Self-Care: A Millennial Approach to Gratitude
I’m a millennial, and it seems that no matter where you turn these days, someone is talking about us; some good, some not so good. Our generation is often defined by its obsessions with social media, avocado toast, Harry Potter, and self-care.
Even with wonderful things like avocado toast in the world, I still find it incredibly easy to let myself get bogged down with all the little negativities. My subway was packed and uncomfortable, my internet is so slow, I still have not totally figured out grad school yet, my ceiling is leaking, I’m late for a video conference, I’m drowning in a sea of emails and it’s not even noon yet…. Dwelling on these thoughts, it’s easy to get myself stuck in a negative rut that is hard to get out of.
This is where self-care comes in. Though millennials often get credited with creating the self-care fad, it existed long before we did. Ancient Greeks saw it as a way to make people more honest citizens who were more likely to, in turn, care for others. People approach self-care in many different ways, and it is often looked upon as self-serving or even narcissistic. To be fair, if you look up #selfcare on social media, you are sure to find an array of pictures that feature fancy baked goods, spa services, expensive wine, weekend getaways, or binge watching a trendy Netflix series.
Self-care, however, isn’t just about warm brownies and soft towels; the most important part of self-care is mindfulness. It is important to have the self-awareness to realize that something isn’t right in our day-to-day lives or the world around us and figure out how to restore balance. I find that balance through gratitude. I find that taking time to recognize the blessings around me, and showing gratitude for those things, help me take care of myself by staying positive in everyday life.
By consciously practicing gratitude, I can move out of the old negative rut by opening myself up to really seeing all the blessings in my day-to-day life. Cultivating a grateful heart helps me see God in every situation: in joyful, happy situations, I can honor and thank God; in challenging situations, I find God’s perspective and the lessons behind the difficulties. I continue to cultivate gratitude through mindfulness, self-awareness, and self-care.
I have found that we may not always have a choice in the way our journey unfolds, the manner or timing of things that happen, the decisions made by those around us, or even the labels people bestow upon us; however, we can strive to choose to respond with a heart of gratitude in every situation.