Self-care (n). —the understanding that your beauty is measured first and foremost by the the kindest you offer yourself.
There are a lot of things that we naturally romanticize. Things like falling rain, warm cups of coffee, all mixed with the sound of ocean waves. There’s nothing comparable to the feeling of catching moments like these, where you feel as though every star has aligned and your mind is completely at ease. Still-frames like these are so easy to romanticizes because they’re so picturesque and perfect, but when you think about it we’re so resigned to reserving meaning for those moments alone.
A simple courtesy you can do for yourself, is to learn to allow happiness into the less than “perfect” moments in your life. Learn to romanticize early mornings making breakfast for yourself, or late nights brewing your favorite cup of tea and wearing fuzzy socks.
Learn to romanticize self-care.
I can guarantee that bad days can become a lot less frequent, and a lot less scary when self-care becomes a habit. Stop thinking of showers as blocks of time where you try and coordinate the fastest way to shampoo, wash, and shave with as little “wasted” time as possible. Stop thinking of skincare as a luxury attainable only by those with enough free-time and money. Instead, start to think of self-care as acts of kindness towards yourself. Think of self-care as blocks of time throughout the day where you get to be selfish because — My God, do you deserve it.
“How do I get started,” you ask? Here are a few tips you can start implementing from here on out that I promise can change your life with time, care, and persistence.
1) Frame your days with simple moments of joy.
Let’s say goodbye telling ourselves that a single day can be either good, or bad. There’s a whole lot we can’t control like nasty weather, impending deadlines, or how gravity sometimes just decides to make you drop your $5 latte. Whatever happens throughout your day, let’s make sure to sandwich it between a whole lot of good.
Think about it this way: Say someone sneaks into your kitchen and eats all the cream from between your Oreos, (if you grew up with siblings, this isn’t as far reaching as it may sound). That’s annoying, right? But as much a we may glorify the middle as being the best part, let’s stop lying to ourselves and admit the cookies themselves are pretty freaking delicious, too. Now let’s take a step back, take a deep breath, and reframe the situation. What would have been one Oreo, ended up being two delicious chocolate cookies. Now let’s enjoy our snacks, and move on with our day (Dad speech: Over).
As silly of an analogy that may be, there’s something to be said about the strength of positivity. If you frame your days with positivity, whatever happens in the middle can either be amplified, or salvaged. Crappy day at work? Go home, take a shower, eat a meal that makes you feel nourished and comforted, and cozy on up to that book you’ve been meaning to read. Busy day ahead of you? Start your day with your favorite coffee. Wake up early so you can daydream in the shower, and then mosey your way on over to the kitchen where you’ll then leisurely make yourself a breakfast fit for a king.
The process is simple. Fill yourself with positivity the moment you wake up. Now go about your day and do something with that positivity. You can keep it for yourself on the more draining days, or spread it on the days it overflows. Once it’s over, head back home and either replenish, or admire your good vibe bounty. Repeat.
2) Set yourself up for success.
Let’s be real. While there’s a lot we can’t control, there is also a lot that we can. Have you ever stayed up until the whee hours of the morning, all because you wanted to binge watch that one TV show? Have you ever done that, and then woke up the next day and felt absolutely terrible getting read for work/school? (That’s a hypothetical question. I know we’ve all done that.)
Now that’s an obvious example. Here’s a less than obvious one: You’re busy with work because you have a big presentation due. You haven’t had much time to stop and think, much less shower properly. You wake up every morning with an alarm set at a time to compensate how late you stayed up the night before — only thirty minutes later than when you normally would have woken up. You get up, you replace a leisurely shower with a quick rinse that leaves you feeling even more stressed than you did before. You throw together an outfit you’ve worn before that you know works, and head to work with an empty stomach, bags under your eyes, and an off-feeling that follows you throughout your day. The day of your presentation finally comes around, and you bomb it.
Now imagine that scenario, but everyday you enjoy a nice warm shower where you take a deep breath and forget about everything that’ll ensue the moment you step out. Imagine eating a breakfast, even if it’s just a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal. Imagine picking out an outfit that makes you feel powerful, and heading to work feeling like the competent professional you are. Do you think this scenario would have the same ending? And even if it did, which one would you choose?
Self-care isn’t always a pretty picture. It isn’t always an expensive spa treatment spent sipping champagne and picking at various chocolate covered desserts. Sometimes it’s a slap in the face. Those 30 minutes you spend in the morning hitting the snooze button could be spent getting ready, making yourself look as good as you feel, and and hyping yourself up for all the greatness to come because you are a kind, magnetic being. You set yourself up for disaster with each tiny decision you make where you aren’t taken into account. Inversely, every tiny decision you make can set yourself up for success. Maybe you’re not always the priority, but you should always be a part of the equation.
3) Be kind to yourself.
Finally, this is where we remind you it’s good to be selfish sometimes — necessary, even. What’s good about the energy you put out if you’re running on empty? The answer is, nothing. There is so much value in treating yourself with the upmost care. Not only does it help you put your best foot forward at the start of every day and every interaction, but it helps you emanate the message to others that you are whole, and you are taken care of. Remember, you are the one who delivers yourself into every day, every moment, every relationship, and so on. Handle yourself with care.
No amount of self-care, no amount of tiny indulgence is a waste of time. Each act of kindness you offer yourself is recycled. You took the time out to do a face mask this morning? Wow, now you feel fantastic and you go to about your day with renewed vigor. You smile at a stranger, and they smile back.
Proof of your importance, and the power of YOUR positivity can be found everywhere. It starts with being courageous enough to offer yourself the kindness in the first place, and from there on out the world becomes brighter because your mind and your heart is lighter.
At Chelsea Square, we want to inspire a movement where we all take the courageous step and say “I’m worth it.” It’s about time that we admit to ourselves that self-care is too often trivialized as being habitual and routine, when in reality it’s the most important pillar that picture-perfect moments like the ones mentioned earlier sit upon. Moments like those are so accessible, but the road to them is too often forgotten, trivialized, or over-glorified.
Self-care care isn’t Christmas morning. It’s not your birthday, it’s not a trip to the amusement park, or a cross-country road trip. It’s a night home cuddled in your favorite blanket, it’s the feeling of warmth that bubbles up so intensely you end up smiling at your reflection while doing your makeup. It’s that, and it’s your mom telling you to clean your room. It’s the refreshed and motivated feeling that takes over once you power on through, and can look at your happy and organized room and know you accomplished something that day. It’s dragging yourself out of bed at 5 am to go to the gym — not because you’re an early bird and love cardio, but because you know you wont want to go later, and that you’ll thank yourself once it’s all over.
At the end of the day, while everyone’s self-care may look different, it’s always composed of a few ingredients: A little bit of indulgence, a little bit necessary selfishness, throw in some fun and a smile or two. Now mix in a hint of responsibility, patience, structure, and a WHOLE LOT of positivity and you’ve got yourself a lifestyle that cultivates love, joy, and kindness.
It's been awhile, hasn't it? This blog post is the first of many blog posts to come. Every week we will be redefining misunderstood self-care, health & wellness terms so we can help usher in the new, improved, and happier you. Be sure to check back here every Monday for a new blog post, and follow us on Instagram for even more lifestyle motivation