What Self-Care Actually Means To Me In 2019

More than just bubble baths and face masks.

Posted on Location: 5 min read

When you think of self-care, what kind of images does your mind conjure up? I bet the things that instantly sprung into your mind were bubble baths, face masks, and all manner of other pamper-y activities, wasn’t it? (You don’t have to be as good at mind reading as Derren Brown to work that one out.)

Self-care has become synonymous with those things: the bubble baths and pamper nights – but is that really all there is to it? I honestly don’t think so.

I’ve touched upon self-care in the past on numerous occasions, and I even made a YouTube video about it a couple of years ago, but what I haven’t mentioned is just how bad I am at implementing a good level of self-care.

We bloggers can be some of the worst out there for pushing self-care as if it’s got to be luxurious to count.

I’ve written posts about all about self-care in the past that I’ve held off publishing, because I know just how terrible I am at being a proper adult and looking after myself properly. I’m hardly the best person to sell it to you, because it would be utterly hypocritical of me to talk to you about what you should be doing if I can’t do those things for myself.

We bloggers can be some of the worst out there for pushing self-care as if it’s got to be luxurious to count.

Proper self-care is so much more than that. It’s making that phone call you’ve been dreading to arrange an important appointment, it’s making sure you guzzle enough water each day, and it’s also something as simple as making sure that you’re getting enough exercise each day.

It’s truly more than smushing up a Lush bubble bar into a crumbly foam that’ll supposedly wash all of your problems away – but we bloggers can perpetuate that daft stereotype even further.

So, I want to talk about that proper self-care, what it means to me now, and why it isn’t just bubble baths and face masks…

Proof that I’m pretty terrible at self-care

It’s almost 4am on Sunday morning, I’m writing this now, at my desk. There’s definitely a migraine creeping in, I’m having my second aura of the past 24 hours, my brain feels mushy, and I know I should be sleeping – but I’ve put it off. Why? So I can read blogs, try and work on my own blog (even though I’m supposed to be taking a break) and so I can watch YouTube photography tutorials that can definitely wait until a more appropriate time. 

I keep yawning. I know I’m tired, I know I’m in no fit state to be writing anything. Despite the fact that I’m tired, when I’m getting a migraine, I lose any ability to be vaguely articulate. (You probably noticed.) I get my words muddled up, I say the wrong things entirely, it’s a bit like I’m tipsy, but without any of the fun to accompany it…

Normally, I just power on through these sleepy evenings. I keep delaying sleep. I put off pampering. I don’t schedule time in to do ‘nice things’. I even try and carry on as normal with a migraine. It’s all ‘do this, do that’ from the moment I drag my sorry backside out of bed until the moment I flop back down – far later than I’d honestly wanted to.

Recently, though, I’m starting to realise that I do need to go to bed when I start yawning. (Groundbreaking realisation, right?) Despite this momentous revelation, I haven’t caved and actually done it yet.

As a night owl I steadfastly refuse to have an early night. Why would I go to sleep at my most active and productive time? But the mere realisation that I do actually need to look after myself, and that getting enough sleep at the right time actually is an important part of that, is progress. 

Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older that I’m realising the importance of actually ‘caring’ for myself. It’s taken me a while to catch up, at the grand old age of twenty eight, but I think I’m finally getting there… 

…I’m realising that part of self-care is stopping yourself from engaging in those self-destructive behaviours that you lie to yourself about…

Little by little, I’m realising that part of self-care is stopping yourself from engaging in those self-destructive behaviours that you lie to yourself about as well. The ones that you convince yourself are good for you. 

Staying up way past your bedtime to get stuff done being one of those. It could also be drinking too much, in the name of fun. Or maybe even spending more money than you can afford to part with because shopping makes you feel better temporarily. 

It’s all self-destructive, along with so many other things that we don’t realise are bad for ourselves in the long-run.

And, don’t worry, I’m not about to get all preachy and pretend that I’m perfect because I’m making headway when it comes to ‘working on it’. I’m just as brimming with foibles as everyone else – our faults are what make us human in the first place.

But self-care to me, right now, means actually taking care of myself more generally. Having a hearty meal when I feel like it, instead of something quick and easy. Rolling into bed a couple of hours earlier because my body and mind needs it, instead of forcing myself to ignore the yawns and keep going until I’m over-exhausted. Doing something creative, that brings enjoyment and helps to calm my busy mind, instead of focussing on being productive for every waking moment. It’s all self-care, isn’t it?

Maybe it is just bubble baths and face masks to most, and it still is to me – superficially –  but, gradually, self-care is taking on a slightly deeper meaning too.

I should probably go to bed now, shouldn’t I?

What does self-care mean to you? 

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