We talk a good bit about self-care here at GenTwenty, and that is because millennials are talking about it. Self-care is a bit of a sexy topic right now that we are talking about and obsessively Instagramming.

In an NPR article entitled “The Millennial Obsession with Self-Care”, a statistic from the Pew Research Center is cited: in 2015, “more millennials reported making personal improvement commitments than any generation before them.”

Take a minute to Google “self-care and millennials” and you will see a variety of things pop up. Everything from is self-care narcissistic or necessary?; to millennials: the self-care generation; and why millennials spend so much on self-care. There is clearly a trend going on here and for good reason.

As a brain expert, I can tell you that self-care absolutely matters. It should be a regular part of your lifestyle. Why? Because you can’t give from an empty cup. Flight attendants tell us to put our air masks on before we can help others on an airplane.  But that is true in all areas of life.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Self-care matters because you can’t give from an empty cup.” quote=”Self-care matters because you can’t give from an empty cup.”]

Self-Talk Affects Your Self-Care

How can you live YOUR best life when you are exhausted, tired, stressed, overworked, not relaxing and not taking care of yourself? Can you show up well in your friendships, with family, and in romantic relationships? We all know we are not at our best at work with we are stressed and not taking care of ourselves. And I won’t even start on how self-care positively impacts parenting and is something mammas need to do. Self-care is as vital as anything else we do for wellness (and doesn’t have to involve a bubble bath, massage or vacation).

Self-care is unique to the individual and can be as big as a vacation or as small as a five-minute meditation. Naps on Saturdays to unwind are huge for me, and consistently getting eight hours of sleep is a critical part of my self-care routine. In addition to that, I get a massage monthly and make a point to try to sit on the couch with no activity after work at least once a week. I give you those examples to show you that self-care can look a variety of ways.

For the moms I work with, sometimes their self-care is sitting in the bathroom in silence for five minutes. Self-care is about identifying what YOU need and working to make that happen on a regular basis.

What should we do when self-care is hard, though?

When (1) our inner-critic is taking over. And (2) when we are dealing with lots of stress or a mental illness, self-care can be a real challenge.

After spending several months with a life-coach who teaches about the inner-critic, I learned how important the words we say to ourselves our. During that time, I learned that negative self-talk impacts how we view ourselves and how we show up in the world (which can have an impact on our relationships).

Negative self-talk can sound like a variety of things. It can range from “I am bad at relationships and will be single forever” (what I used to tell myself) to “I don’t deserve that raise or promotion because I am not good enough.”

I have written more about negative self-talk, but for the sake of our conversation here, know that we all battle with self-talk, but it is important to know what it sounds like for you, and what triggers your inner-critic to be particularly loud. For me, it is work and romantic relationships- she shows up A LOT in the context of those two areas of my life.

When we are being unkind to ourselves, feeling low, undeserving and unworthy, self-care can be a challenge. These are the times when it can feel like a luxury or can feel selfish. When we are in a low point, even thinking about self-care looks like may feel exhausting and like too much. I totally get it. As someone who lives with anxiety, I know what it feels like to want to crawl in a hole and not do anything — and certainly not seeing that as self-care.

So, what should we do about that?

How can we make self-care more accessible to everyone, particularly those who need it most?

When your inner-critic is particularly loud, or when you are having a low point, THAT is when you need self-care the most.

  1. Work to change your self-talk. I talk about this in the aforementioned blog post, but it is important to work to reframe your self-talk. So, for me, instead of saying I am bad at relationships, I now say “I have a history of choosing men who are not ideal for me and am working on changing that.” It requires practice. But changing how you talk to yourself can change how you see yourself and how you show up. And remember, you need to identify your triggers and what you say to yourself in order to start to change it.
  2. Create an emergency self-care plan. We have a workbook that can help you create a self-care plan if you don’t know where to start. For your emergency plan, I’d suggest creating some easy, low-cost, low-time self-care tools that you love. It may be sitting with a mud mask on for twenty minutes, or watching your favorite movie on Netflix. Regardless of the activity, create a few and write them down. This way, you can quickly go to them without having to think and brainstorm about what to do. Not having to think about what to do may help you to actually practice the self-care.
  3. Remind yourself that self-care is a necessity, is not selfish, and doesn’t have to be hard. As I’ve already mentioned with self-talk, the things we say to ourselves are incredibly important. This applies to how we talk to ourselves about self-care. If we beat ourselves up for doing it, or say we don’t have time, you can bet it won’t happen. But if we say that is it important, easy and necessary, we are more likely to practice taking care of ourselves.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Self-care is a necessity. It is not selfish and doesn’t have to be hard.” quote=”Self-care is a necessity. It is not selfish and doesn’t have to be hard.”]

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Millennials, remember, it’s okay to be completely enamored with and obsessed with self-care because it matters! Let us know your thoughts about self-care and what is part of your self-care routine! We love hearing from our readers!

And as a fun bonus, be sure to check out this 30 Day Self-Care Challenge