I want to expand on the idea of self care. In addition, I’d like to give you some ideas on how to take it slow and care for yourself, the one person you got for life. First, let me start with why it’s nice to care for yourself. It may seem like a given, but if you have mental illness or low self esteem, these things don’t come naturally.
Also: I hate to point fingers here, but the media and society as a whole don’t really encourage self care. It is portrayed as a selfish act and indulgent as hell.
That is a small minded way of seeing self care. It is rather simplistic to assume that taking care of oneself negates the care we have for others. In fact, I posit that caring for others is dependent on care for oneself. If you want to be a better friend, lover, child/offspring, perhaps you should consider spending some time with yourself. Let me give you some ideas.
The truth is, we need to cleanse ourselves from a world that is often filled with awful, terrible things. You’ll need to process what you have experienced. On a literal level, you’ll need to cleanse your body, face, and hair. These things are taken for granted, but, I remember being so overjoyed to be in my own shower after being in the hospital because: a) privacy, b) an opportunity to not stress out, c) self-soothing. Try to see them as opportunities to pamper yourself. Take your time. Breathe. Notice your body. Observe the crevices and creases. When I was little, I used to count fingers and toes, grateful. I try to remind myself to do that every day now to put life in perspective. Love the body you’re in. Work towards that goal, and know that some days will be better than others.
But, the cleansing is not just physical; you can also need to emotionally empty the negative feelings otherwise they will fester. I find journaling crucial. You can go on a run just to release the anxiety. Walking is a good alternative, if you’re like unfit like me. Yoga and meditation are also quite helpful.
When life throws you curve-balls and you don’t know how to process it, sometimes it helps to be creative. Try not to pressure yourself into it, obviously, because you don’t need more stress in your life. But, if you can, try to take pictures, draw, paint, create graphics, dress up, play with your hair, get a haircut, change up your appearance, paint your nails, do your makeup, reorganize your room, your books, your clothes, create play lists. There are so many things you can do to put out positivity into the world. Here are some more ideas.
I think one of the best ways to break the loneliness of sadness or negativity is to converse with someone. If you’re like me, and you can’t bring yourself to physically speak because of anxiety and mental illnesses, try to do it on a grander scale. Listen to some poetry or audio books. It is a great consolation, finding your place shifted and changed as you are exposed to stories of different people. Sure, some would argue that literature can be about escape, but I suggest otherwise. I see it that the point of literature isn’t so much about traveling through time and space, but perhaps to find the similarities, to notice the links we have with others, the common grounds we may have.
And, even if you read completely different perspectives, it helps to be engaged in a dialogue with them as you are experiencing their narratives. It is this beautiful connection where the conversation keeps going on, whether as you are writing a response, or talking about it with someone else, or maybe tweeting the writer, or even just thinking about it to yourself. It’s all connections. It is all a back and forth.