When was the last time you really committed yourself to a particular project, and threw yourself into it wholeheartedly?
The project in question can be anything from starting up a side business, to spending time organizing your home, or embarking on a great travel venture, complete with photo and video logging.
For many of us, big projects are undertaken fairly reluctantly — and one thing that is quite likely, is that you might not think of embarking on an ambitious and engaging project as being a form of “self care.”
“Self care” normally refers to the things that we do to unwind and relax after a busy day or week at the office. Products that are advertised and being self care-focused will tend to include things like scented candles, bath salts, and clay facial masks.
While all of those things are certainly great, however, here are a few reasons why getting busy with big projects can actually be an excellent avenue to self care.
Any time you work on a creative project, some element of self-expression will be involved
To cut a long story short, any time you involve yourself in a creative project of any sort, some element of self-expression will always be involved.
It’s been well known by many people, for quite a long time, that otherwise “mundane” creative tasks can have a more or less transcendent quality to them — and that we can both discover things about ourselves by getting involved in these kinds of products, while simultaneously expressing and shaping aspects of ourselves, too.
Books such as “Shop Class as Soulcraft,” for example, touch heavily on this basic idea.
Self-expression can be a great thing for self care, as it can help with processing emotions, with experiencing a greater sense of balance and perspective in life, and with feeling directly involved in your own life — as opposed to just being a secondhand observer or consumer.
Organizing and improving your surroundings can help to boost confidence and a sense of personal agency
If your home is a mess, and things are falling apart, then you will almost certainly find yourself feeling pretty miserable, negative, and irritable, regardless of how much yoga you are doing, and regardless of how many essential candles you own.
A big component in self care is creating and maintaining the kind of living space and immediate home environment that helps to promote feelings of wellbeing — and actual wellbeing — on a day-to-day basis.
If you have a pest infestation in your home, for example, researching terms such as trustworthy pest control near me should be viewed as a “self care” step — as it will have a positive effect on your wellbeing, the integrity of your home, and even your own health, for that matter.
While home repair, maintenance, and decoration projects can be great for your overall self care in this sense, they can also have the particular benefit of helping you to feel an enhanced sense of confidence and personal agency.
After all, sitting around in a broken down and messy home is not likely to lead you to feel like someone who has the power to shape the course of their own life. But diving headfirst into the task of getting your home up to the standard you desire, certainly might.
Sometimes, focusing on yourself a bit less for a while can be beneficial
There’s an old saying attributed to various spiritual traditions that suggests that we should “think lightly of ourselves and deeply of the world.”
The idea here isn’t necessarily about self-renunciation — but is perhaps more about avoiding excessive involvement in the ego, and being more benevolent and giving with regards to other people, and the world at large.
Self care isn’t about putting all of your needs, desires, and preferences on the back burner — far from it. But it is worth keeping in mind that a lot of anxiety and negative emotion as a whole can be caught up in an excessive amount of self awareness and self scrutiny.
Focusing on something external to yourself every so often, to the extent that you “forget yourself” for short blocks of time, might actually help you to experience a sense of calm and relief, and to enjoy a healthier overall level of perspective, too.
Investing yourself in engaging projects — whether those projects involve writing a novel, building a table, or tending a garden — can certainly help you to direct your attention elsewhere for a while.