Self-care has been a chronically underappreciated, perpetually overlooked aspect of wellness that has had a recent explosion in popularity. But what is self-care, and what makes it such a revolutionary idea that warrants the recent scrutiny?
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is the set of tools we give ourselves to fend off fatigue from life’s daily stresses. Things like medical care, therapy, and even beauty rituals can fall under the umbrella of self-care so long as they are not strictly serving self-indulgence.
Self-care is the active choice to set aside time towards your personal wellness to ensure you can live a happy, healthy, long life. Self-care encompasses medical care, but a perfect bill of health is not necessarily the gold standard bearer when it comes to defining self-care. Standard medical care should serve the purposes of longevity and wellness — not the other way around.
Comparing Self-Care and Medicine
Self-care and medicine are two different beasts. However, they are closely related and often necessarily interlinked. As described above, medical care is how we refer to the measurable and quantifiable results we commonly associate with the medical and healthcare industry. (Think blood pressure, chronic health conditions, and other trackable conditions and results.)
Self-care refers to the methods through which we choose to address those results. How proactive you are in treating your health or what methods you use — that is, homeopathic medicine vs traditional medicine, etc. — makes up your self-care methodology.
For example, most everyone has a medication subscription they need fulfilled regularly. Let us say you are very mildly allergic to a filler used in a pill you absolutely must take. You can either rush to the pharmacy across town each week to get your prescription specially filled, or you can try compounding prescriptions instead.
Either way, the result is the same: you get your medication. However, the methodology you used to get there differs greatly.
Why Center Self-Care?
As opposed to all else serving the cold, hard measurements we associate with medical care, self-care removes you from the massive machinery of big medicine. Instead, self-care offers you a more individualized experience parallel to a medical system which dehumanizes its participants as standard practice.
And, at its core, self-care is what we have come to expect medicine to be in the modern age. Our increasingly fervent love for alternative and homeopathic therapies are just one great example of this shift in perspective. It is not just about test results: it is about feeling good and living well, too.
In lieu of self-care stopping at the point at which you are passable as “healthy” by the predetermined standards of the medical establishment.
Stress is an inevitable and unfortunate fact of life. While the degree to which life will wreak havoc on your peace and your mental health will vary comparative to other people, the coping skills remain steady across the board. Mastering your reactions to life’s many stressors is integral to a long one.
Why are coping skills so essential to self-care and your medical care? Stress hormones terrorize your body’s delicate ecosystem of different bodily functions. For example, stress hinders your ability to sleep, and to digest things as separate symptoms.
However, these things also interact with one another, and so their impaired functioning is even further deteriorating your body’s ability to cope because of their codependency. If you are overall feeling more sluggish, finding it harder to focus, or just generally less “you” — consider whether stress is eroding your body’s ability to function properly!
Self-care goes beyond coddling oneself. It is cultivating a lifestyle in which you can pursue your goals, remain content, and can experience safe and consistent character growth throughout your life.
Good habits translate to success not only in terms of your medical results. Good habits yield returns in your career, your professional relationships, and your confidence. There are plenty of reasons to start establishing them as soon as you can, but it is also never too late to create some solid good habits.
If you choose to live your life trying to achieve the perfect metrics in your medical tests, you will live a very sterile, very unsatisfyingly nutritious life. This is a perfectly valid and fine choice: you can decide to spend each hour dedicated to the management and your diet and wellness goals down to a T.
However, you will likely find more success if you prioritize your contentment alongside your longevity. After all, what is the point of living a long life if the life you are living is devoid of pleasure? Ideally, you will aim to strike a balance between being healthy and being happy.