“Self care” is inescapable; it’s hash tagged everywhere, preached on social media, and it’s common lingo in the modern wellness world. It’s in and it feels like everyone’s doing it.
When its trendiness surged a few years ago, I thought I was missing something. What was self care? Was it some singular practice or sadhana? Was I not engaging in self care because I didn’t have a weekly bath ritual? I googled, I read what wellness experts had to say, and still self care remained elusive.
I ultimately realized that self care in the modern wellness world is not any one practice or way of being. It’s a term that’s loosely applied when we indulge in our wellness, like when we drink a green juice, get a massage, or buy a new crystal. It’s momentary, and it may be just as fleeting as all the other wellness trends that come and go.
For the sake of our well being, though, I hope that’s not the case. Self care is beautiful and transformative and needed. But not in the way that the modern wellness world preaches. If it’s momentary or indulgence-based, it does us little good in the long run. It completely misses real self care.
While it’s a trend now, self care has been taught in the ancient tradition of ayurveda for thousands of years. It’s disguised under its Sanskrit names of dinacharya (daily routine) and ritucharya (seasonal routine), which teach us rhythms and practices that support our wellbeing.
Ayurvedic self care is, quite simply, the way in which we live our day-to-day lives. It is as basic as getting up to pee when we feel the urge. It is eating real food and eating it at the right time. It is sleeping at night and staying awake during the day. It is moving our body and breathing through our nose.
It is the very foundational survival skills that so many of us lack. It’s nothing glitzy, which is probably why self care’s more glamorous component has become trendy instead of the basic and mundane practices of a healthy lifestyle.
In light of the tradition of ayurveda, self care is not done for the sake of indulgence or an obsession with health. It is practiced to create a healthy temple and abode for our Self, our spirit.
The body is the vehicle through which the Self can express itself in this world. When it and the mind are kept healthy and pure through self care, we can navigate through life with more peace and ease. We have more clarity in thought and a truer sense of reality. We’re better able to recognize and live out our soul’s purpose.
Trends are powerful, and hopefully this self care movement will encourage us to get back to basics. By supporting our body and mind through healthy lifestyle—not a weekly pampering but our moment to moment and day to day lifestyle choices—we purify our temple. This is the art of caring for the Self, and it enables us to ultimately live a more awakened life.