It is a phrase that has been tossed around for a while now. Medically defined, self-care is “to care for oneself”. Simple enough. Though society has shaped this term over and over again, forming it into several different concepts. An open mind leads to an open heart, so I for one do not limit myself to society’s social constructs, and therefore find myself quite often searching for my own definitions of what the world expects me to grasp first hand.
Until I took the time to delve into my true opinion of what the act of self-care should consist of and who it was meant for, it had never occurred to me how prevalent it was. Self-care is immensely important to an individual’s wellbeing. Unfortunately the culture of today continuously shapes the average person’s mindset into believing that life consists of gains resulting from constant personal sacrifice. This is manifested in the ideals of average life styles:
– going to school for approximately seven hours a day, possibly followed by an extracurricular lasting anywhere from 2-5 hours, then studying or completing homework assigned which ranges in time
-working a 9:00am-5:00pm shift, and add in a few hours for running some errands ranging from a trip to the gas station to grocery shopping
We cannot forget to pair either of those two scenarios (or even our own personal narratives) with all the other tasks that might also need to be completed in the same day:
-finding a commute for yourself as well as transportation for family members/other significant people
-eating, which includes the preparation of food or the time taken to purchase some in any fashion
-cleaning, yourself and/or your household or any other possessions
-getting adequate rest to function properly as a human once again
Do not forget there are only 24 hours in a given day. Alongside everything “life” expects from us, it is not difficult to see why people more often than not forget about their own mental/physical wellbeing. But from the opposing perspective, would it not make sense to take a measly hour out of each day to do something for yourself, and yourself alone?
It is not selfish, nor is it weakness. It is in fact complete nonsense, in my opinion, for anyone to expect to be the best of themselves if they never invest time in the person that they are. How does one practice self-care you may ask? I cannot tell you, but what I can advise is to at least stop being so reserved in your actions. If taking a bath is what takes the world off your shoulders, get in the tub. Have you forgotten how much deeper you are capable of breathing and how much easier it is to let your stressors go when you allow yourself time to take a walk? Spend the money on that outfit you have been wanting and fill your tummy with all your cravings. If you know you are in an anxious/depressed state, coming down with an illness or just plain beat down with pure exhaustion, call out from work the one time. Touch on your creative side by reading the dusty novel sitting on your nightstand, serenading yourself with your favorite music, drawing/painting your personal masterpiece, or jotting down the poetic elements of your existence in a journal. Did you forget it is completely in your right to ignore each call, text, and notification that pops up on your device for some much needed peace and quiet? If someone or something is the cause of toxic energy in your life remove the said thing immediately, no regrets.
Although these mere suggestions may come across as cliché or taboo, I could not be more sincere in saying that they are beyond true when it comes down to their worth. Everything stated above can be considered a form of self-care. Do not forget that you deserve personal time. Your existence in this world is not meant to cater to the needs of others and social pressures. This is how you find a balance in your day-to-day life. Self-care leads to happiness in more ways than one. A strong mind filled with positivity and personal strength leads to a stronger body prepared to face the bitter taste the world we face can leave in our mouths. Furthermore, a stronger being will manifest within you. Take that liberty. Self-care is found in many forms, find yours. – Aliyah H.