Who Defined Self Care?
Bubble baths and sheet masks. Target and Starbucks run. Glass of wine at the end of the day.
Who said that this is how we care for ourselves??
Before coming to Adagio House, I was in a rather toxic work environment. Unsupported by coworkers, mentally and physically straining work, and a 2 hrs each day commute. Entering into that job I was coming off of a 6 month long period of quarantine and unemployment. There was so much chaos going on in the world and in our country, with the spread of the pandemic and the senseless killings of African American men and women by police. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and unable to see any end in sight. I pushed friends and family away, unsure of how it would be received if I spoke openly and honestly about everything that was coming up with me emotionally.
So like any other 20-something, I turned to social media for relief. In the beginning, I was searching for any distraction, something to get my mind off of the reality of the world I was currently living in. Unfortunately for me, almost everyone I was seeing was in the same boat, struggling with how to process all current events while also primarily following stay-at-home orders and being incredibly bored.
I did begin to see one phrase in particular begin to pop up more frequently: self care.
So many “social media influencers” talking about how important it was to be taking care of ourselves during this difficult time. Many suggested practicing regular exercise, cooking healthy meals and using a 15 step skincare routine day and night. While all of things are technically good and beneficial for any person, it didn’t seem like anyone truly cared about how to care for the mind. So far in our generation (though we have been through so much [9/11, economic crisis, war overseas to name a few]), we haven’t been faced with an illness that has overrun our country and our world. How long would we be stuck inside? Is my sore throat COVID or just seasonal allergies? Will this pandemic ever come to an end?
One day after a pretty debilitating panic attack, I realized I needed help and began my search for a counselor. It was a long process finding my therapist (a longer story for another time) but within the first few minutes of the session, I was in tears. I felt comfortable almost immediately, and it was so encouraging being told that all of my questions and feelings were valid. Someone who recognized and valued how important it was for me (and honestly everyone) to have a 3rd party person to share what was going on in my head and help me come up with solutions to create a clearer mental health space.
Today, let’s redefine self care.
Let’s listen to our minds and bodies when they need rest.
Let’s fuel our minds and bodies with the things that replenish and fulfill us.
Let’s enter into spaces with therapists or people we can trust and be truthful about what’s on our minds.
Let’s start putting our mental health first.
* The author of this article is not a mental health professional, just another
20-something on a mental health journey.