A few weeks ago I came across a hashtag on Twitter, #BoringSelfCare, and it has really stuck with me.
The idea of the hashtag is that self-care is not all about vacations and paid services to treat yourself. Those are things that counseling students have often said they don't have time for, or can't afford. I'm sure it's not just students who believe that, but also professionals, and many of our clients. We come to believe we don't have the luxury of maintaining our wellness because we imagine it's a very involved activity. I think that's an unfortunate misunderstanding of what it is to care for ourselves, and this hashtag helps counter that.
Self-care isn't just fancy, big, or expensive gestures for ourselves. It's also simple, mundane things like doing the laundry and cleaning the floors, or exercising or eating something good. This possibility connected with me immediately, as I looked from my computer screen to my grungy carpet. I realized what a simple thing it would be to go from resenting the dirt there to cleaning it up and enjoying that freshness underfoot the rest of the day. I could suddenly see that impending chore as a chance to give a simple gift to myself instead of dreading a cleaning task to cram in with the others on Saturday. It would only take 5 minutes, less than the time I could have spent worrying about it.
Since then, I've started doing a bit of laundry here and there on weekdays, running the dishwasher and looking forward to putting the dishes away later that day, and vacuuming on random days. I'll admit, having the privilege of automation makes it an extra treat; I love when the machines (the dishwasher, the washing machine) do the work with me.
I've also been walking on the treadmill while I do schoolwork or watch a show, listening to Pandora in the car instead of the same stuff on the radio, and savoring a PSL at work as other little treats. These things help me pause, feel good, or just enjoy something I'd be doing anyway a little bit more.
They aren't costly or time-consuming, but when I remind myself to integrate pleasant or helpful little things into my day and approach them as valuable, I get more from them. I hope this might inspire you to experiment with some #boringselfcare, too!