Self-Care - it’s not all bath bombs and face masks but sometimes that is exactly what it is. I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile now, pretty much since one of my clients and I had this exact conversation in session (this is all used with permission from the client). I was in session with a client and we were reviewing their goals and they said how self-care isn’t all face masks and bath bombs and they didn’t always use to know that but through our sessions they had come to discover other options for self care. My client then said, “but balance is knowing that sometimes a face mask and bath bomb is exactly what you might need”. I had this, YESSS moment. If you’re a therapist you know exactly what I’m talking about. That moment that the clouds part and the light shine’s down and you know that your client just got it.
I then knew that I wanted to share this experience because my client was right, there are so many ways to practice self-care and to take care of yourself. The way I define self-care is anything that you do simply because it brings you joy. There is no obligation or responsibility. You did it simply because it brought you joy. So, looking at this definition, one of the best examples I can come up with to explain something you might do because you feel obligated to would be going to the gym. If you are going to move your body simply because it brings you joy then it is self-care. If you are going to move your body because you feel obligated to, it’s not self-care.
Continuing with this definition I always like to take it even one step further and break down self-care activities into external and internal forms of self-care. I have found that sometimes just coming from a joy perspective can make it difficult because frankly there are very few things we do just to bring ourselves joy. There are external and internal forms of self-care and our goal is to make sure the two are balanced. Sometimes I will find that clients are doing a really good job in one category of self-care but maybe not in the other. Which is great that they are practicing self-care, but they find the most relief and joy when the two are working harmoniously.
Some examples of External self-care would be: face masks, bath bombs, chatting with friends, pampering, movement (can fall into both categories), reading a book, listening to music, etc... Basically, anything that is happening outside of yourself is external self-care. Internal self-care are those things that we do that allow ourselves to internally process emotions. Examples: journaling, meditation, prayer, creativity, movement (if it allows for internal processing), etc.…
Bringing it full circle to it’s not all bath bombs and face masks but sometimes that is exactly what it is. When we are actively engaging in self-care that fits into both Internal and External forms of self-care we have found a balance between the two and are able to nurture and care for all sides of ourselves, including our physical, spiritual, and emotional selves.
If you’re someone who relies heavily in only one form of self-care I challenge you to try bringing other forms of self-care into your life. Balance allows you to know that sometimes a long soak in the tub with a face mask is exactly what you need, and to also know that journaling and praying might be what you need. What works for me might not be what works for you and that is the beauty of self-care. It is whatever brings you joy, which may be a face mask and a bath bomb or not.
Hello! Welcome to my Blog on self care . I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Yoga Teacher.