Self-care routines. Even just saying the phrase can be confusing to those of us in Generation X, or Baby Boomers. Admittedly, I was in my forties before I heard it the first time and had zero clue what it even meant. Thankfully, I have a built-in Generation Y translator (my son; henceforth referred to as “boychild”) and he was patient with my old brain as he explained. So, armed with that knowledge, why is having a self-care routine important? Do we all need one? Is this why Millenials are always triggered? (no) Let’s explore why having such a routine is important and why you should have one (yes, even you).
What is self-care
Officially, self-care is described as “ … any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated.” Seems a bit clinical so I thought about it. We all have different phrases for the same thing. Some call it “me time” while others call it “a breather” or “wine o’clock” (that’s not just me, right? Yes? Okay. Moving on). We’ve been doing this all our lives but the term itself is the latest catchphrase for it. Something as simple as taking thirty minutes to get a quick manicure could be classified as a self-care routine. Anything you do that rejeuvenates you; gives you breathing room to deal with the stressors we all feel. And it’s not limited to Generation Y, although they did coin this particular phrase.
Why is self-care important
It’s the end of a long week. You know the kind of week I’m talking about. The one where you run late for work at least once, forgot to set something out for dinner (or forgot to plug the slow-cooker in that morning), your spouse is getting on your last nerve, and all you want to do is curl up with a glass of wine and watch Saturday morning cartoons (don’t judge me). You might call up a friend and invite them to go out and have dinner with you. Or you have a standing Thursday evening date with your CrossFit trainer. That’s self-care. (psst. So is the wine and cartoons. Just putting that out there) If this is you, more often than not, you might find that self-care would be beneficial.
What role does social media play
So why didn’t we hear this phrase before now? Is it those Millenials again, acting all butt-hurt because someone triggered them? Well, the answer is yes and no. Thing is, since the advent of social media, we are being slammed with a constant barrage of negative. Yes, there’s the occasional day you spend looking at cute kittens, or having an animated conversation with someone on Facebook about the latest episode of Will & Grace. Technically those are also self-care (can’t get away from it) but the reason we need it is because we’re constantly plugged in. Always refreshing Twitter, or Facebook; griping about the state of our politics, arguing with internet trolls who want to tell you the US is better off with their party in charge. Our brains don’t get a break, even when looking at pictures of cats (you have to scroll past the shit to get to the emergency cuteness).
Trauma and social media
PTSD is a very real and very widespread side effect of Facebook, Twitter, TUMBLR, Snapchat, or Instagram. And more people are suffering the effects, not realizing what’s happening. We’re shell shocked … we’ve become so numb to it that even when we’re scrolling past, it’s still having a negative effect on our psychology. And even if you manage to escape it on social media, your peers and friends that you see in person? Many of them want to talk about the most recent catastrophe. You can’t go through life anymore with rose coloured glasses and tunnel vision. But you can arm yourself with some tips for self-care that help balance the flow of negativity.
Take a self-care break
Brace yourself. Sit down and please put all small objects out of throwing reach. Ready?
Nope, that’s it. Just stop.
Give yourself time to recouperate. Give your brain some time to shut off and process all the information you took in throughout the day. We’re running near 24 hours a day. As a society, we’re sleeping less and engaging more.
Think about your grandparents. Your parents. Examine what is different between your generations. Gen X’ers are working sometimes twelve hours a day and then coming home to “finish a few things up” for another four hours at home. Baby Boomers are working well into their sixties and seventies. Generation Y (Millenials) are literally living paycheck to paycheck while struggling under massive debt and the expectation they are going to get out into the world like Generation X did (hint: they really can’t. The job market isn’t there).
Good self-care routines fall under the “Keep It Simple and Smile”. Whatever you choose to do, don’t complicate it. Take the fifteen minutes to catch up with a good book. Make a standing date with your best friend to go out to lunch once a week. Take in a movie. Lock yourself in the bathroom and run a hot bath. Splurge on a piece of cake instead of forgoing dessert.
These are all self-care. Little moments that give you a break. And notice, please, what these all have in common.
They are all disconnected. Not a single one requires your phone, tablet, or laptop. (well okay, e-book readers are exempt) You can do them without being on Facebook. You can leave your phone/tablet/laptop at home or in your purse (breathe. It’s okay. You’ll make it, I promise). The point is to get away from the barrage; get away from the negative, overbearing, soul-sucking attacks. Get back to simple joys.
I don’t have time for this
You do. I promise that if you carve out the time, you’ll find you’re better prepared to deal with the day-to-day. And it doesn’t have to be something you do daily, weekly, or even monthly.
Want to save up all your energy for a truly stellar vacation once a year? Guess what? Yep … self-care. Have the chance to buy some really spectacular coffee? Buy it. Take care of yourself.
What self-care routines do you have established? Do you need help in scheduling the time or coming up with ideas? Reach out. Whether to me or to a friend. Comment below with your routines. Or post on Twitter using the hashtag #SelfCareRoutines.
The Dirty Oracle
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