What is self-care? I don’t know and I want to find out. Apparently a lack of self-care put me in a place vulnerable to burnout.
In philosophy, self-care refers to the care and cultivation of self in a comprehensive sense, focusing in particular on the soul and the knowledge of self.
While searching the net for guidance one may find surprising results. You’ll learn about wellness, taking relaxing baths, doing yoga, face masks … The longest time I really thought that that was self-care. Work from the outside and in the magic of life those things will patch up the hurting inside.
Self-care is individual, hence the word ‘self’. I found out that in mental health it means to manage your symptoms. In my experience it means mostly to lose. Due to burnout and depression I lost a lot of things. It was a full stop, a cleansing of my judgement.
Losing what doesn’t serve me. Words can be of an important guidance while thinking about mental health. Words without action don’t cut it. Self-care is a journey on the inside, a journey on its own. While recovering and un-covering yourself, you need to ‘get you’, grasp it, hold it, look at it like a kaleidoscope.
The first step would be to acknowledge that you are here and that you are the caregiver and receiver at the same time. That you are permitted to take your place in the world and that you too are worthy of love and happiness. All of that, no matter who you are, what you did in the past, who raised you and what you told yourself.
I’m starting to understand that what I thought of ‘me’ isn’t the case. What I’ve internalized doesn’t stems from me but grew into me. I was fighting all of that, trying to deny it, to wipe it away, to clean it up. The battle became the purpose and led to the neglect of the Self. It is like the movie ‘Life Of Pi’.
Self-care becomes to be attentive to what you need in the moment and to use that as your driving force. It is not a button you switch on when you feel like it and be done with it. It can’t be scheduled or forced. It needs to be like an endless stream before you’re surprised by the wave. It demands attention, divided attention to your needs, others and life. It is divided and all intertwined.
When you keep criticizing your kids, they don’t stop loving you. They stop loving themselves.
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