Now is the most important time to practice self-care. You deserve it more than ever, especially during a time of increased stress, anxiety, and uncertainty.
Think of your mental wellness as being on a continuum. When things are going well externally and you have stability and normalcy, you are at a baseline level of mental wellness.
When things outside are out of whack, unstable, and abnormal, your mental wellness level is now below baseline. And you need to practice self-care in order to bring your mental health back up to baseline.
This is because self-care is, quite simply, a way of taking care of yourself wholly: physically and mentally. The internal work that you do helps you become more resilient in the face of external stressors.
You deserve to give yourself care and attention right now.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is not a one-size-fits-all prescription. It is different for everybody, so some of it requires looking within and understanding yourself. These questions might help you.
Self-care does not have to just be movies and bubble baths (although it perfectly well can be). Self-care is time taken to recharge your batteries, to take care of your body, relax your mind, or engage in a passion.
The possibilities are limitless.
The Line Between Self-Care And Avoidance
It’s important to acknowledge that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. This happens when you engage in over-indulgence, or using self-care type activities as a form of avoidance.
It is important to have a balance in life.
A balance between:
The expectation is not perfection, it is listening to yourself and your needs.
If you have difficulty maintaining this balance between responsibility and self-care, it can be helpful to create structure and rewards, especially in this time of uncertainty and blurred boundaries between work and home.
This looks different for everybody, but it can start with having set work hours and a specified space for work, and a set time and space for self-care and downtime.
You can also create a reward system: Once you complete a specific responsibility, reward yourself with some self-care. Maybe this is an episode of your favorite TV show or an at-home face mask.
Does Self-Care Make You Feel Guilty?
Do you ever feel guilty giving yourself attention? Taking time just for yourself?
This can be a common experience if you are so used to putting other people’s needs before your own. It can feel as though you are being selfish, disregarding others, and you might even notice internal resistance.
The reality is that you cannot take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself first. Whether you are a parent, caregiver, helping professional, or otherwise: you cannot pour from an empty cup.
Notice the feelings that may come up when you consider practicing self-care.
Guilt? Fear of being viewed as lazy? Unworthiness?
Notice these emotions, acknowledge them and their potential origins, and check them at the door.
You deserve to take care of yourself.
At the end of the day, don’t overthink things, just start practicing self-care. You need it now more than ever.