“Self-care should include the cold shower as well as the scented tub.” -Mary Catherine Bateson

Self-care isn’t all face masks, bubble baths, incense, and glitter. The truth is, self-care is a spectrum and can range from the unenjoyable to the pleasurable. Self-care isn’t always polished. It can seem ugly sometimes. It’s self-love and loving yourself isn’t always going to look gorgeous.

We want the benefits of this care without doing the groundwork, and unfortunately, there is no real care without the groundwork, which forces you to dig deep into yourself in order to understand what that care actually is and what it looks like.

But what does it mean to do the groundwork? And what is it supposed to feel like?

We all have our own ideas and beliefs, and these tie into what we associate with self-care.

The groundwork includes spending time with yourself, meditating, or praying. It consists of reading and stimulating your mind to help you tune your brain and consciousness to the right frequency. This groundwork includes detoxing from all those things that cause negativity. It consists of doing the things that you are passionate about or get your heart going.

This is a list of what self-care actually looks like:

1. Self-care is when you decide to no longer avoid the necessary hard conversations with your internal self as an effort to grow. It’s releasing yourself of old habits and rituals that no longer contribute to your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health in a positive way.

2. Self-care is a form self-allowance. Allowing yourself to forgive yourself, to love yourself, and to let go of any fear or resentment while being open to all life experiences.

3. Self-care is embracing your weaknesses and insecurities as equally as you do your strengths and fortitude. It’s accepting that they make you who you are.

4. Self-care is a willingness to let go of the people who no longer align with your core values and are detrimental to your growth.

5. Self-care is also solitude. It’s intentionally setting aside time to spend by yourself so that you and your thoughts can get to know yourself better.

6. Self-care is going to the gym. The gym is a place to train your mind to break past any mental constraints that it may be holding onto.

7. Self-care is not saying ‘yes’ to every social event. Listen to your body and know when to stay in or go out without feeling guilty about it.

8. Self-care is embracing mindful practices like meditation so that you can have awareness of self and the different emotions and thoughts that plague your mind. It’s fighting any stigmas you may have held onto about seeking help for your mental health and seeking the help you need through therapy.

9. Self-care is realizing that you don’t have all the answers, while not being afraid to ask or seek support when you need it. It’s also being honest and authentic with your feelings and emotions. It’s realizing that you have control of how you react and respond to them.

10. Self-care is finding meaning in loss or rejection. Every loss is a lesson in which we can build more wins. Every denial is a lesson of growth and self-worth.

11. Self-care is allowing yourself to cry, to give your heart a break when it’s tired, and to detach yourself from the things you’re emotionally invested in.

12. Self-care is deconstructing any preconceived notions of who the world wants you to be and growing into who you really are.

Self-care comes in many forms and looks different for all of us. Most importantly, it is taking the time to heal. When doing the groundwork, don’t worry or get down on yourself as we’re all just doing our best.

Learn more about self-love and self-care, take one of our courses with a Self Love Beauty life coach! Check them out here!

Originally written by Jeremy Divinity

Unwritten is a family of writers who come together to share their stories. Whether you need a shoulder to cry on, a laugh to keep you going, or a place to keep you entertained, Unwritten is that best friend who is always there for you. As young adults, we get ourselves into a lot of messy situations, so our mission is to help you turn your messes into messages because if you can learn from your messes, so can others. Read more of our musings at http://www.readunwritten.com.