Ever since the term "self-care" emerged somewhere in the depths of 2015, I suppose, I have cringed. The idea that we needed to be told "take care of yourselves" is crazy, right? Perhaps. But I certainly get the sentiment around self-care.
We "should" care for ourselves. We "should" eat well, exercise, do yoga, meditate, grow our vegetables, eat kale, breathe 100 times before we eat, chew slowly, speak softly, journal, go for walks... and... and... and.
Should. Should. Should.
Do you see what happens with the beautifully-attempted idea of self-care?
We are adding to our already-never-ending list. We are adding more "shoulds," and potentially more "shame." The list of self-care "shoulds" easily makes us feel sad, anxious, inadequate, freaked out, and unworthy. Not only do we feel that we are failing, but now we are even failing ourselves. The inner voice begins to say: "See? You can't even keep these simple promises to yourself. You are a failure!"
Some individuals find self-care saved them. Self-care was a "restart" and a "focus" that I needed, they say. I can accept that wholeheartedly. We all have important tips and tricks and things that help us get off a destructive or less-than-ideal path.
But for many of us, the concept of self-care is actually harming us. We are looking at more things we "should" be doing and feeling like failures. Additionally, many of us struggle with extreme bouts of self-abuse and self-hate. Making the jump to the idea that we suddenly must "care" for ourselves is a leap and chasm that is simply too far to cross.
I argue that for some of us, there is much healing and work to be done before we can broach the subject of self-care. Instead of the vague, marketing-driven notion of "self-care," I challenge you to do this: simply show up to your life and live.
Live your life. Show up every day and be present. (This is not necessarily easy, by the way.)
In my first "Year of No Nonsense," I realized that I was stuck in the past and worrying too much about the future. Then I was presented with all of the self-care actions that I should be taking? Well, my head was spinning.
Learning to live my life as it was—sometimes great, sometimes messy, sometimes yucky—was the greatest form of the elusive self-care that I had been spinning my wheels on.
I began to look at each day as just an opportunity to live. To show up, be present, work hard, and do my best. When I simply say, "Good morning, self. I am here to live," I give myself permission to use that day in the way that I best see fit. I can work on my tasks, my goals, and my future—on my terms—without some advertising, life coach, or guru-of-the-day telling me how to "care" for myself every day.
If you find there are some self-care "tips and tricks" out there that you like, by all means, adopt them. But do not feel guilty for not doing the things that are being touted everywhere as self-care.
Showing up to your life fully is care.
Take the self-care pressure off. See what happens when you wake up in the morning and simply say to yourself: Today, I am here to live.