Yo, listen up lady. You’ve been sold a Big Fat Lie about Self-Care. BIG. Huge.

You’ve been sold a lie that Self-Care looks super nice and fluffy. That it looks like pedicures, bubble baths and avo on toast. That it smells of bubble-gum and candyfloss, and it lives, mainly on Insta, striking a well-lit pose.  I know you know what I’m talking about. Self-Care is BIG buck’s y’all. There are a LOT of vested interests in telling you that THIS perfectly manicured, utterly passive image, is what Self Care looks like.

Let me tell you something from coaching thousands and thousands of smart women to lead their healthiest, happiest lives peppered with continual personal growth:

Real Self Care is actually really ACTIVE: it’s WORK.  And sometimes it’s really HARD. And it pretty much always doesn’t look pretty.

Real Self Care doesn’t come with a pink bow on it – real Self-Care looks like this:

Sitting down and making a spreadsheet of all your debts and figuring out some sort of payment plan that will start to release you from crushing financial stress – THAT my friend, is not sexy, but it is Self-Care.

Walking away from that oh so gorgeous soulmate of a man, with the abs and the flowers and the smile, who also never turns up when he says, lets you down continually and intermittently ghosts – THAT, my friend, IS Self-Care.

Scheduling a meeting with your boss to talk through your responsibilities and workload, and remuneration in a well prepared, confident, assertive way – THAT, my friend, that is Self -Care all the way.

Politely saying no thanks to that girl’s get-together that inevitably makes you feel like crap and that you have to compete and yes you have known each other from school but they just don’t really get you anymore, but deciding not to go this year – THAT is Self-Care.

Calling ahead to the dinner party host to explain you are doing a particular health-related eating programme that you are really committed to sticking to – even at her event, and working out a few easy menu items that she can prepare or you can bring – THAT is Self-Care.

Here’s the thing:

Self-Care doesn’t always look like what’s EASY.

Self-Care is unlikely to be something that is PASSIVE.

And it’s usually not INDULGENT.

It’s not that indulgence is bad. Far from it – but bubble baths – they only feel indulgent when you are lying there knowing you can afford your mortgage.

Don’t mistake an enjoyable indulgence for Self-Care. Enjoy the indulgence, of course! Enjoy that good passive bubbly stuff that puts the cherry on the top of life – but don’t mistake it for the real WORK of caring for your beautiful self.

People wonder why they have a massage or spend the day at the spa, essentially “doing self-care” but then basically feel exactly the same about themselves, their body, and their life once they have left the spa and got home.

This is why. They have not been doing Self-Care! They have been doing Indulgence. Indulgence feels gooooooooddddd, (and I’m all for it) but – and this is the really important thing – it only feels good IN THE MOMENT.

Self-care? REAL Self-Care? My friends, real Self-Care is often HARD WORK in the moment. It’s about change. About challenge. About TRUTH. But – here’s the kicker – It LASTS. When you genuinely do what you need to do to really CARE for yourself – you feel better not just that day, but day after day after day.

Remember this:

Indulgence makes you shiny on the outside.

Self-Care lets you shine long term, from within.