So…About Self Care

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So…about self care

It’s a struggle to take care of myself everyday. As a habitual helper and fixer, I spend precious hours of my time making sure that most, if not all of the people around me are taken care of. I honestly think that that was the underlying reason for me going into social work. I have an innate need to be needed.

All of this “save the world” stuff takes a toll on me though–as a person, a mother, a wife, and even in my career. Hubz has been very clear in that I just need to walk away and leave well enough alone. But I don’t think that he understands what that would mean for me internally. It’s like telling a chronic smoker to “put that cigarette down…forever.” Yeah, I know that smoking is bad and all, but do you really think I wouldn’t do it–that I wouldn’t put my cigarette of choice down–if I could, if it really were that easy?

Why we struggle with self-care

Not everybody struggles with self-care. Some people practice it completely and perfectly. We call those people “selfish” and we associate them with other words like “self-centered”. After many many years of being a fixer, I finally had to really analyze the information that was being spoon fed to me about those two words–selfish and self-centered. And after much thought, I just have to call it what it is: bullshit.

Being selfish is actually a good thing. It is a form of self-preservation, Audre Lorde tells us.  And self-centered literally means being preoccupied with oneself and one’s affairs. It is being “concerned solely with one’s own desires, needs, or interests.” Taken as this stand alone statement, I have to wonder: what the hell is the problem with being selfish or self-centered? If I were to listen to the collective narrative of the world, which I admit I have been doing for a very long time, I could be led to think that the answer to that question is everything and nothing. Everything is wrong with being selfish and nothing is right about being self-centered.

But why?

Could it be that we’re conditioned to practice the opposite of self-care? Instead of taking our boots off and resting our weary feet, we’re taught to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps by any means necessary. That means if you break a few bones on the way down or sprain a finger or two while you’re grabbing for those bootstraps, it’s all good because, you know, that’s life. And life is hard. Life is painful. Life is full of turmoil. You just get over it and keep it moving.

Bullshit.

Because what if getting over it is not good enough anymore?

Years of life being hard and painful and almost unbearable has brought me to self-care. Unapologetic, I don’t give a damn if you like it because I love it, self-care. Because I’ve come to realize that if I don’t do it, it won’t get done. Nobody is going to care for me, about me, the way that I need to care for myself. Nobody should have to.

Self-care.

What does my self-care look like?

How do I get it? How do I maintain it?

How do I practice self-care as a woman…as a mother…as a wife…as a professional?

What do I do when caring about me is the last thing on my mind?

These are a few of the questions I’ll be answering over the next few weeks during my self-care series. I want to show the beauty of self-care, but also demonstrate that it can be an ugly, bitter experience as well. Because to practice an extreme and necessary form of self-care, you have to address you. It’s more than just some candles around a bubble bath with a glass a wine in hand. I mean, it absolutely can be those things, but there’s so much more to it than that.

I hope that you’ll find value in this series and share with others you think could use it. Be sure to check back weekly to get the latest in the series or sign up for my email list to be notified when the post is live. In the meantime, check out my past posts on self-care:

How to practice self-care during a tragedy

How to create a self-care kit

How to make the best of a mental funk

20 Confidence boosting affirmations (for kids but anybody can glean value from it)

Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts about self-care in the comments.

And Another One

2 Comments

  1. I was diagnosed with depression several years ago. I’ve had it my whole life, and it has effected it my whole life. I’d like to find avenues of comfort.

  2. One quote that has helped me with the “guilt” of self-care is this: “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” So I see it as a service to others that I “fill my vessel”through self-care and self-love in hopes that it spills over to those that I serve.

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