Do Country Women Practice Self Care Differently?Feb 26, 2023
The practice of self-care differs a great deal among women. What activities they engage in vary not only on their individual preferences but also depend on life circumstances including where they live and cultural beliefs or values.
Country women (women from rural areas and small communities) may practice self-care differently than women from more populated areas.
This difference is due to the way they live and work and the various responsibilities they take on when living the country life.
More often than not, rural women lack access to some of the traditional resources associated with conventional self-care. Things like gyms, yoga studios, spas, coffee shops, and interested-based clubs are not available.
Or if those options are available, the extra time and money it takes to participate is either not a viable option or not all that interesting to them.
Yet, country women do manage to take care of themselves quite well. The things they do aren’t so unusual. It’s just their perspective on how self-care is defined puts a unique spin on what qualifies as taking care of yourself.
What does self-care really mean to rural women?
I stopped by my neighbor’s house for coffee the other morning. I told her I had just finished writing a post about self-care.
Dee looked at me and asked, “What the hell is self-care?”
My other neighbor, Mary, who also happened to be there laughed and said, “I think it’s when you go get your nails done while you’re in town running errands.”
“Shit,” replied Dee, “Why would I do that? I couldn’t get anything done if I had to worry about my fingernails.”
I then tried to explain that self-care is just a way of thinking about how we take care of ourselves, not just in the practical sense; eating right, getting good sleep, drinking plenty of water, brushing our teeth, etc.
But self-care is the things we do to make our lives a little easier, a little less stressful, so we have more time to relax or to have fun.
Then we had a good laugh over the things we do to take care of ourselves that some people may not understand or consider self-care in the popular sense of the term.
Why would our self-care journey look different?
Self-care is a journey. It changes over time just as our needs and preferences and life circumstances change.
In that way, all women are similar. A young mother will have different needs than a woman with teenage children. A forty-something ranch wife will have different preferences than a fifty-something woman living in a small town.
But one thing country women of all ages have is more access to natural spaces and outdoor activities at a moment’s notice.
They are more likely to have pets or farm animals, grow a garden, and feel a sense of community with friends and neighbors.
We take advantage of those things. We use our lifestyle to get exercise, distract us from our worries, and socialize within our limits of time and money.
While city women may have more access to resources such as exercise classes and wellness centers that cater specifically to self-care practices, those things don’t necessarily appeal to all women.
Rural women tend to be more practical in their self-care practices. It has to be something that fits into the routine of their lives.
What are “country style” ways to do self-care?
During my morning coffee chat with my neighbors, which by the way is one way we practice both social and emotional self-care, we came up with some interesting, humorous ways we look after ourselves.
I want to share some of our self-care tips as well as a few I collected from other country-loving women. For the sake of our relationships, I did not share them all!
You may find not find these activities unique. What makes them different is from a country woman’s perspective, they are considered our basics of self-care.
- mowing the lawn — several of the women I spoke with said they love mowing the lawn with the riding mower. Not only does it get them out of the house and into the sun, they feel like they’ve accomplished something when they are finished.
- using paper plates — Dee admits to using paper plates for meals except on special occasions. With no dishwasher, it cuts down on the time she has to spend cleaning up after meals.
- getting a Roomba — you may not think of a robot vacuum as a form of self-care, but a couple of my neighbors use them daily. It eliminates the need for frequent sweeping and vacuuming, giving them more time for things they would rather be doing.
- reading — I was surprised to learn how many of my country neighbors read instead of watching the news or spending time on social media. Whether it’s a sexy romance or a twisted crime novel, they like the escape from the day-to-day grind.
- warm showers and smelly lotions — few of my women friends felt a long hot bath was self-care. They preferred a warm shower and then slathering on their favorite smelly lotion.
- gardening — digging in the dirt relieves stress stated one of my friends, and she gets a sense of pride from preparing meals with vegetables she has grown. I wasn’t the only one to agree.
- bare feet and bare face — it was almost unanimous that running around without shoes or makeup was delightful. No one minds the au natural look on the farm.
- grooming and smelling animals — Dee finds brushing her dog relaxing while I like to bury my face in my horse’s neck. Just the smell of him makes me feel better. Dee and I are not alone. Ask any dog or horse lover.
- fishing — many country women find lake and stream fishing a great way to get away from it all, literally. And if you’re lucky, you’ll have a healthy meal later that day.
- taking on DIY projects — while some think of do-it-yourself projects as extra work, rural women often find making simple repairs a part of life and much less stressful than trying to get their husbands to do it. There is also a sense of pride that comes with doing it yourself.
- spend time away from significant other — country women do many things just to have time to themselves. They especially seek out chances to get away from their spouse for a few minutes or a few hours each day. I know this sounds strange, but it was pretty much across-the-board agreed upon.
- setting boundaries — learning to say no may not be part of everyone’s self-care plan, but it should be. And rural women know this better than most. Although we are always ready to give a hand when needed, we also realized we can’t take care of others if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. We get better at it as we get older.
- letting go — you cannot live in a country setting and expect perfection. Your house will never be perfectly clean, your meals won’t always be on time, and your loving animals won’t live forever. Rural women learn to go with the flow. We control what we can, problem-solve what we can’t, and deal with the in-between.
How are our self-care basics the same no matter where we live?
Some people believe self-care is and needs to be a conscious act.
I disagree. At least partially.
I think there are small things we do as part of our daily routines or have developed as mindless habits that are important forms of self-care. We just don’t think of them in that way.
Without realizing it we are looking after our mental, emotional, and physical well-being when we are living our normal lives.
These unconscious or subconscious habits are not unique to country women, not just to women in general, either. I believe everyone does them.
Our need for self-care is instinctive. We just need to be more mindful of what our minds and bodies are telling us.
Every once in a while, we need to become more aware of what we are doing and why. Some chores are actually a form of self-care for women.
However, we don’t want self-care to become just another chore.
We need to look at self-care from the perspective of our lifestyle. In that sense, our self-care basics are the same; needs, interests, and resources.
It’s whatever we do to stay healthy and make our life more manageable. So we can enjoy our little bit of heaven no matter where we live.
Feel a bit guilty for not taking better care of yourself?
Wish you had more time for it?
The Self-Care Mini-Workbook will help you discover what you are doing or could be doing to enhance your self-care practices? Give it a try for free!
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