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Self-Care and Self-Love: How Do They Relate?

Alternative Self-Care

Self-Care & Self-Love

We often hear the term “self-care”, but what exactly does it mean?

The Oxford Dictionary defines self-care as “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress”. We often hear that you can’t really love anyone fully until you “learn to love yourself”. If you’re like the majority of young adults, you have absolutely no idea what that means.

Ideologies like these can be confusing, but it is all in the mind. Transform the concept of loving oneself into caring for oneself. Our own lives are something we can actually control. Although it often feels like the opposite. However, the media is somewhat to blame.

Self-care through products is a marketing scheme companies are using to make money. Since the Mad Men era, ads have had one purpose: to cause consumer self-doubt. Big business would have nothing without consumers, right? It only makes sense they offer products we want. Additionally, by utilizing strategies like celebrity endorsements and product placement, consumers construct a subconscious want for said product. That being said, there is no harm in treating oneself. Just be aware of these compelling tactics and the fact that it takes more than tangible items to protect your well-being.

If you’re looking to invest in yourself, here are some steps to take – financial tension not included.

Accountability

This is a loaded step, but accountability applies to a myriad of scenarios. When it comes to self-care, accountability allows you to stay true to self-commitments. It is imperative to give yourself time and space to recuperate from the outside world. Self-care lies in the balance between knowing when to rest and when to work.

Be Kind, Without Cutting Slack

Forgive yourself – when it is appropriate. To grow, one must understand the subconscious reason for certain behaviors. Without this understanding, these behaviors become difficult to counteract.  For example, why does it feel rewarding to stare at a screen for 3-5 hours after a long day? Most likely, lack of sleep from the night prior plus a draining day, equals a need to decompress. 

Wasting time usually causes disappointment in oneself – making it easier to procrastinate. However, finding the root of the problem allows you to take appropriate action to improve or eliminate unhealthy habits. Rather than stare at a screen after a long day, try productive activities that require less work from your brain. Taking a walk, cooking, and rearranging your room are a few ways to decompress healthily. Start in small increments and find the things that make you feel at ease.

Keep Guard on Physiological Needs

There’s a lot more to taking care of your body than you might think. Growing bodies need sleep, and a lot of it. Most young adults feel like they have no time to sleep, or that they can make up for lack of sleep. However, this is not true. Getting the amount of sleep your body needs is crucial. Therefore, it may be necessary to cut out distractions that take priority over sleep. 

Health is the most important aspect of self-care. Exercising, eating healthy, and adequate sleep all go hand-in-hand. When one is not met, the others cannot operate as they should. This is not an exclusive list – just a few, simple habits to ease into a self-care routine. 

Wherever you may be in life, loving yourself is caring for yourself, in every conceivable way possible.

Ayona Roychowdhury

Ayona Roychowdhury is a senior in high school. She is a dancer, and plays clarinet and guitar. As the founder of the Homewood HOSA chapter and an active Girl Scout, Ayona has a deep interest in healthcare and the well-being of the public. She is very involved at school as well, and is a drum major, SGA executive VP, robotics captain, Peer Helper, an Ambassador, and a Springboarder. Her future goals are centered around pursuing a career in the medical field.

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