You’ve probably seen them all over your social media. In a desperate attempt in trying to take control of your life and feel better about yourself, you turn to Twitter threads giving away free self-care tips. These threads go a long way, even providing more than hundreds of advice that range from eating your favourite food to buying supplements to boost your energy.
While most of these seem promising and are actually helpful, 280 characters can lead to misinterpretation. Suddenly, you find yourself doing the opposite of self-care—avoiding responsibilities, overindulging on food and expenses, and even becoming asocial. This is because it is not something you can achieve overnight and it’s definitely not as beautiful as it seems.
As a brand promoting self-care, we feel responsible to let you in on what we believe is the truth behind it. For us, self-care is constantly a work in progress and does not just end at eating your favourite food or staying in. Think of it as some kind of mental workout you need to practice over and over. True self-care has no instant results, but you will realize it is worth it in the long run. With that said, here are some psychology-backed self-care advice that you should actually listen to.
Take care of your basic needs first
Before we start with the nitty-gritty, it’s important to know that indulgence without covering your basic needs is a band-aid solution. For instance, you can spend all you want on a designer bag, but if you come home to a stack of credit card bills and live paycheck to paycheck, you’d still end up with more stress and problems.
What self-care threads don’t mention is that it is hard even covering your basic needs. Being able to sleep for eight hours, live in a comfortable home, spend within your means, and eat healthy food are not things you can magically balance on the palm of your hand. Take time to train yourself to track expenses, build necessary habits, and create goals that sustain these basic needs.
The psychology behind this is quite simple. According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you need to fulfill your needs in order. This means that before being able to reach self-actualization, you need to go through your other needs, the first step being your physiological needs which include food, shelter, and sleep among others.
Spend time to get to know yourself
Millennials grew up on magazines urging them to be themselves as an all-around tip from surviving school to dating the person of your dreams. But what they don’t teach is howexactlyone becomes themselves. Quite frankly, no one knows. Humans are ever-changing and we discover different versions of ourselves every day. However, there are some steps to getting to know ourselves more.
Author Meg Selig has enumerated both benefits and ways to gain self-knowledge. The necessity of self-knowledge is an endless list. From better decision-making to true happiness, everyone can agree that knowing yourself is important to live your life to the fullest. Even the very basis of self-care is self-knowledge. Finding out what works for you means having to find out even the smallest details such as what scents you prefer or what shows you like watching.
Be careful of personality tests though! Most of them are not accurate and reliable. The only way to build an accurate portrait of yourself is through knowing how you respond in certain situations, things you hate and like, your background, your lifelong goals, and more.
Develop meaningful relationships
Everyone wants to feel like they are a part of a loving community. Whether it’s your family or your friends, surrounding yourself with people you love and making meaningful healthy relationships are important in taking care of yourself. One thing that self-care threads got right is cutting off toxic relationships, but what they don’t tell you is sometimes, some meaningful relationships just need a little more work. Sometimes, you yourself need a little work.
Bowlby’s attachment theory explains how we build relationships and how it traces back to our upbringings. Find out your attachment style and work from there. It’s also important to find out your loved one’s attachment style so you can understand them better. Relationships aren’t easy; there will definitely be bumps in the road. By knowing your boundaries, you’ll find out which relationships are worth keeping and which are too toxic to be in your life.
Take full responsibility
The most annoying part of self-care threads is definitely the amount of “tips” that lead to avoiding responsibility. For one, don’t ghost relationships you want to drop or just ignore friends you don’t want to hang out with anymore. Unless it’s unsafe for you to interact with them, ending relationships requires a conversation or at least a message.
Another misinterpreted tip is just buying whatever you want or taking as much time as you please. Don’t forget the consequences of your actions. No matter what acts of self-care you believe is important, always consider the consequences or what you need to make up for it. Taking a long leave? Do a proper turnover. Buying a designer bag? Save up for it instead of maxing out your credit card. As we mentioned, self-care is not all that pretty. Sometimes it includes explaining to someone why you unfollowed them and having to deal with awkward conversations.
And for the best part, indulging yourself
Indulgence is definitely not something to avoid despite it being the center of self-care threads. The foundational reason for these tips is true—youdoneed to treat yourself. Whether it’s hustling at work or successfully building a self-care habit, having small indulgences here and then releases endorphins that will not only make you feel good, but also motivate you to do well. Set goals for yourself and reward yourself with your favourite things. You’ll be training your mind to accomplish them in no time!
In a way, taking care of yourself is similar to taking care of your best friend. You want the best for yourself, just as you want the best for your friend. We know that sometimes, the best doesn’t come easy. This could mean letting go of harmful habits you’ve built for years or going through the painful process of relearning yourself and the very definition of self-care. It will definitely get ugly, but the end result is going to be just as beautiful.