Maybe the best way to practice self-care is to care less.

About what everyone else thinks. About who likes you and who doesn’t. About how you compare to the next woman in line. About what all the other moms are doing and how they’re doing it. About everyone else’s definition of success.

About the expectations that society piles onto your shoulders. About a Pinterest-worthy home or popularity. About wearing the right clothes or driving the right car. About matching furniture or coordinating outfits for your kids—about trying to send the message that your life fits perfectly into a box on Instagram.

About keeping up appearances. About creating the illusion that your family is picture-perfect at all times. About the idea that your kids must forever be entertained. About the school they go to or the activities they participate in. About what people think your kids should or shouldn’t be doing. About what people think YOU should or shouldn’t be doing.

And honestly, maybe the best way to practice self-care is to care just a little bit less about yourself.

There is freedom in letting go. In not getting so wrapped up in your appearance, your title, your status, your accomplishments (or lack thereof) that the pressure of it all steals your joy. Your calm.

You don’t have to live up to everyone else’s expectations. You don’t have to please everyone. Their happiness isn’t your responsibility. And frankly, you don’t have that kind of power anyway.

Respect yourself and respect others. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others. Be compassionate. Reach a hand out to those who need it. Serve those whom you are called to serve. Raise decent human beings. But don’t compare. Or compete. Or do it all. You do not have to spend precious time or consume precious brain space caring about all the things this world says are important, but aren’t actually.

Maybe self-care is not caring about what everyone else is doing and simply taking a look at what you are doing—and if what you are doing is right, let that be enough.

Maybe the best way to practice self-care is to stop caring about worldly expectations–to stop trying to live up to them all. To stop fretting about all things minor. To stop rushing through your days in a tizzy trying to keep up with everyone else. You don’t have to care about all the things that won’t matter in a day, a year, a hundred years–and there are a lot, right?

Maybe the best way to practice self-care is to care less about what’s happening on the outside and pay more attention to what’s happening on the inside. Maybe it’s not manicures and massages. Maybe it’s being still, praying, and listening expectantly for God. Maybe it’s shutting out the noise and simply listening for the only voice that matters.

Originally published on A Beautifully Burdened Life by Jenny Albers

Jenny Albers

Jenny Albers is a wife, mother, and writer.  She is the author of Courageously Expecting, a book that empathizes with and empowers women who are pregnant after loss. You can find Jenny on her blog, where she writes about pregnancy loss, motherhood, and faith. She never pretends to know it all, but rather seeks to encourage others with real (and not always pretty) stories of the hard, heart, and humorous parts of life. She's a work in progress, and while never all-knowing, she's (by the grace of God) always growing. When she's not typing words, she can be found wrangling a fiery little boy and nurturing a quickly growing girl. She's a tea-addicted, jewelry-loving, cat-obsessed, Jesus-following, introverted midwestern girl who is thrilled to connect with you from the other side of the screen. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.