By now, you must have heard about self-care a dozen times—in fact, we've written about it quite a few times already. But what does it really mean? Why is it important? And how does it affect success? Self-care expert, Korean beauty blogger, author, and businesswoman Jude Chao of Fiddy Snails gives us the 411 on this beauty buzzword.
We all have our own definitions of self-care. Most of the time, we often relate it to exercise, taking a bubble bath, skincare, massage, watching Netflix, and whatnot. While that is of course good for your mental health and wellness, there can be many different ways to do self-care.
"Any self-care practice that you choose to do is something that's going to replenish you. It's something that can strengthen you, to give you more energy to go forth and pursue your goals. It's also something that can optimize you physically and mentally, so that you can perform and achieve your greatest ambition," Chao said at PhilSTAR L!fe's She Slays women's virtual summit held last week, March 23.
Chao also believes that women were taught the value of self-sacrifice. She may be a working student, a mother who is also a businesswoman, or a woman who juggles several careers. "All these concepts are really admirable but they raise the question 'How can we do all of these things without taking care of ourselves?' Self-sacrifice and martyrdom are so ingrained in this concept of a successful woman," she said.
For her, you can achieve all those things at the same time, only if you take care of yourself. Chao said, "I do think that we can have it all, I do think that we can achieve all the goals that we set for ourselves, but I don't believe that we do that by losing ourselves if by sacrificing our own well-being."
So, to guide us on how to create our own self-care rituals, check out Chao's tips below:
Set your main goals.
What is it that you want to achieve? If you have a clear picture of that, then that's when you think of ways on how you can get to that. Chao suggested asking yourself these questions: "What would you do in order to make yourself healthier? Are you living healthfully enough? Are you taking enough care of your body? Are you taking care of your mental health?"
Focus on what will make you happy
It's easy to be consumed by social media. Just by looking at your feed, it can bring doubts and insecurity to even the most confident people. For Chao, don't aim to be like your friends or influencers, be yourself.
"Look within and think about those things in your appearance that would make you happier for yourself and would make you more confident," she said. Play with makeup, invest in skincare, upgrade your wardrobe, or even get a cosmetic procedure—go for it, as long as it will make you happy, not so that people will find you "acceptable."
"Often, I think when you make that shift from looking for external validation and trying to fit society's ideals, which change all the time, and start looking within to develop your own ideals, even the beauty portion of your self-care routine will become something that improves your mental health, instead of becoming a source of anxiety."
Put yourself first
While women are innate givers, remember to look after yourself first. "I believe that we have to take care of ourselves and we have to prioritize ourselves and put ourselves first so that we can support our success, and in turn give the other," Chao said.
Don't feel guilty when you say 'No'
Say "no" to influencers or social media accounts that make you feel bad about yourself. "Let's save our thoughts," she said.
Say "no" to favors you can't commit to. "The best way to do this is to understand day-to-day what your priorities are, what are the projects that you need to finish... After that, if you have the time, if you have the energy and if you have the inclination, then we can say yes to other things, then we can help, then we can extend ourselves for others," she said.
"We need to uncover those influences in our lives, and wherever they're possible, remove them from our life, because as long as you have voices that you are allowing to tell you that you're not good enough yet, that you should be more like someone else that you aren't as worthy as another person, those voices and those thoughts will always hold you back."
Self-care is about optimizing your ability to contribute, who you are, and the really special things you can do to the people around you.
Chao ended with a reminder that "Self care is about optimizing your ability to contribute, who you are and the really special things you can do to the people around you."
"I would like you to take a minute to think about what you need in order to develop your own health and happiness more," she said. "Whatever you choose is up to you. I would just like you to choose something that will, that you can build upon, so that every day, every time you practice this self-care ritual you choose, you grow a little bit stronger, a little bit happier, and a little bit more capable of doing everything that you need to do," the skincare expert added.
Watch the workshop below: