SELF CARE FOR DUMMIES

If you’ve never heard the term “self care” you’ve honestly been living under a rock for about 5 years. It consistently shows up on credible websites such as CNN, PsychologyToday and even Buzzfeed. A simple google of “self care” brings up over 3 billion web pages, including this one. Have no fear, I’m here to clarify a few things

WHAT IS SELF CARE?

The meaning of self care is pretty obvious. It’s when YOU take CARE of yourself. It’s really that simple. 

True self care is not a one size fits all model. It requires a certain level of self awareness to create a self care plan that works for you. It may take days, weeks, months or even years to figure out the right plan. Sticking with it can be tricky for a lot of people, especially for individuals that haven’t grown up in a household that prioritized mental health.

IN REALITY, SELF CARE IS AN ACT OF REBELLION. 

In a lot of western countries work is priority number one. Businesses are rushing to re-open in light of the Covid 19 pandemic. Not only that, but our system is built to produce the perfect worker. In school we are taught that education is the only way you will get a good job and that it’s important to listen to your superiors. Employers usually instill a strong work ethic, and encourage promoting internally, which means long hours, extra responsibility and very few absences from work. Not to mention you will need to take this on without a pay raise. It prioritizes the health of the economy, over the health of the individual.

Self care begs that you do the opposite. It pleads for you to disconnect from everyday life and go inward. Asking you to stop being busy, set your phone down and shut the door to be alone with yourself. It screams for you to give yourself at least one precious moment of your time. It invites you to reconnect to your intuition, knowledge and human needs. 

Self care isn’t just a bubble bath.

WHAT SELF CARE IS NOT

Self care can take shape in many forms, but there are a lot of activities that masquerade as being acts of self care, while in reality they are not.

These activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Drowning emotions in a bottle of Chardonnay
  • Swiping on tinder or Instagram or Tiktok for hours
  • Eating a bag of chips because it makes you feel nice
  • Gossiping about friend
  • Watching tv 8 hours a day
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • I think you get my point

These are not, I repeat, ARE NOT, acts of self care. What you are doing here is escaping. What are you escaping? That’s up to you to figure out and could be anything from anger to boredom. 

THERE COMES A CHOICE TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR EMOTIONS, INSTEAD OF IGNORING THEM

Some questions to ask yourself while figuring out what to include in your self care plan:

  • Do I get adequate exercise?
  • How is my sleep schedule?
  • Do I get enough energy from food each day?
  • Who can I talk to about what is on my mind?
  • Do I take time for myself?
  • How are my connections with my family? My partner? My friends? 
  • Is there anything I need to get off my chest?
  • Do I process and feel my emotions?

IN OTHER WORDS, IT'S NOT A WAY FOR YOU TO ESCAPE THOSE HARD EMOTIONS, IT'S A WAY TO MANAGE THEM

Experiencing feelings and processing hard emotions is an integral part of not only life, but to your emotional and mental development. It is what creates resilience and agency and by constantly trying to escape feeling “negative” emotions, we ironically end up creating many more problems for ourselves than we realize.

Self care helps prevent that, and if it cannot prevent it, it helps manage the severity of the experience. 

Self care is your survival kit. Use it.

EMPATHY OVER EVERYTHING

1 Comment

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