Self-care. What is it? Why is it needed? How do I show myself self-care? Merriam-webster.com defines self-care as “love as self.” To get a relatable answer to these questions, I decided to interview my close friend Michelle. Before beginning the interview, I was not sure if she knew what self-care entailed and was intrigued to discover her responses!
- How would you describe self-care?
Self-care means setting aside time for yourself. Taking time to do things you enjoy, reaching out to people you haven’t talked to in a while or simply taking a breather from everything that we have to do so we can do the things we want to do and not feel guilty about it. We can get so caught up in the day-to-day worries and life struggles that we can forget to take care of ourselves emotionally, physically and mentally.
- What do you do for self-care?
My self-care usually involves curling up with a good book so I can lose myself in pages, watching my favorite TV shows, meeting up with friends or texting them to simply talk. I also enjoy doing little things to pamper myself like getting a manicure or going shopping. Exercising, when I feel up to it, is another activity. Yoga and meditation are relaxing and grounding activities. All that matters in those moments is being present and aware of yourself and your surrounds; everything else melts away.
- Who/what taught you about self-care?
Ironically, volunteering for a crisis organization taught me about self-care. It was a major takeaway from training and for continued practice. If you’re not in a good place emotionally or have some outlet to deal with difficult circumstances, you can’t be in an adequate place to help someone else going through their own struggles. Happiness matters and working to achieve it day by day is what self-care is all about.
- What are your opinions on the benefits of self-care?
Self-care is absolutely essential and so beneficial. Too many people don’t practice enough of it. Self-care can improve mood, help put problems into perspective and help people realize they hold the power to change so many things in their life if only they take the first step.
- In your opinion, what are the top three things everyone should do for self-care?
Self-care is different for everyone but in my opinion, the top three things for self-care would have to be: reflection, finding an outlet and appreciation. Reflection – taking the time to see what’s bothering us and if it’s really so insurmountable we can’t overcome it. Also seeing that we may not be as alone in our struggles as we initially thought. Finding an outlet – everyone enjoys doing something so taking the time to do something we enjoy even for a small amount of time can bring a bit of happiness when needed. Appreciation – at times difficult, listing the things we are thankful for and the positive attributes we hold helps put things into perspective and show how much value and worth we contribute to the world.
- Why do we need self-care in today’s society?
War, natural disasters, contentious political relations and overall intolerance. Society today is in turmoil so taking care ourselves can make us that much stronger to deal with the chaos that is our present-day society.
- How do you know when you need self-care?
I know I need self-care when I no longer enjoy doing the things I used to. I feel overwhelmed with responsibilities and shy away from wanting to interact with anyone because I feel like the hassle isn’t worth it. At this point, taking time to recharge is vital.
- How do you feel when you don’t follow your self-care routine?
When I don’t’ follow my own self-care routine I feel lousy. Everything seems more difficult and I feel like I can’t achieve anything or what I’ve worked for doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things.
- What does your routine consist of? Or does it vary depending on the day?
My routine various depending on the day. Some are harder than others so I’ll need to incorporate more self-care on those days. There isn’t a set routine, but I’ll try to take the time to do some of the activities I listed above like meditation, talking with a friend or watching a TV show. It really depends.
- What can one do if they need help starting their own self-care routine?
There are a lot of helpful websites available to help get a self-care routine going. A Google search or even pinterest search can get some ideas going but ultimately self-care involves doing activities that are tailored to you and your interests. A good place to start would be to list some activities they find enjoyable or relaxing and then slowly incorporating more of these activities into their daily routines.
Even if it’s 30 minutes of yoga or listening to some soothing music, that’s 30 minutes of time they set aside for themselves.
By: Alysia Lester, Anxiety In Teens Contributor