Self Care: More Than A Face Mask

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written by my friend, Marie Jasper

Self-care is a hot topic nowadays. Unfortunately, a lot of the discussion around self-care seems to be focused on one’s physical self and not much else. And while I, too, am a fan of a great face mask and bath bomb, self-care and the discussion around it should be much deeper than that.

A habit that is believed to be essential to one’s overall well-being is self-care. I like to describe self-care as a form of physical, mental and emotional hygiene. Just as we all aim to maintain our physical selves through sleep, bathing/grooming, exercise and proper nutrition, we should also aim to maintain our mental and emotional selves.

Emotional self-care requires complete vulnerability and honesty with oneself. Practicing vulnerability and honesty with oneself allows for one to be vulnerable with others which allows for deeper, more intimate relationships – romantic and otherwise.

Practicing emotional self-care involves allowing yourself to feel emotions without fighting them. That’s not to say you should let yourself feel all of the things all at the same time. No. That just means that when an emotion comes over you, stop for a second, acknowledge it, and then act on it or release it. It’s important to note that emotions are not concrete; they are abstract and fleeting and they change with the direction of the wind so think really long and hard about acting on emotions.

Self-Care in Action

Below are just a few popular methods of what practical emotional self-care can look like.

1. Journal

For some, simply writing what/why you’re feeling on paper is very cathartic. Writing what you’re feeling forces you to acknowledge your emotions and bring them to the forefront so they can be dealt with. Journaling also allows for reflection and inspiration. One can look back on previous journal entries to see how far they’ve come and grown and be inspired to continue to learn and grow.

2. Cry

Literally. Go in a corner (or just weep openly it that’s your thing), be vulnerable and allow whatever emotions to come to the surface and just let the tears flow.  Fun fact: Emotional tears are different from other tears; they contain a higher level of stress hormones. You’re literally crying the stress out.

3. Meditate

According to Yael Shy, author of What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond (Parallax, 2017), explains, “Meditation is not just about helping us calm down and “de-stress” although it can do both of those things. Meditation helps us to see the contents of our minds and hearts…In this way, meditation has the power to transform our relationship to ourselves, to others, and the world around us.” What’s so great about meditating is that it’s free (LOVE that), can be done just about anywhere, and it’s customizable. There are many forms of meditation that allow for one to explore and figure out what works best them.

4. Therapy

I consider therapy to be the ultimate form of self-care. When I see someone in therapy, that says to me that the person was strong enough to acknowledge that they need help with whatever issue(s) they may be having and they can’t deal with it/them on their own. It’s kind of like a public declaration of “I need help and I’m not ashamed of it.” Kudos to those people.

While some of these seem time-consuming and exhausting, they don’t have to be. Simply checking in with yourself on your lunch break and jotting down how you’re feeling in your Notes app on your phone is a form of journaling. You don’t have to buy a nice journal and new stationery. You can cry while you’re in the shower. You can cry AND meditate in the shower. (Really kill 2 birds with that one.) Even therapy is becoming more and more accessible with apps like TalkSpace which can be summarized roughly as therapy on the go. TalkSpace touts itself as being more affordable and accessible than traditional therapy.

I want to end Mental Health Awareness Month with this:

SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH.
SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH.
SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH.

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You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself FIRST.
Take care of yourselves. Please.