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Self-care routine? You've probably been doing it all wrong

When we contemplate the concept of self-care, what images and sensations flood our minds? Perhaps it's the tranquillity of a candle-lit bath, effervescent bath bombs painting the water in bright hues of pink and blue. Maybe it's the aromatic embrace of fragrant oils wafting through the bedroom, enveloping our senses in a cocoon of relaxation. It could also be the simple joys of snuggling with the cat, wrapped in a warm woollen blanket, savouring a sliver of dark chocolate, and indulging in a timeless black and white classic on Netflix. In essence, self-care often manifests as a symphony of luxurious, gentle, and instantly rewarding experiences that release a cascade of feel-good chemicals in the brain, namely: dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.


The allure of these delightful moments is undeniable, yet a pertinent question lingers: Can we distinguish between self-care and self-indulgence? Is one inherently virtuous while the other carries a shadow of negativity? The initial paragraph paints a vivid picture, a kind of recurring Valentine's Day for many, but is there more to the narrative?


In truth, there is nothing inherently wrong with these aforementioned acts. They offer solace, relaxation, and an immediate sense of wellbeing. However, a more nuanced approach beckons us to explore the subtle nuances between addressing our immediate desires and tending to the aspects of ourselves that require deeper care.


Self-care tailored to our individual needs.


1.    Balancing Physical and Mental Demands:

For those entrenched in mentally demanding work, an uncomplicated physical activity like running, hitting the gym, or swimming can be a therapeutic escape to de-stress. Those with physically demanding jobs may find solace in a soothing soak, a muscle-relaxing massage, or a quiet reading session.


2.    Matching Complexity Levels:

If your daily tasks involve dull or repetitive actions, consider engaging in activities that stimulate your mind. Participate in activities demanding creativity, problem-solving or critical thinking, such as pub quizzes, gaming, or thought-provoking debates. Perhaps you spend large parts of your day around others engaged in back-and-forth conversations or meetings – if this becomes draining, recharge with alone time for a while such as walking, reading, or a power nap.


3.    Tailoring Self-Care to Stress Levels:

High mental stress warrants low-stress activities (cue the candles, bath bombs, and Netflix binge). Low mental stress invites mentally demanding pursuits. Challenge yourself with a complex kitchen recipe or embark on the journey of learning a new language.


Life is a tapestry woven with a mix of high and low stress, active and inactive moments, complex and simple tasks. Tuning into our inner selves becomes paramount, deciding which parts of us yearn for attention amid the hustle and bustle. While a routine can be a comforting guide, it's crucial to adapt our self-care practices to the ever-changing rhythm of our lives.


In conclusion, the key lies in attuning ourselves to the whispers of our body, mind, and soul. By doing so, we uncover the neglected fragments that often wither away in the routine of daily life. Rest assured, as you shower these overlooked parts with the care they crave, they will respond with gratitude. Indulging in activities that align with our needs rather than mere desires prevents us from sliding into excessive engagement, ensuring that the core aspects of ourselves receive the attention they deserve.

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