I didn’t publish a post last Thursday, and that wasn’t planned. As someone who calls the DC area home, last week was extremely difficult to stomach. This week (and likely the weeks to come) will be difficult as well. I’ve been in and out of a fog, I’ve had trouble focusing on things and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out where my head’s been at. I know I’ve posted reminders about self-care before, but this moment felt different to me. It still does, and I have a feeling that might continue going forward. In these days and weeks ahead, prioritizing our mental wellness should be a top priority. Here’s why.
Before I continue on about why prioritizing self-care is so important right now, I want to make sure that we’re clear about what self-care actually means. There’s a wide assumption that self-care is something luxurious or something to be envied. The idea that self-care is as specific as a day at the spa just isn’t true, and it furthers the bridge we build between mental health and wellness.
Self-care means that we are putting time in our daily routine to put ourselves first. That doesn’t mean we spend all day wearing face masks or watching Netflix. We absolutely can do those things if we like, but self-care is more about the intention rather than the activity. The goal is to take care of our well-being – be that mental, physical, spiritual, etc. – where need to, so that we can do other things. And I’ve learned that self-care can be very difficult if you aren’t actually putting your needs first.
So, why would now be a good time to put our mental wellness first right now? Why would this moment be a good one to put in the practice of self-care? We’ve got more than a few reasons or excuses to do so. I mean honestly, take a look around! It’s as good a time as any to be clear about your needs and put your wellness first. And while that’s easily reason enough, there’s another important thing I want to mention, and it’s the biggest reason I practice self-care daily.
There are so many ways to change the world, or to change someone’s world. There are many ways to be enact change, or to be part of a movement. But all of these actions require strength. They require courage, and building a more inclusive world that keeps equity and equality doesn’t come easy. So you need to rest when you have time to rest. Pause when you feel you need it. Recharge your batteries. Don’t let people trick you into thinking that you’re being selfish. A long time ago, a friend told me that I couldn’t help anyone if I wasn’t helping myself. And she was right. Things might get even more out of sorts than they already are in the world, but it’s important that we remember we’re part of it. If you aren’t taking care of yourself and prioritizing your mental wellness, it can put you at at a disadvantage. And right now, we need all the advantages we can get.