Self-care is not just bubble baths or long vacations but finding ways all day, every day to support yourself, experts say.
“Self-care is really simple because it’s about being a good friend to yourself,” said Amy Kurtz, a certified health and wellness coach and author of the bestselling book “Kicking Sick.” “It’s repetitive and consistent personal rituals that treat ourselves well and believing that we are important and our well-being matters.”
Thinking of self-care as being a BFF to yourself gets to the core of self-care, which is as much about how you treat yourself internally — like the way you talk to yourself — as externally, like taking time to use a face mask.
“Many of us equate self-care to actually doing things that may decrease well-being, like treating ourselves to retail therapy or a latte with a double shot of sugar,” said Kurtz. “But you have to really break that habit and rethink the idea of rewards.”
“Self-care for me is always being there for myself and treating myself like I would someone I love,” she said.
Self-care has been even more in the spotlight in recent months because of the prevalence of burnout, the type of extreme stress or fatigue that can lead to everything from respiratory problems to gastrointestinal issues. Workplace burnout is now officially a recognized mental health concern.
It was burnout from a job that led Alisha Ramos, 29, to form Girls’ Night In, a self-care community for women.
“I felt so burned out and just sort of down that I wanted to create something that brings joy into other people’s lives and also serves as permission for them to take a break,” said Ramos, who previously worked in tech. “Looking at my friends, a lot of them had been feeling the same way as we were entering in our later 20s, hitting walls in our jobs and the news cycle was really heavy.”
For Ramos, self-care is something that is constantly evolving and always a part of her life.
“It’s whatever you personally need in that moment to care for your whole self, including your physical self and mental self and emotional self,” she said. “It’s going to look different from day to day and week to week.”
Click here to view some tips from Ramos and Kurtz to get started.