What springs to mind when you think of these two simple words?
The individualistic, consumeristic self, indulging in ‘care’ which is additional, luxurious and hidden?
Or the definition of self? The entirety of a person, mind, body, soul, spirit? Ownership and autonomy over particular set of features?
What images springs forth from ‘care’? As a noun, does one think of provision of the necessary things to survive? Paying careful attention to ensure you ‘take care’?
Or maybe as a verb, the strongest sense of the word emerges. Care is defined as feeling concern or interest, attaching an importance to it.
In recent years, self-care has become a topic which has been released over the stratosphere. Bloggers, medics, teachers, leaders, all emphasise the importance of self-care, of taking time to pay attention to how to cultivate your life. The images of bubble baths and cups of coffee are banded around, scratching the itch but not wholly curing it.
In the midst of this view of self care, havens of truth are speaking out about the self care which makes an impact but may not look as insta worthy!
This is the type of self care I am behind. Intentional routines of action, provoking change in all areas of our lives.
But I may have found a problem.
Before we go any further, I want to remark on the gender-specific notion towards self-care. Women, whether mothers, daughters, student, employee, all are encouraged to delve deep into the holistic approach to care.
But what about the men?
Now I work for a charity which aims to eradicate gender-based violence and oppression against women, and I will be the first to stand up against inequality, but I still sense that men are somehow being lost in this quest to self care.
Maybe I’m blessed that my marriage is based upon equality and give and take. My role as a mother and M’s role as a father, may be more fluid and less traditional than most, but for us that works. Yet as I pursue self care, I’m aware self care is less available for men sometimes.
Going to the shops for mill, is not self care whether you’re a man or a women.
Buying all the bubbles in the world, with a glass of the finest wine, is not self care, if you’re drowning in debt and depression.
Let’s encourage self care across age, gender and ethnicity. Let’s loose the individualistic pretense of self care, and recognise that productive, efficient and happy people, lead more fulfilling lives corporately.
As we move into a new decade, the demographics of families is shifting. No longer is the mama the one at home raising children, making meals and doing the washing. The transient role in the domestic sphere has allowed men to take up that role also or instead of the mother.
Now here is my point: We all deserve self care.
Irrespective of gender, self-care needs to become integrated within our lives. Boundaries erected, solitude required and the digital world put away for an hour. If we are aiming for intentional lives, we too, must strive for intentional self care.
Learning to love yourself is like learning to walk—essential, life-changing, and the only way to stand tall.”Vironika Tugaleva