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Self Care Isn’t Only Bubble Baths and Hot Tea, Sometimes It’s Simpler

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March 27, 2015

By Max Braun (60 Jahre Allgemeine Erklärung der Menschenrechte) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Self-care is a necessary part of life in order for people to stay healthy, rested, and well. Sometimes life can just get too hectic and it’s important to remember to take a step back and take care of ourselves. Especially in activist spaces we tend to be so focused on others that our own well being can easily get pushed aside.

Luckily however there exists the concept of self-care. Before I was even introduced to the terminology a year or so ago that notion has always existed. And it can look a variety of different ways for different people. Self-care can look like taking quiet time to read a favorite book, taking a long warm shower,  or splurging on desert or a new piece of clothing.

As the concept of self-care has been gaining more attention on social media spheres like Tumblr and Facebook I’ve seen the concept turn into something that tends to focus on extravagance.  You may be wondering what could possibly be extravagant about a bath or some tea, those are simple enough things. They are yes, but sometimes self care isn’t as easy and in that case needs to come in even simpler forms.

For people with depression or anxiety for example it’s easy for small tasks to get forgotten. In these instances self care can look like,

  • catching up on housework
  • reading/responding to emails
  • exercising
  • cooking yourself a nice meal
  • journaling

When things are really difficult sometimes even these tasks are too overwhelming to manage and the help of a partner or friend is necessary. Bustle had a great article about this entitled 13 Ways To Help A Partner With Depression — While Also Taking Care Of Yourself. In it, the article reminds someone who is helping another deal with depression to be gentle and caring while listening to their partner’s needs. It could simply be helping them to get out of bed and get some fresh air, because sometimes that’s the hardest to do. Self-care can also be simply talking about your feelings with someone you trust.

A great resource for when you feel the need to talk to someone, but either can’t find a person to do so with or don’t feel comfortable sharing with someone close, is 7 Cups of Tea. It’s an “an on-demand emotional health and well-being service” available for free online where people can connect with trained individuals and chat with them via instant message about how they may be feeling. It’s a good resource for relieving isolation in moments when asking for help seems impossible.

Self-care can be overwhelming in and of itself but especially so when it’s framed in the light of extravagance and material things. Not everyone has access to the kind of luxurious self-care methods that have become popular and that needs to be remembered. The concept of self-care is rooted in taking care of one’s self, however, is necessary and accessible. Sometimes that’s in really small ways, and that’s still just as important.

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