The Real Face of Self-Care

Words by: Elodie Ricaud
Art by: Naiyanat Sauratanahai

Post-lockdown, everyone is still fixated on the importance of mastering the art of self-care. And rightly so. While in certain contexts, this word has been rendered a cliché with its focus on beauty and wellness consumption, its introduction also serves a deeper purpose. It reminds us to invest in ourselves and prioritise our needs in this fast-paced, chaotic and unpredictable life. 

For me, self-care has come to mean many things, from having a sit-down meeting with my internal aura to buying a $45 Aēsop hand wash all in the name of ‘treating myself’. Yet above all, what I’ve come to find is that these seemingly small things are essential to my well-being and can always be weaved into my day-to-day activities as a reminder to imbue more peace, joy and passion into my life. 

Without further ado, here are three little ways that I show myself some self-love. 

Dancing my troubles away 

Dancing has always been my love language and one of my sacred forms of self-expression. Not only is it great cardio, it arouses my creativity, leaves me rejuvenated and best of all, helps me enter an alternate reality where the only thing that matters at that moment is not missing a beat. It can feel silly to prance around my room making uncoordinated choreographies, but that is the point. Dancing is universal in that there is no precise way to do it, except to have fun. Being vulnerable enough to let myself move freely helps me to release tension and blow off steam. Whenever I’ve been labouring away at my laptop for hours on end or wrapped up in a stressful situation, even if I don’t feel like it, you’ll find me getting my groove on and, sooner or later, smiling in the process. 

Finding peace in a simple ‘no’ 

As an extroverted introvert (someone who is a great socialiser but gets their energy from being alone), I’ve repeatedly found myself fiercely agreeing to plans, only to later conclude that I forgot to diarise the most important event: down-time. Navigating the complexities around setting healthy boundaries takes courage and determination, as there are only so many instances that I can drain my emotional energy all in the name of FOMO. Missing a once-in-a-lifetime event to stay home, read, sip some tea and catch up on sleep may not align with everyone’s version of fun, but it’s a great way of tuning into what my body and mind values while learning to drown out societal expectations. Sometimes you have to say ‘no’ to the demands of others so that you can explore what ‘yes’ really means to you.  

Choosing spontaneity 

While choosing comfort is necessary, deciding to step out of myself and my uncompromising routine into a new situation is another level of bravery that helps me feel alive. There is a beauty in risk-taking and indulging in the novel, free of guilt. In the past, agreeing to do the unfamiliar has left me with pleasant surprises and newfound burning confidence. Whether it be signing up for a random art workshop or filling in for a friend’s netball team after not playing for five years (and a lack of cardio), I have decided to set aside some time to go out into this world without planning for the sole purpose of embarking on an adventure. So far, I can say that surrendering to the flow of things has opened me up to all the hidden values and possibilities that are just waiting to be explored in this big world of ours. 

Ultimately, self-care is worth the hype if it means that I can still show up for myself amidst the business of life, find new ways to connect to my intuition, and re-centre my energy on things that are purposeful to my spirit. 

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