self care zen garden

Self care. It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot lately, especially in the skincare community. But what exactly is it, and why is it important?

The definition of self care is, “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.”


But what does it mean?

It can mean a lot of things. Self care can be…

  • slapping on a sheetmask and watching your new favorite Netflix show
  • indulging in a multi-step skincare routine, with all the serums in between
  • heading to a nearby park and taking in the sounds of nature while reading a good book
  • asking Alexa to find you the perfect meditation soundtrack as you enter zen
  • punching and kicking all of the bags…at your nearest dojo/dojang
  • plopping a fizzy bath bomb in your tub for a relaxing soak
  • hugging your cat for as long as she’ll allow it (not very)
  • staying in and treating yourself to a favorite meal
  • a gooooood nap
  • …and so on….

Self care can be so many things, as long as it makes you feel good. Genuinely good.

It’s not something you’re forced into doing or think you have to do in order to feel better. It’s not just something you post on Instagram for the likes. (That’s not to say I don’t condone sharing self care routines on social media, but make sure they’re meaningful beyond that.)

The best time to indulge in self care?

Obviously, self care is a perfect remedy for when you’re feeling down. If you need a pick-me-up after another bad day at work or school for instance, it makes sense to gravitate toward those activities that’ll help make you feel better.

But self care doesn’t have to be on reserve for those situations exclusively — practice it when you’re already feeling happy, too. Consider it maintenance, or a booster for your already positive mood.

So…why is self care important?

There really is something to be said about taking care of ourselves, especially for those of us who habitually put the needs and wants of others first.

As they say during the safety checks before a flight, “Make sure your oxygen mask is secured before helping others.” Before you tend to everyone else, you have to be taken care of first. You can only satisfy so many people with an empty cup.

Human beings can only handle so much. Even those with the toughest mentalities eventually reach a breaking point. Whether it’s with skincare, massages, board games, or whatever else you fancy, you need to treat yo’self as much as you can, as often as you can, for your sake and those around you.

Never feel sorry for taking care of yourself

It sounds cliche, but you need to listen to your heart. If it’s telling you to lay low and give yourself some extra special attention, then do that. On the flip side, if it’s saying that a night out with friends will energize you, then go out and do that. Never feel bad for carving time out for yourself when you need it.

If you lament that you’re too busy, the good news is that self care doesn’t have to take a whole chunk of time out of your life. It can even be something as simple as catching up on a favorite Webtoon, or just ditching your phone altogether for a half hour to partake in some quiet meditation.

What matters is that you’re looking out for number one. You’re the one person you know you can trust most in this world. So do right by yourself. And take care.

How do you practice self care?

Share your suggestions in the comments.

Photo was taken by me at the Japanese Gardens in Kildare, Ireland in 2017.

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I am not a professional. All opinions are my own. 

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