face mask on our emotional problems. We must learn to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, let go of the bad and toxic things in our lives, tell ourselves that it’s okay to relax sometimes—it’s necessary to relax sometimes.
We, as a society, need to shift away from the idea that self-love and care equals buying expensive makeup or going on shopping sprees. Because honestly, sometimes, spending that money can just lead to more stress. Self-love is loving what’s on the inside—not just pampering the outside.