The Missing Piece of the Self-Care Puzzle

Self-Care. It's Not What You Think.

The Missing Piece of the Self-Care Puzzle

Does self-care sometimes feel a little one-dimensional to you?

Do you feel like the fun has become a little lost over the years?

We've been told that self-care is essential for our happiness, but the quintessential face-mask-cucumber-eyes/insert-self-care-activity-here solution often isn’t enough to get us invested.

It's not that self-care doesn’t work. We just may have misplaced an important piece of the self-care puzzle.

According to relationship coach and best-selling author, Laura Doyle, self-care is the practice of taking care of your own physical, emotional, and mental health needs in order to have the energy and resources to give to others.

Sounds amazing, right?

But self-care is so much more than a pedicure, a massage (although these things are pretty great too, right?).

Take a moment, and think back to the last time you felt exhilarated. Or you laughed so much you cried. Or you felt so engaged in what you were doing you forgot about everything else.

I'm talking about in the moment. Not after the fact. Not after you finished that huge assignment, or after you finally finished cleaning the house, and felt happy because of your great achievement.

Happy in the moment. Maybe it was recent, maybe it was many years ago, as a child.

This may be your missing puzzle piece.

This is a forgotten way of self-care.

Recently, I was given the task of writing down 20 things that make me happy. This would become my self-care list.

It was difficult to start with. I wanted to write down things like "got to bed on time", or "actually cleaned the house".

But these things were achievements, which felt great, but they did not feed my soul in the moment of activity.

As I thought deeper, I came up with a growing list, and started to see a pattern. The items in my list invariably involved some sort of fun physical activity, good food, and often, people I loved. Surfing in the ocean with family, drinking beautiful tea (of course), picking strawberries and eating strawberry gelato, sitting around the campfire with friends, eating food that's so good I want to cry, climbing over rocks at the beach, riding a bike down a big hill, sandboarding, having coffee with a bunch of crazy girls.

When I do these things, the by-product is happiness. No forcing a “be positive” mindset. No “put on a happy face” needed. No extra effort required.
Self-care is doing those activities, that in the moment, nothing else is better.

When you engage in these activities, and do them frequently, you don’t have to try to be happy.

And when you are happy, you infect those around you with happiness too.

What could you put on your self-care list?