Self care. What comes to mind when you hear this over used phrase? Bubble baths? A glass of wine? Sleeping in? Setting up a reward system of ice cream and binge watching Netflix? Asking your roommate if it’s okay if you go for a walk? Well I’m about to burst some bubbles because here are three of the hardest truths I’ve had to learn about taking care of myself:
1.The world will never give you permission to take care of yourself. If you ever find yourself asking those in your life (directly or indirectly) asking for permission to take care of yourself, stop. You’ll be waiting forever. When you know it’s time to take care of yourself, just do it. Don’t ask anyone for permission, do not try to explain yourself or justify it. There is nothing to explain or justify. However, people will try to make you feel lazy, weak, or selfish for taking care of yourself if it inconveniences them somehow. Take care of yourself anyways and don’t apologize.
2. Self care doesn’t always look like bubble baths and a glass of wine. Sometimes, it looks like doing those dishes you’ve been letting pile up because you know you’ll feel so much more relaxed once they’re done. It looks like finding tools to overcome your dentist anxiety so you can finally make that appointment so your tooth can stop hurting. It looks like getting to bed at a reasonable time instead of staying up until 2 am scrolling through social media. It looks like getting yourself a glass of water instead of reaching for that coke. It looks like doing that one thing you’ve been saying ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ for the past month now. I think you get my point by now. Self care often times is doing those things we don’t feel like doing but we know deep down we’re going to feel so much better when we finally do them.
3. Self care isn’t entirely about you. Yes, the term in and of itself is a bit misleading, and yes your physical, mental, and emotional health must be a priority in your life, but it’s not completely for you. Think about it; would you trust a surgeon to operate on you if you knew he/she only got 2 hours of sleep consistently for a week? Would you honestly be okay with dropping your child off with a babysitter you knew had so much on his/her plate and is so overwhelmed with stressors that he/she might blow at any second? Would you get in the car with an Uber driver that you knew was dunk/high/on medication that impairs his/her ability to drive? Do you see my point? How can you take care of those you love and be a productive member of society if you’re in no condition to do so? How can you take care of others if you can’t take care of yourself?
Honestly, I’m still working on these things myself but I’m getting better at them. Self care is definitely a lot of work, but it’s also definitely worth it.