I hear the word self-care tossed around a lot. Sometimes it’s a face mask; sometimes it’s going on a shopping spree; sometimes it’s an expensive meal. Rarely do I hear about self-care that doesn’t involve something costly and Instagram-worthy.
Self-care can be so much more than buying something nice. And that’s not to discount those choices. It’s valid to treat yourself, to use the phrase popularised by Parks and Recreation. But treating yourself is not all of self-care.
Buying things is definitely not self-care when social media directs women towards products and ads that can be toxic. Self-care is not adopting a diet that an Instagram influencer claims will make you lose weight. It’s not buying a waist-trainer. Self-care is not adopting harmful ideas about your body image.
Self-care is a useful concept, but it’s one that goes beyond buying things. It’s about listening to what you want. All it means is that you should look after yourself and respond to what your body and mind needs. It’s not about listening to what companies and social media tell you that you want. With that in mind, here are some ways that you can treat yourself… without spending money:
Actually give yourself a day off
And by that I mean a real day off. Don’t check your email. Don’t help someone move furniture. Don’t go out for dinner. Ignore your work and social obligations and take a day where you just do nothing.
Yep, the outside world exists. But sometimes you need a reminder of that. So go for a walk, get some fresh air, and remember where you are. There’s a lot going on and not all of it is about you. It’s important to remember that.
Take a long bath (or a shower)
If you can’t take a whole day off, this is the next best thing, because hot water is just good. For your skin and for your voice and for relaxation. Don’t think about how long you’re in there, or how much you have to do – zone out for a bit and let the world fade into the background.
Put on a sad movie and have a cry. The Greeks knew that catharsis was important and that’s no less true today. Giving yourself permission to let out your emotions can help you to understand and improve your mental state.
Sleep is part of being human and it shouldn’t always be regulated by a smartphone alarm. Like allowing yourself a day off, allow yourself some extra sleep. And don’t feel guilty about it. No alarms, no worrying about what you have to do.
Read an old book
Sit down without a phone or music and reread one of your favourite books. There’s no pressure to absorb new information or choose a new book to read. An old book is like an old friend and it’s right there to remind yourself that some things are simple and constant.
Sexual pleasure is a gift that you can always give yourself. There are a lot of things you can give yourself without spending money; an orgasm is the best of those things. Take some time and masturbate, without guilt, without shame, and without time pressure. Take ‘self-care’ to the next level.
You’re welcome.Support Villainesse