Over the past years, I’ve done a lot of reading about self-care and mental health, largely out of this intense desire to find the right words to describe my own experiences with depression and anxiety. It was really in college that I discovered just how pervasive these things have been in my life and it was in college that I developed some unhealthy self-care techniques.
Self-care is one of those popular buzzwords that often thrown around and yet, it always seems like many people can’t agree what it means. For many, self-care is taking the time away from work and responsibilities to watch something on Netflix. And this is utterly valuable. In a culture that values being busy and being glued to work, it’s important to take the time out from those things.
But I’ve learned that self-care also means actually taking care of yourself. I know that this is incredibly obvious but as someone with depression and anxiety, seeing self-care as exclusively meaning watching stuff on Netflix is not that great and actually a bit unhealthy. I tend to get carried away with just mindlessly watching Netflix and have spent hours and hours doing so.
Self-care is watching Netflix and taking a break but it’s also doing a load of laundry because your clothes are piling up on your floor. It’s finally taking a shower after a week without one because you couldn’t convince yourself to do so before. It’s eating something other than Cheetos and gummy bears and also drinking a whole bunch of water. It’s making an appointment with a doctor and a dentist because you haven’t been to either in several years. And sometimes, it’s taking a break from screens of any kind and remembering a life outside of the internet.
Self care doesn’t always have to be a solitary action, as sometimes it also means being in a space with people who validate and love you. Sometimes, it means taking the time to do the things you love with friends and/or loved ones. It can be as simple as eating a meal with folks or going to the park.
One of my new years resolution is to take better care of myself. I’m not going to break every bad habit I have overnight and I have some serious doubts about being able to cure or even treat my depression/anxiety. But I can do little things, like shower more regularly and use lotion so my hands stop cracking from dry skin. I can drink more water and stop letting my laundry just sit on my bedroom floor. I can be around people who love and support me.
In this new year and in this tough time, I hope you’re taking care of yourself. I hope that you’re take some time away from screens to make some food or go outside or remember who you are to yourself. And I hope you’re able to take the time out from responsibilities and life to center and focus yourself. Be good to yourself this year.
As the lovely ladies from the podcast Another Round always say: drink your water, take your meds, call your person. ❤ ❤