By Lexy Ulrich, LPC
I love Netflix. I mean, I LOVE it. Where else can you watch whole seasons of incredible, gripping shows all in one sitting? (It’s not just me that does this in one sitting, right?) But—and there is a but—is Netflix really considered self-care?
Self-care has become a wildly popular term. I hear it being used all the time in all different settings. This tells me something.
It tells me just how desperate we all are to be taken care of, to be loved, to be cherished, and to feel full.
I’m encouraged about this recognition and awareness that caring for ourselves is not just a luxury. It is a necessity. However, I’ve also noticed a trend to define self-care as being anything that makes you happy or feel good. Which is a problem.
The problem with this definition is that it is missing the truth about self-care.
Self-care isn’t always very fun.
I meet with people all day long who are in desperate need of self-care. The real kind. The kind of care that gets in deep, that might sting a little in the cleaning process, and that takes care of you.
The real you.
The one who works a stressful job. The one who is facing difficulties in marriage. The one who is working through the emotional neglect experienced as a child. The one is trying to find out who they really are.
The one who feels like all they do is give. The one who needs their cup to be filled before they can manage to take one more step.
Real self-care isn’t always easy. It may bring about pain and soreness, but it’s the good kind of sore. It serves as a reminder of how hard you have worked. This has to happen in self-care.
This means that you ask what’s best and what’s needed over what’s easiest and what could be the fastest escape from your feelings.
You might choose to journal, to be intentional in your physical health, to pursue a hobby, to reconnect spiritually, to set clear boundaries with others, or maybe to seek counseling to figure out what self-care looks like for you.
The inauthentic version of self-care will leave you feeling the exact same as when you started: empty, alone, anxious, sad, scared, and exhausted.
You caring for yourself brings you one step closer to a full cup. This will look different for all of us, but you’ll know when you hit the mark. You’ll feel the difference. And as we all know, when a cup overflows, it has more to give to others.
So next time you’re eight episodes deep and Netflix asks if you are “still watching,” consider telling it no. You might need something it can’t give you.