Let's Talk: Self-care
Self-care is a term that’s been thrown around work environments and wellness scenes more prominently within the past couple of years. My relationship with self-care has been...strained in the past to say the least.
I had never even heard the term self-care until after I graduated college. I didn’t know what it was, and I didn’t know how to take care of myself from within. I had no relationship with my emotions and didn’t understand my stress in the slightest.
I started hearing about self-care in the sense of doing things for yourself, but it always seemed to be about one’s physical self. For example, people would talk about self-care as getting pedicures, online shopping, going for a run, and meal prepping. Which, don’t get me wrong, those are all great ways to take care of yourself. But self-care is much deeper than that.
It’s true, taking care of yourself can be doing things to relax, like those pedicures or a massage. Or making yourself feel happier through retail therapy (I love it, no shame). However, it can’t be just that. Eating healthy, endorphins from exercise, and releasing tension will all help me feel better, but sometimes (most of the time) I need more.
I’ve mentioned this before, but sometimes self-care means I need to physically remove myself from situations or spaces. Self-care, even dissecting this term, is truly caring for oneself. To look deeply into that, we need to look deeply into ourselves.
To care for ourselves, that means doing what we need to be our very best selves. In our society, taking care of oneself is viewed as being selfish. It’s like if we don’t give all of ourselves to our work, relationships, the world, then we are selfish. If we put ourselves above others, even once, it’s viewed as selfish. I’m not saying we should be putting others down to get to where we want to be. But putting ourselves first is necessary for our overall health. We cannot continue to destroy ourselves for someone or something else.
This could mean to care for yourself, you need to take a break from relationships. If someone causes you physical or emotional harm, you owe it to your self to take a pause. Self-care can be pausing work. I have heard plenty of stories of people being miserable at their jobs, but trudging through it for years because they think it’s something they have to do. Then they switch jobs eventually and *BAMB* feel better. Sometimes caring for ourselves is moving. Maybe the city you are in is not helping you be your best self. Then, move. Another is allowing others to help. For me, I have a fear of not being in control, and it’s affected a lot of my life and my relationships. Something I am trying to do better to care for myself is allowing others to take on responsibilities.
Caring for ourselves goes so much deeper than just doing little things on the weekends for ourselves. Although this is still necessary and we need to do more for ourselves, self-care is also about making changes in our lives to be happier and healthier.
We need to do what is necessary to take better care of ourselves. So get that pedicure, go on that run, and then dump your partner who makes you cry every night. Let’s do some real self-care and start putting ourselves first sometimes.
An elementary school educator by day, grad student by night. And I somehow manage to live life to the fullest in-between.