Boundaries and Discipline? What does that have to do with self care? Isn't self care all about that luxurious massage and manicure we go for every weekend? What about that bubble bath you look forward to every other evening? We need to talk about the commodification of self care.
Self Care. Those two words. They're everywhere nowadays. It’s in fashion. It’s a trend. It’s yours, but only if you can afford to buy it. Self-care has become increasingly popular due to Covid-19 lockdowns and people spending more time indoors.
Capitalism has somehow managed to convert a majoritively feminist concept into a host of products and offers. From expensive yoga passes to luxurious skincare packages that truthfully nobody can afford to luxury bath bombs that promise to 'Soften your skin to that of its infant days'. It no surprise that self-care is being sold to women in what is a really deceptive way.
Even if you can afford it, why sign up for a $15-a-pop Bikram yoga class if you’re still juggling ridiculous workloads and work hours, enduring toxic relationships and trying to be everything and please everyone, all the time?
Sincerely caring for ourselves means directing our energy into feeding ourselves properly and putting healthcare, nutrition, mental health, spiritual well-being, healthy relationships and family first. Sometimes it’s as boring as cleaning our rooms or catching up on life admin like finally filing that overdue tax return to avoid further anxiety.
As Jordan Peterson famously says in his best-selling book '12 Rules for Life', "Clean up your room, clean up your life".
Sometimes it’s as thrilling as finding the real purpose of your life and sense of self through safe spaces and supportive relationships and communities.
Self care is a very personal matter, and everyone's approach will be varied. There are several aspects of self care and we will go through the most important ones. It may relate to what you do at work and how you care for yourself after work, prioritising mental and physical wellbeing so that you can meet your personal and professional commitments. Below are some of the different aspects of self care as mentioned above:
- Professional and/or workplace
- Professional Self Care
- Be strict with boundaries between clients and staff
- Set up boundaries with the appropriate treatment of yourself and fellow colleagues at work (and report bullying of any kind, whether directed at you or someone else). Be strict with respect in the workplace.
- Engage in regular supervision or consulting with a more experienced colleague (sometimes referred to as mentoring)
- Set up a peer-support group and seek out support counsellors at work if needed
- Attend professional development programs and conferences.
- Physical Self Care
This is where discipline comes in. These are very important motions that will help you to stay fit and healthy, and with sufficient energy to get through your work and personal responsibilities.
- Develop a regular sleep routine with at least 8 hours every night. Be very strict with your bedtime and the time you get up.
- Eat a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein.
- Take lunch breaks every day and eat during those breaks to refuel your body.
- Go for a walk at lunchtime to get some fresh air and get the blood moving.
- Take your dog for a walk after work to clear your mind.
- Use your sick leave, carers leave and personal leave.
- Get a workout done before and after work on a regular basis.
3.Psychological and Mental Self Care
Very important especially in the new world of Covid-19 and all the mental ramifications that come as a result. Boundaries come into play here.
- Keep a reflective journal and be strict with journaling every night before bed. This act alone can clear your mind and set the tone for a relaxing night’s sleep.
- Engage in a non-work hobby like tennis or candle making.
- Seek and engage with a qualified counsellor and/or mental health care expert if needed.
- Turn off your email alerts and work phone outside of work hours.
- Make time for relaxation. Be strict with downtime and don't work in your downtime.
- Make time to engage with positive friends and family, those who want the best for you. Be strict with removing yourself from toxic situations and toxic individuals.
- Emotional Self Care
Different to psychological self care but allowing yourself to safely experience your full range of emotions without suppressing them.
- Develop friendships that are supportive and meaningful. You don't need many friends, just a few wholesome ones.
- Write three things that you are grateful for each day
- Journal 3 things that you accomplished in the day
- Go to the movies or do something else you enjoy like reading.
- Keep meeting with your parents' group or other social groups like Adult Fellowships.
5. Spiritual Self Care
This involves having a spirit of perspective beyond the day-to-day of life and engaging with God.
- Regularly engage in reflective practices like prayer and meditation.
- Go to church often
- Reflect with a close friend for support.
- Go on bush walks to reconnect with nature.
6. Relationship Self Care
This is about sustaining healthy and supportive relationships. It's also important that you have diversity in your relationships so that you are not only connected to work colleagues.
- Prioritise intimate relationships in your life. Prioritise your partner or spouse, immediate family and children.
- Attend the special events of your family and close friends.
- Arrive to work and leave on time every day. That email can wait. Life doesn't wait.
As we've read, self care isn't just fancy bubbles baths and pedicures. It's really prioritising ourselves in all aspects of life so that we become better and healthier versions of ourselves.
Putting together a self care plan is very important for our overall health as human beings. It helps us become better people, and as a result, have more energy and love for those around us.