Demonstrating that it is a process, not an outcome, a confession that I don’t do bubble baths, the joy of a new haircut, and a little update on new practices.
Sometimes when I tell people that my students and I study and share self-care practices, I have a little flare of imposter syndrome. Because despite all that work, I almost always feel like my self-care needs improving/could be better.
A few months ago, I was speaking with a close friend when I said something that surprised her: I seldom do errands on the weekend.
When asked to break down exactly how that was possible, I couldn’t pinpoint when I had stopped doing errands on the weekend (although I know it’s been a long time, definitely years). I could easily share my why (I use my weekends to recharge myself and spend time with my family).
This conversation reiterated to me how much self-care is a journey of habit-building, so much more than any specific outcome. When we practice those changes – even small ones – over and over, eventually they slip right into our lives as a habit. Often without much fanfare, or maybe without us even noticing.
There are so many definitions of self-care that exist! It can be very confusing. As a reminder, here is the definition that we originally developed and that I’ve used ever since: Self-care is anything you do to replenish your personal and professional selves. Recognizing, of course, that those are the same person!
Why is this definition so awesome? It’s quite broad, which means:
- It can encompass a wide range of behavior, and
- You are probably already doing lots of things that are self-care.
Stuff I do (almost) every day.
Here are examples of things I do (almost) every day. You’ll see that none of these are huge, but all of them are designed to manage my energy and replenish myself when I can. Remember that there is no one way to do self-care, so many of these things might not appeal to you, and that’s okay!
I also included my why – what’s more important than the specific behaviors we choose is that we have a reason for those behaviors and they are linked to our values.
Stuff I do at least regularly.
As you might see, many of my self-care choices are about structuring my life to promote my values (calmness, creativity, meaningful work, family). There are no bubble baths in sight!
I hope these examples are helpful! As you can see, they aren’t the most flashy or exciting experiences (no spa days! no vacations!), but they work for me – and that’s most important.
What else is new?
I continue to practice my habit of resting, even if it’s just a few minutes here and there. I’ve taken a longer break mid-afternoon to play some video games a few times, and wow, that was restorative! 10/10 recommend.
I learned that running errands after work/school is not the best choice for my family. The hard way. Snacks were thrown. Tempers flared. We won’t be doing that anymore!
Grad Students Against Burnout! will be returning in Fall, if not sooner—this time as a research project! Stay tuned.
I had my first professional haircut since 2019. Cutting it at home had been financial self-care for me, but this is my favorite haircut ever. What we consider self-care can shift over time.
In-self care solidarity,
Now seeking: Questions that need answers!
I’m always on the hunt for questions about self-care.
Especially the nitty gritty, embarrassing questions no one wants to ask, but everyone wants answers for I love to answer those!
The best way to ask questions? Privately of course!
Send me your questions using the button below: