You know I love to read and, of course, I have a book recommendation for you: Real Self-Care: A Transformative Program for Redefining Wellness (Crystals, Cleanses, and Bubble Baths Not Included) by Pooja Lakshmin.
This book just came out this spring – in fact, March 14th was its debut (I pre-ordered my copy!). I’m excited about it because of a podcast I heard on National Public Radio’s 1A, with interviews facilitated by journalist Jen White, who has a storied career for interviewing celebrities we’d all recognize like Oprah, Obama and now, Pooja Lakshmin
The podcast is available here: https://the1a.org/segments/
It was fascinating because the journey this psychologist describes her clients taking is very much like the path my own clients (caregivers, both family caregivers & clinicians) travel. And her recommendations for them sounds a lot like the advice I’ve been known to share with clients who ask, “What do I do now, how do I take care of myself?”
Dr. Lakshmin makes it clear that there’s a distinction between self-care and self-indulgence. And she’s also quick to remind us that most of what the “self-care industry” is selling us, isn’t necessarily beneficial or likely to serve us in any meaningful way.
She acknowledges that sometimes you just need a quick-fix, something that distracts you, takes your mind off the fact that your taxes are due (and you had to file an extension again!) – so you take a bubble-bath, buy that expensive fragrance, or splurge on a spa day. That may not be genuine self-care, but she’s not going to shame you for those choices.
Her definition of self-care (below) is so close to my own (in purple) that I just HAD to buy her book:
“Real self-care, in contrast, is an internal, self-reflective process that involves making difficult decisions in line with our values, and when we practice it, we shift our relationships, our workplaces, and even our broken systems. Real Self-Care is not a thing to buy or to do — it’s a way to be. The result—having ownership over your own life— is nothing less than a personal and social revolution.”
Wishing you a great spring read, and a chance to engage in some fresh habits for self-care now and well into the future!