Self-care isn’t always pretty.

But it’s always worth it.

Self care isn’t always candlelit baths with soft music and Lush bath bombs. Sometimes it’s anything but a day of painting your nails and deep conditioning your hair. It can be a cosy night in, tucked up with your favourite book and a cup of tea, but it can also be doing things which will drain you and leave you emotionally exhausted.

The soft and pretty forms of self-care are absolutely valid and important.

But sometimes you have to realise that self-care means confronting those uncomfortable things about yourself so you can work on being a better you. It’s admitting you have bad habits which you have refused to break because they’ve become an integral part of your identity. And as an act of self-care, you allow yourself to see the negative impacts they have on your self-esteem, and your life so you can finally work on breaking them.

Self-care is also letting go. It’s going through the painful process of realising the things you held onto are preventing you from being a better version of you. It’s admitting the ideas you believed may not be so helpful and the people you thought would be there forever weren’t always meant to play the role you’d given them in your life. It’s choosing to move on from past resentments because you now know holding on is just making you bitter and miserable. It’s difficult and scary to discard things you’ve always known but doing the hardest things today is taking care of future you.

My biggest acts of self-care have been consistently taking my antidepressants and starting therapy. Both of these things were difficult to start. Finding the right medication meant going through a couple of types and all their side effects before settling on what I’m on now. Therapy was the scariest thing just because I knew it would mean unpacking all the baggage I’ve spent so long pretending doesn’t exist. But with the sessions I’ve had, I already feel lighter. I know that I’m doing this to take better care of my mental health so even though some topics are tough to discuss and they leave me feeling raw, I know it will be worth it.

At the end of the day, self-care comes in so many forms. Some are more short-term but still beneficial for that moment when you really need it, and some of them are long-term solutions with no instant comfort. The processes will be unpleasant but you know that soon, you’ll find inner peace and you’ll have the strength to handle whatever life throws you.

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