Singer Kelly Clarkson had her appendix removed only a few hours after hosting the 2019 Billboard music awards. The headline on social media? “Not All Heroes Wear Capes”. I admire Kelly Clarkson and her work ethic, but I wish, “Kelly Clarkson took care of herself today” would get as many retweets!
Our society hasn’t paid much attention to self-care. Now we have record numbers of people being treated for anxiety disorders or burnout. We read about the problem but still value that professional who can do it all.
Last month a journalist who wanted an expert to comment on the definition of self-care contacted me. Her take was that the term is now so prevalent that people may indulge in unhealthy behaviors under the guise of self-care. The example she gave was a spouse getting upset over a partner’s nights out away from the children. Getting together with girlfriends to whine over wine is fun, but is it self-care?
For me, the first question I ask is does the activity support mindfulness? Activities that are fun can support our wellbeing, but I can’t defend a mind-numbing activity as self-care. If you drink alcohol and indulge in desserts every day, they won’t sustain you; both can have a negative impact on your health. Self-care is good for your mind and body. That doesn’t mean that going out to celebrate is wrong, simply a reminder that a self-care routine includes a variety of activities.
Self-care is a daily commitment to choose how you want to live in the world, an intention to consider your needs rather than getting swept up in the busyness of life. Self-care can be as simple as repeating, “I’m not going to live like that!” Life can always bring the rain, wouldn't it be nice to have an umbrella?