Self-Care as Rest or as Productivity?
Another blog about self-care! I know it’s a giant buzzword right now, but even I have a hard time defining it, let alone putting it into practice. Is self-care doing my laundry and cleaning my room or is it taking a bath? Is it spending the night studying or is it watching Netflix?
While I find that media often portrays self-care as baths and Netflix, we’re all probably in agreement that it’s more of a balance between productivity and relaxation. Caring for your present self is important, and baths and Netflix can be great for that, but caring for your future self is important too. When you’ve left your assignment to the last minute in the name of “self-care”, you can be stuck in an incredibly stressful situation and you might be unable to take any more baths to make it go away.
As someone with depressive disorders, I find the whole “self-care” practice super hard to navigate. Lying down in my bed is all I want to do a lot of the time, and sometimes it’s all I can do. The media is telling me that indulging in my depressive tendencies (lying in bed, watching Netflix) is equal to caring for myself. That’s the problem with what I’m seeing represented in the self-care world. Self-care is so individual. For the person working non-stop to the point of burnout, lying in bed is incredible self-care. For me, it’s dangerous.
So, keep this all in mind as I share my self-care practices. Context is the key to sharing specific practices, because we’re all coming from a different experience and have different needs!
Schedule self-care! For me, if something isn’t on my Google calendar, it’s literally not going to happen. Writing this blog post was scheduled, my yoga video for later today is scheduled, and my time to cook a healthy meal is scheduled. Tomorrow, I even have a nap scheduled in! This way, rather than giving up on responsibilities and hiding in my bed, I have it planned and it doesn’t feel like a failure.
Diversify your self-care! Trying different forms of self-care keeps my brain engaged and excited about what I’m doing. New yoga routines, walking in new places, reading new books, or trying new recipes all make me really happy! Rather than sticking to one thing, I love switching it up.
“Sit in the chair”. This is a concept my lovely roommate taught me. Whenever I don’t want to do homework, she tells me to just sit in the chair, and the rest will come. It sounds silly but it really breaks down the task and makes it seem manageable. I’ve applied that to self-care too. If I just want to lie in my bed but I know better self-care would be doing some yoga, I tell myself to just unroll the yoga mat, sit on it, and close my eyes. And guess what! The rest always comes. Getting started is the hardest part.
I hope these self-care tips help, and more than anything, remember that everyone’s self care is different, and that’s awesome. You are the expert of your own care and needs!
Written by: Kenzie Morin