By definition, self-care envelopes most things related to staying physically and emotionally healthy – hygiene, nutrition, and seeking medical care when needed. It’s steps that an individual can take to manage stressors in their life, in order to take care of his or her own health and well-being.
Through the pandemic, we saw an increased emphasis on self-care. More of us were at home, and many of us had more stress or anxiety piling up than ever before. Because of it, about 67% of Americans now claim that personal self-care routines that developed through the pandemic stuck around, and are now part of daily life.
It’s a wonderful routine to have in place. Yet today, I believe we need to introduce a new aspect relating to self-care: self value.
Let's Dig Into Self Value
You protect what you value.
Much of what is happening in our daily lives can result in a lack of value and appreciation for ourselves. We are extremely focused on others. As women we tend to be pleasers; we often want to accommodate and prove our value so others will recognize it. This ultimately leads to over-commitment and overwhelm.
One recent study found people pleasing behavior to be exhibited in the majority of female participants (54%), while only a minority of men (40%) showed similar tendencies. As a result, women are suffering from greater adverse effects on both mental and physical health from these behaviors.
Step one to overcoming this is to challenge yourself to see your own unique self value.
Defining Self Value
Self value means that we appreciate our gifts, talents, abilities, and resilience, and we embrace how they work for us. It should become something that we strive to protect at all costs.
This means that we create a lifestyle around valuing ourselves, and self-care then ultimately bleeds into that lifestyle. We must prioritize caring for ourselves and for others, while creating healthy boundaries in the process. Caring for yourself and caring for others need not be mutually exclusive — you can do both without one being sacrificed in the name of the other.
Look at it this way: self-care is more of an action, while self value is a sustainable lifestyle. Just because you are caring for yourself, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re protecting yourself and your life. You can care for something in the moment, transactionally, but may not go on to maintain it.
Creating Your Own Self Value
This might be hard for some of us to grasp, so please read it slowly. You were born worthy; not because of what you are able to do, but because of who you uniquely are. You are you: distinct and memorable, with your very own fingerprint.
The world values things that are rare; black pearls, red diamonds, ivory, etc…
So why are so many of us constantly fighting to fit in, and devalue our own uniqueness? When we get sucked into a never-ending cycle of trying to be like others, trying to look a certain way, act a certain way; we are minimizing our own self-worth. And ultimately, we are stripping away any self-care practices that we might have in place.
Because no matter what your sleep routine might look like, or how intensive your skin care regimen may be, if you’re looking in the mirror and striving to look or act like someone else, you are diminishing your self value.
Research has shown that to build your self-esteem and self confidence requires not only changing the way you think and act towards yourself but also getting out there and doing things to engage in personally meaningful projects for which you can be proud of. This leads to a growth in self-assurance, which in turn triggers further achievement. It’s an upwards spiral.
Protecting Your Self Worth
We know that self worth, self value, and self-care are all tied to each other. So, how can you protect them?
Take a moment to break down the ‘pillars’ of your self value. What are they? For many of us, the pillars will be similar. Below are a few examples:
- Mental Health
- Spiritual Health
- Physical Health
Your pillars of self value are what make up your priorities. Please understand these should be your OWN priorities – not what the outside word is telling you is important. And while perhaps your above pillars will look the same – what makes up these pillars is going to be different
Write down what your pillars are. Then pause and ask yourself how you are ensuring that you’re protecting them – each of them – on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. In some instances, it might be as simple as saying no to invitations to protect your time and space. Protecting your self value is quite often shutting the detractors out. If it’s not helping you, or adding to your value… it could be hurting you.
No is not a dirty word; in fact, it might be one of the more powerful words in your toolbox.
Self-Care Versus Self Value: Your Path Forward
Google ‘self-care’ and you’ll be inundated with thousands of articles, videos, and guides to help you ‘feel the best yet.’
And while we know a lot of what is out there is a quick fix, some of it can be helpful for your mental and physical health. The point of this article isn’t to tear down self-care, as it’s truly important. But understand that self-care routines should be rooted in your self value.
So how can you implement more strategic, intentional self-care practices across your life?
Start with setting reminders for yourself. I would argue that much of self-care begins with sleep. If you’re not getting enough sleep, there are not enough face creams in the world that can correct sleep deprivation. Calendar your days so that you’re prioritizing sleep, and use that magic word (no) if you need to turn down an event for an early bedtime.
Do you have time set consistently to mentally reset? If not, we can help with that. Resetting your brand and your time is critical, and a great way to cut down on some of the noise.
Ultimately, our self-care time is going to look different for each of us. But if you’re strategically tying your self-care practices to the pillars of self value in your life, you’re likely to feel more balanced, and see consistent results.
Self-care is more than just that action of caring for yourself. At its core, it should be coming from a place of truly valuing yourself, and the various aspects of your life. Ask yourself, how are my current self-care practices building into my self value?
If you come across a practice that might not be directly tying into your self value, then it may be time to cut that one loose, and find something new. Because at the end of the day, taking care of ourselves and our lives is an evolving process, that we can always be improving upon.