What comes to mind when you think of self-care? Is it bubble baths and getting your nails done? Those are both fine and dandy, and can absolutely be a part of self care. But what about taking your medication, eating your first healthy meal that day, going to the gym or taking a walk even though you want to crawl into bed, or even crawling into bed when the world is just too cruel?
Self-care isn’t just about pampering yourself. To each person it can mean something different. It can mean letting go of toxic and negative influences in your life. It can mean going back to therapy after months or years away. It can mean going to the doctor and getting a check up. It can mean snuggling your pets or significant other. It can be crying, really crying for that lost someone or lost pet. It can mean finally letting go of the anger and hatred you’ve been harboring.
Self-care is anything you do to take care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually. It falls all to quickly to the wayside when life gets busy but it is possibly the most important thing we can do for ourselves. If you don’t take care of you now, things will only get worse. You know when you get to that point where you feel like all you are doing is surviving from one moment to the next? Where you are barely hanging out with your friends, making excuses to stay home, binge-ing TV while lamenting the fact that your house is a mess and you’ve left that one project for way too long. You know the feeling- when all your creativity and passion has seeped away and you find that you only think about going to sleep that night the moment you wake up instead of thinking of all the wonderful possibilities ahead of you?
That’s when self-care is the most necessary. That’s when things like depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues tend to get worse and cause issues. So please, make self-care a priority.
Last night I got off the phone with my mother after an emotional conversation and just felt overwhelmed, drained, anxious and on the verge of a panic attack. But I hadn’t done my writing for the day, and I have a deadline for this book looming. I couldn’t focus and all I wanted to do was cry. I knew in my heart that I wouldn’t get any writing done.
So I turned to self-care. I sat and thought about what would make me feel better in that moment, and then I went and did that. I took my anxiety medication, I took my other meds. I got ready for bed early by taking a long, hot shower. (I often find taking care of my body in some way helps me to take care of my spirit). I put on a face mask and did some deep breathing and meditation to turn off my racing brain. Only then was I able to sit at my desk again. And soon I found I was writing. The words were flowing and I was able to get a couple thousand words in before my husband got home and it was time to go to bed. Sometimes you just need to realize that you can’t get your work done properly or well without doing a little self-care. So take that time. It could be the most important thing you ever do for yourself.