We are surrounded by social media and most posts consist of all the good things {or political rants}. We see snapshots into peoples lives, but it is mostly the small percentage of amazing things that happen. Even in the world of fitness we are surrounded by personal best videos, amazing feats of strength, crazy gymnastic movements and more. Hardly do we see the mundane day to day of hard work, or the failures. Every once in a while we will get the failure posts to remind us people still fail. But in our normal lives we don’t see many people’s posts about someones fight with their significant other, or their boring day at work, or their menial tasks of doing the dishes. We see pictures of amazing trips, but not the work it went into saving for that trip. We see pictures of new cars, manicures, flowers, new shoes, material items, often with the tag #treatyoself. So what, are you saying that’s bad? We should all treat ourselves! We should, but I believe there is a difference between treat yo self and self-care.

Treating ourselves is great. Maybe we worked our butt off to get somewhere and we want to reward ourselves. Or we had a tough week, and we want to cut ourselves some slack. That’s great, indulge. But those things fade. The excitement of something new, is exactly that. New doesn’t last forever. Eventually that new car won’t be new, or that manicure will chip. I am not here to say don’t indulge in these things, but let’s shift the focus to self-care.

What’s the difference?

By my own definition, self-care is taking care of one self, for the long term. Investing in things that will last longer than a week, two weeks, two months. Finding something that promotes peace and happiness vs. excitement. I am not saying these two cannot go hand in hand, but more self-care is a long term version of treat yo self. I find self care to be extremely hard. Sometimes this involves putting myself before others. Taking time out of my day for myself, instead of someone else. Saying no to someones request.

So what does self-care look like?

It’s hard to say. For some people it’s making sure they have that hour a day at the gym. For some, its mindful meditation. For some it’s focusing on nutrition. Maybe it’s a walk with a loved one, an hour of no screens, a yoga session, reading a book, therapy, stretching…. the list can go on. But self-care is work. Focusing on your needs and what is important to you to keep you happier for longer. Some days getting to the gym is harder than anything else you had to do, but deep down you know it is good for you and for the long run. Same thing applies for everything else. Recently someone asked me how to meditate. It took me a while to respond. What a good question. I replied something like “it involves doing something to quiet your mind”. They asked “how do you do that?”, I gave some suggestions, but ultimately my answer was “it takes a lot of practice”. To be able to sit with oneself and your own thoughts and be comfortable takes some practice. So does working out consistently, so does any type of true self-care. It isn’t easy. But it is worth it, if you believe you are worth it.

So my challenge this Wellness Wednesday for you is to focus on a NEW form of self-care. Find something NEW that also promotes healthiness and happiness long term. There are a lot of ideas in this post, but I would love to hear more!

May is mental health awareness month. Taking care of ourselves is crucial to our own mental health. We all have our own struggles every day, and that is okay. Be kind, be open, and be understanding of others and their struggles. For more information, or if you are looking for resources please visit https://www.nami.org/