A few months ago, I hosted a 5-Day challenge on Self-Care, and while I was preparing for it and sharing my ideas with some of my friends, I realized how many of them were actually confusing Self-Love with Self-Care; they thought they are one and the same. But they are not. So, in this blog post, I will show you how self-care is only a part of self-love, albeit a very important one.
Taking Care of Yourself is Only One Part of Self-Love
Self-Love is a very big concept that rests on four pillars, with Self-Care being only one of them. The other three are Self-Discovery, Self-Acceptance, and Self-Worth. Or we could say, Self-Love is a 4-step journey that takes you from finding out who you are (Self-Discovery) to accepting and appreciating who you are (Self-Acceptance).
How Lack of Self-Care Made Me Sick
Most of us are brought up with the idea that we should take care of other people first before we can take care of ourselves, and I was no exception. Whenever I didn’t do this, I was being told I was selfish. I married young, and by the time I was 29, we had 3 children, two of them very small, and a big house to take care of. Because my husband was traveling a lot for work, everything that had to do with family and house rested more or less on my shoulders. There was no time left to take care of myself.
And then I had a serious accident which left me in a hospital bed for several month. Having suddenly time to myself, I realized how exhausted I was. It dawned on me that neglecting my body, mind, emotions, and spirit, in short, my own needs, had led to a total physical and emotional exhaustion. I began to understand that this accident had been my wake-up call, and I committed there and then that I would take much better care of myself from now on.
Self-Care is a Lifestyle Choice
In general, taking care of yourself always starts with the decision to look after your body, mind, emotions, and spirit by taking the time to relax the body and mind, practice meditation, cook delicious and nutritious food, exercise, take a nap when you feel tired, learn to listen to your body’s messages, connect with nature, … the list is endless.
However – as I soon realized – proper self-care doesn’t mean doing some nice things for yourself whenever you feel like it. It isn’t something you make time for; instead, it is a lifestyle choice. Self-care is a practice that never ends. Every new day, the decisions you make, the movements you make, the thoughts you think, the words you speak, the emotions you feel, and the way you treat your body are opportunities to take care of yourself.
Self-care is very personal, and only you can decide what is right for you at any given moment in time. It’s about finding out what your innermost physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs are and then fulfilling those needs.