Self-care is a concept most of us have heard of – think: bath bombs, walks on the beach, dessert and days off. We know what self-care is, but for many of us, it can feel like an unrealistic or unattainable goal. Who has money for regular bath bombs and dessert – especially if they are taking days off!? However, self-care is about a lot more than experiences of luxury or material items.
For me, self-care is about the experience of connecting with yourself and prioritizing yourself. Therefore, this means that self-care looks different for everyone. The reason why self-care is so important, and why we encourage it as a tool for keeping well, is because it is an opportunity for you to let yourself know that you are important and worthy of care and respect. For some people, this means relaxing in the bath or walking on the beach. For other people, this might look like saying 'no' to working more or making plans with a friend. However it may look for you, self-care is a tool that allows us to take a little break, so we can 'fill our cup' and keep on pouring.
So what is the difference between self-care and self-acceptance? Self-acceptance is an idea rather than an act. It is about observing and understanding ourselves, rather than judging. Our perception of our self and our level of self-acceptance forms in many ways, through unique experiences and challenges. Our self-acceptance journey begins in childhood, where we mimic our environments, learning certain behaviours and ways of being. These experiences can internalize and come with us into adulthood. Sometimes, we have to re-condition ourselves and learn new ways to interact with our mind and body to create a healthier and more beneficial life for ourselves. Lucky for us, our brains have an amazing capacity for neuroplasticity – this means they can change and rewire through new information and (positive) experiences! No matter when or where you may be starting from, there is endless potential and hope for you to create a relationship with yourself that can be meaningful and loving.
Self- care can help improve our capacity to observe and understand ourselves, therefore aiding the journey to self-acceptance. But this is not a journey that you have to go alone! If you feel that you may benefit from speaking with someone about how you are feeling and ways to work on your mental health, please reach out to Skylight to see how we can help.
Take care of yourself.