When Self-Care Isn’t Radical

blue sky with sun rays

Many have called self-care radical, but that always makes me wince a little. From my perspective, self-care doesn’t have to be radical to be meaningful.

While some approaches to self-care can be pretty intense, like leaving an abusive relationship or making a career change, most acts aren’t radical at all; they’re much more subtle.

During my 366-day self-care challenge, I experimented with at least one new activity every day using the 8 Dimensions of Self-Care as my guide.

8 dimensions of self-care wheel

View the full list of 366 self-care activities here.

And what I discovered was that some of the most therapeutic activities were small — taking a short walk, completing a routine task with a shift in mindset, doing something I wouldn’t normally do. Those little acts of kindness felt just as nurturing as the bigger, more expensive ones. For example, hugging my dog made me happier than spending $300 at the spa.

Those who view self-care the way I do — as a personal set of practices that promotes well-being — understand that health is a resource that enables them to care for their family and community more effectively. 

But not everyone agrees.

Many still view it as selfish, or even narcissistic, believing that self-sacrifice is a more noble way to express love — even when their self-neglect ultimately means they have less less to give to others. 

It’s not surprising, then, that self-care can seem like a radical notion. Because, for some, it probably is. 

Ultimately, we have to care for ourselves in a way that makes the most sense to us as individuals. So, whether or not you refer to your style of self-care as radical, as long as it’s improving the quality of your life, then it’s probably self-care.

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