We’ve all heard or read about the buzzword “self-care” probably more times than we’d like to admit. It's almost become a tired cliche, albeit a very essential, new-normal pandemic-era part of life. And with good reason. According to Forbes, there’s been a renewed commitment to self-care among Americans, with recent research showing that more than 75 percent of consumers finding wellness “more important than ever” last year and 50 percent planning to spend more money on self-care. And now, with new COVID-19 variants looming, it’s important to make wellness a priority.
But what does self-care look like? It can be whatever makes your heart sing, helps promote healthy habits, and allows you to find balance in your life. It can also go way beyond just getting a mani-pedi, meditating, or carving out time on a Saturday to yoga-and-brunch ala Issa and Molly on Insecure. Hey, there's nothing wrong with a little beautification or more than a few baecations, but here are four smart ways to invest in your self-care to take things up a notch:
1. Get a coach and push past last year's limits.
Oftentimes we can totally overlook the benefits of coaching, especially if we're super-organized high achievers or people who just know our groove in life and stick to it. Why would you need a coach, especially in the realm of self-care? Well, this type of coaching isn't among that Motivational Monday stuff you get for free on social, nor does it involve anyone down a court. There are professionals who can help you elevate from one level to another in whatever aspect of life you need to do so. The International Federation of Coaching, a leading platform of coaching credentialing, specifically defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
So, in the same way you’d hire a coach to help you take your business from six figures to seven or level up at work, you could hire one to help you expand the boundaries of your perception of what self-care means for you. Whether you’re looking to shift your diet and nutrition habits, take the stress out of time management, maximize your workouts, or even align your thoughts with abundance, positivity, and balance, coaches can guide you through those goals. It’s an act of self-care to invest in a professional who can be an advocate, accountability partner, and sounding board for growth in your self-care journey.
2. Help yourself by hiring some help.
Sometimes the greatest act of self-care is the release of responsibility and pressure. Oprah herself once told Buzzfeed that her self-care routine includes taking a day to do “absolutely nothing.” Delegation can be a great way to facilitate such a moment. Sure, we all know the productivity and mental health benefits of delegation when it comes to work, but delegating some of your everyday home-based tasks can also be part of your self-care routine.
This one has two benefits: Not only are you taking care of self, but you can support another woman in business. Ever had moments when that mani-pedi just wasn't curing the blues because you’re obsessing about responsibilities at home? Why not hire a cleaning service, TaskRabbit, or even an enterprising family member to take care of the cleaning or laundry twice a week? Or try getting a credentialed babysitter or nanny to watch the kids. Tap into a gift-giving service or marketplace like woman-owned Knack or BLK+Green to treat yourself to a monthly gift, product, or service. Hire a great chef for ready-made weekly meals or invest in a meal prep service that takes the guesswork out of nutrition. It’s all about release and redefining the norm for what currently works for your life.
3. Reevaluate your therapist. (And, if you don't have one, get one.)
The demand for therapists, especially online appointments, surged last year, according to The New York Times, so it’s very clear how important it is to talk to a professional to meet our mental health needs. And with every investment—whether it’s money or time—the return is important. Are you getting your needs met? Have your needs changed since the onset of the pandemic? You might have overcome certain issues, added on others, or you might not be seeing progress. Just like with a doctor, you might want to seek a second opinion or explore your options, but you won’t know that unless you ask the questions and explore where you are in the journey. And if you don’t have a therapist, now might be the time to invest in one, even if it’s just for one introductory session as a sort-of check up, just like that initial visit to the gynecologist or the eye doctor.
In vetting a therapist, The American Psychological Association recommends asking about their experience and credentials, finding out if they are familiar with evidence-based treatments, and updating yourself on what their specialties are. Review their methods, the costs, the time commitment, and the connection they have with you. Take an honest look at your role, the time spent utilizing their services, and the impact on your life. Get second and third opinions if needed. This can help in evaluating whether the self-care we're committing to in the form of self-care is progressive, appropriate or even relevant today.
4. Open up to innovative technology, methods, or systems.
No matter what you're into for self-care, there's a technological innovation, modern system, or new method revolutionizing within that arena. You’ve got the latest trends of LED light mask applications, wellness fragrances, AI treatments, and “custom cosmotech,” if you’re the beauty enthusiast. There’s the exciting worlds of “wellness tourism,” home-swapping, and wilderness adventures for the travel lover. Wearable wellness trackers and fitness gaming are predicted to be popular draws for workout buffs this year. And of course, biotech, telemedicine and digital care continue to revolutionize how we address preventative and diagnostic care for our bodies.
There’s an app for almost everything under the sun, from tracking sleep, helping you relax via meditation, scheduling hobby classes, or keeping track of all your self-care activities. Even TikTokers are getting major shine for the benefits of creating wellness or self-care challenges and ASMR videos. It’s just a great idea to at least look into how you can use new technology, systems, or procedures to level up in whatever you love to do for self-care or even challenge you to explore something new.
No matter what self-care looks like for you, allow these options to carry you through 2022. May it be the year you elevate a bit higher toward your best self.