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Self Care, Self Love, and Whatever is in Between

When we think of self-care, one of the things that media has ingrained in us is that self-care is bubble baths, lit candles, and a glass of wine; every once in and while, that's what self-care looks, sounds, and feels like. As a lover of candles, this is part of what self-care looks like for me.

First, let's dive into what self-care means to me and where my understanding is centered. (The following points will be as simple & concise as I can make them, so make sure to comment if you want an extended explanation.)

  • I think of self-care as one of the ways in which we actively practice self-love.

  • Self-care doesn't mean that bad things won't happen to you or that it will somehow magically erase your trauma. It's the practice of being open to what you are feeling and experiencing while diversifying and sharpening the tools used to cope, get through, and deal with life.

  • Self-care is a continual and ever-evolving process of caring for and investing in yourself.

  • Your self-care plan and priorities shouldn't be identical to anyone else's; they should be as unique as you are.

  • Your self-care plan and priorities deserve intentional thought, attention, and evaluation.

  • Self-care plans and priorities are on a spectrum and will need to be adjusted as life ebbs and flows.

  • Self-care, although a necessity, unfortunately, is a privilege in our current society due to our capitalist-based community.

Depending on what is going on in my life, what I am experiencing, and what's happening around me, I tend to flex between survival (just trying to get through day to day w/o much thought or effort going into self-care), sprinkling self-care throughout my day to day, supporting self-care (practicing self-care in multiple sectors of my life), and strategic self-care (engaging in an authentic and thought out plan for self-care across most sectors of my life). Wherever I am in this spectrum is valid and okay. It doesn't mean I deserve any less dignity or respect in my life; it indicates what's happening in me and around me.

Since finishing school just a few weeks ago, one of my post-graduation goals was to be more intentional with my self-care, self-love, and self-worth journey. Like most things in my life, my brain wants to understand and evaluate where I naturally am with these things, how I branch into things that are a natural step and begin to reach for things that will require me to form new habits, skills, and ideals.

As someone who likes to write/map things out, I began to search for a way to help document and analyze where I was successful in my self-care while also identifying where I was avoiding areas of myself. So, as we start to dig into it, I want to introduce you to one of my go-to and favorite creators, Ms. Dominee, who is also known as the content creator for Self-Love Rainbow. Her content is incredible, and I hope you follow all her social media accounts and join me as a Patreon of her to support her vital content or check out her shop. Some of her free resources are used below as support documents for mapping out your self-care and self-love plan and priorities.

So, let's start with self-love...

Find a framework and definitions of self-love that work for you. Below you will find some of my favorite graphics about self-love from @selfloverainbow. Remember to be mindful of the good and the bad happening inside of you because both are valid and needed check-in points with yourself.

Here are a couple of notes that stood out to me while exploring these specific graphics (clicking on the images below will allow you to view them in a bigger format):

  • One of the powerful things for me was checking in with "Harmful Core Beliefs," help me be more mindful of the affirmations I was bringing into my routines.

  • I love five love languages; it's a framework that has been so powerful in identifying how others dictate how they accept and receive love. When I saw this graphic, my jaw dropped - to apply those understandings to me in my self-love journey... ingenious.

Self-Love Spectrum
Download PDF • 15KB

Next, let's move to self-care...

As discussed above, self-care is one of the foundational pieces to self-love. Below you will find some of my favorite graphics about self-care from @selfloverainbow. Once you start digging into what self-care looks, sounds, and feels like I think you can be surprised at how much can be included in what you already do for yourself. I was shocked at what I didn't think of as self-care but I do on a daily basis. Give yourself that credit, allow yourself to claim those things as part of how you care for you.

Here are a couple of notes that stood out to me while exploring these specific graphics (clicking on the images below will allow you to view them in a bigger format):

  • Doing this work, you need a good feelings wheel. Find one that fits you; this one is printed off and in my journal. Once I got more intentional about being present with my feelings, I wanted to get more specific than I feel angry, sad, or joyful.

  • The "Types of Self-Care" page is from @selfloverainbow free stuff that gets delivered to your email (I highly recommend you sign up by clicking here).

  • It's simply not enough for me to evaluate my self-care. It's imperative that you set up ways to check in on yourself, whether by using checklists like the ones below, setting up a task list or reminder on your phone, or having an accountability buddy.

Self-Care Spectrum
Download PDF • 15KB

It's all a spectrum...

By hitting download on the Self-Love and Self-Care Spectrums, you can either use the documents as a digital product or a printable product. Remember that as you begin to map out your ideas, this isn't about finishing; it's about having more tools in your box, understanding what and how things are impacting you, and caring for yourself in a way that is a little bit better than yesterday.

One of the most significant indicators of burnout is how I feel about this spectrum. If I feel exhausted by this process, it's a good indicator that I am exhausted and need to reevaluate, rest, and retreat to focus on myself. If I feel encouraged by this spectrum, I am leaning into that natural love and curiosity I have for myself. If I am somewhere in between, I am just actively engaging in my self-care cycle.

You are worth caring for. You are worth loving. I hope you spend sometime on yourself very soon.

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