When I say ‘it’s okay to do nothing’, I genuinely mean it. If your social media feed looks anything like mine, you have probably heard this a lot. Some people host a Sunday event called ‘self-care Sunday’ which I think is an amazing idea. However, the mainstream connotations of self-care: baths, pampers and baking are not going to work for everyone. Now I have already written about this. But revisiting it a few months later is beneficial, since there are so many of you that have joined since then (thank you for 700 followers!)
I find that when people take you through their ‘self-care Sunday’, or ‘rest day’ they are still being mega productive. The workaholic mindset is worrying, especially among young impressionable people. Self-care Sunday should be for self-care: not for sharing it on your Instagram. Also, other people’s ideas of rest days might be more or less productive than your’s. So if you see someone going for a run on their rest day, that’s them. That makes them feel better. But if you sit on your bed eating chocolate raisins and watching Doctor Who all day, that can also make you feel better. Everyone has different ways of caring for themselves so please don’t compare them.
Is This The Real Life, Is This
Just Fantasy For Instagram?
Telling your followers that you do take days off for self-care is important, they need to be aware that you’re not a Boss Babe 24/7. When influencers share their seemingly perfect self-care on the Internet, you speculate: are they doing this to take care of themselves or to post it on social media? Followers need to know that you’re not always working at the desk, but they also need to know that self-care isn’t just bubble baths and long walks.
For some people, going for a walk isn’t self-care. Diet culture perceives walking as a way to lose weight, and how can you enjoy an activity that intends for you to lose weight? There are so many people that can’t enjoy exercise because they’re only thinking about the end result, and disordered ideas that thinner is better. Rather than run for the fun of running, in the back of their mind (or the front) they’re thinking about how this will help them get fitter and potentially thinner. Glamourising weight loss is a whole other story.
I keep getting side-tracked. Wow, that shows how rusty I am with posts like this. Anyway, rest is a sub-category of self-care. Let me show you this:
- Eating well
- Getting exercise
- Doing your hobby
- Journaling/getting out your thoughts in some sort of medium
- Chilling in bed
- Catching up on telly
- Eating chocolate
- Cuddling with your cat
Taking care of yourself also means getting things done, to unload unnecessary stress. You can’t eat chocolate and watch Netflix all day every day, without consequences of bad health. Similarly, procrastinating an essay until the night before it’s due because you’ve been binge-watching telly is not self-care. Although watching Netflix might be a way of taking care of yourself and relaxing, prioritising it over the work that needs to get done will not make you feel any better. Self-care means something different to each individual, but the main principle is taking care of yourself as the word states.
It’s a Monday afternoon, last lesson of school. The teachers sets you an essay, to be completed by Friday. You’re so tired by the time you get home; you don’t get started yet. However, this pattern continues until Thursday. Now you’re in a panic! Only a few hours to get this essay sorted? Why didn’t you do it sooner?
You didn’t do it sooner because you prefer to watch Netflix in the evenings. And chilling out, according to your social media feed, is self-care. That excuse keeps you going.
But, is waiting until the last minute really self-care? No. Perhaps getting a chunk done, rewarding yourself with an episode of Stranger Things, then getting another chunk done would be self-care. Otherwise you’re spending the entire week watching Netflix with the pressing concern of completing the essay in the back of your brain. You can’t properly enjoy relaxing in front of the telly when you know something is due in a few hours.
I will explain procrastination in further detail, as a separate post. However this one is supposed to be about self-care. Sorry the tangents are a bit annoying; I can’t help it! Eventually this will get better, but at the moment I don’t want to erase any paragraphs because I feel like they contribute to the post.
Self-care is individual.
Even I, the one preaching this message, need a reminder sometimes. I need to be told that taking care of yourself is not solely watching Doctor Who and eating chocolate raisins. It’s getting my work done, then rewarding myself with Doctor Who.
Okay, and back to the first paragraph. It’s called cyclical structure, and perhaps it will improve the continuity of this article. Umm, commenting on my writing as I’m writing is a little bit strange. I don’t know: do you like it? Or would you prefer me to shut up and get the facts down?
“It’s okay to do nothing”
What is nothing to you? You can’t simply do nothing. You are always doing something. Now, watching TV is not nothing, is it? It’s watching TV. So if you spend an afternoon watching TV, label it as such. Do not fall into the trap of calling relaxing ‘doing nothing’. Because relaxing is something. Relaxing is a key part in taking care of yourself. Next time you sit in a bath, singing along to 1D and using a hairbrush as a microphone, call it SELF-CARE. Not NOTHING!
As Winnie The Pooh says, ‘doing nothing leads to the very best something’.
How do you practise self-care? Does it consist of journaling, exercise or TV?
I hope this post starts up a conversation. I would love to chat with you. Although it is dissimilar to my regular content, I did really enjoy writing it. Let me know your thoughts: whether you read the whole thing through or just skimmed over parts? I know I am not usually compelled to read through chunky posts, I much prefer ones laid out with questions and answers. What about you?
Take care of yourself.
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