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Self-care is a term we hear often. But, do we really know what it is?

According to Oxford Languages, self-care can be defined as "the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress."

I think that definition is actually a pretty good one. Let's break it down a bit:

  • Self-care is a practice. Self-care needs to happen regularly and consistently, and you'll get better at it over time.

  • Self-care requires taking an active role. Self-care rarely happens by accident. You have to be intentional about deciding when and how you self-care.

  • Self-care is protective. Self-care is best when it's used to prepare, not repair.

  • Self-care is about one's well-being and happiness. Self-care is taking care of yourself and treating yourself. In other words, it's necessary sustenance but it's also luxurious indulgence.

  • Self-care is especially important during periods of stress. Self-care is the most important when everything else makes it seem like the least important.

Does any part of that definition surprise you? Personally, I had never thought of self-care as protective. I always planned self-care for the evening after what I knew was going to be a stressful day, or the Saturday after what I knew was going to be a stressful week. And, although that may still happen sometimes (you can't always predict stress!), I definitely will start planning preemptive self-care as well!


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