Today is going to be a self-care day
You think to yourself, as you come back from doing the bare minimum.
Throwing your bag to the already overflowing mess of a room that you promise yourself, you will clean as soon as you get time.
flopping on your unmade bed filled with wrappers and miscellaneous crap.
Yes. I deserve this. I need this.
You think as you press the button confirming your order. Money and health are inversely proportional it seems. Basic economics , you can’t have more of one good without sacrificing some of the other.
Your phone buzzes.
Text from jobless friend 1: Hey bro what you doing
Wanna go out??
:( C’mon man. You ditched last time also
Your finger hovers over the keypad. You want to stay in, you want to clean your room, you want to call your parents and read that book that has been sitting on your shelf for god knows how long and clean the pan you made Maggi in last night but
Only for an hour though
Hello and welcome everybody to the world of teenage self-care where we perceive indulgence and laziness as taking care of our *cough* mental health *cough*.
Here are some things you might have gotten wrong about this whole wonderful and genteel process of self-care
Self-Care isn’t obvious:
The thing is, most things associated with self-care routines and what we perceive as self-care only involve a very very tiny and filtered version of what it actually is. Kind of like looking over the math syllabus in the end and figuring out the easy things to do so you can pass, we tend to only look at the easy and appealing parts of self care and not the whole syllabus.
Is self-care about taking long warm baths and watching tv shows in bed to distract yourself from heart breaks?
Of course it is.
It is also about cutting toxic ties and confrontations. It is also about getting up early to attend your classes and washing dishes. It is also about making awkward phone calls with distant relatives and studying when you don’t feel like it.
Putting yourself first isn’t just about doing whatever makes you happy in the present it is often doing things that will make you happy in the future.
These things might seem obvious but trust me, they are not. It doesn’t come naturally to us to take care of ourselves because most of us have been privileged enough to have other people do it for us.
Self-care is more than just distractions:
Instant gratification is a hit. It soars through your body and before you know it whoosh it’s gone and all that is left is an ache to feel the same hit again and again and again.
Nothing worth having comes easy. Whether it be good grades or healthy mental health practices. Self-care often comprises of things that come too easy and do too little.
While it is a valid point that distractions are very useful in situations wherein the problem is outside your control (say a the death of a loved one or physical pain) they rarely are useful when the source of the problem is internal. These are distractions. You’re putting a bandage on a bleeding wound and looking away. Reality check kid, the blood is still there. You gotta put that burning after shave on it and just deal with the pain.
Self-care is a routine:
The basic law of nature of life is routine. You’ve got your water cycle and your rotations and revolution of the planet and the trees growing in spring, shedding leaves in autumn seasonal cycles and yeah, all that poetic jazz.
The point is if you look around you, you will find that everything that is beautiful and alive is so because there is routine.
Now listen, I am not saying that nature isn’t chaotic or the freakin leaves have to make a checklist in order to do photosynthesis all I am saying is that,
Think about is from an athlete’s point of view. If they want to stay fit and on top of their game they need to practice every day. Mental health isn’t all that different from physical health. You have to constantly train your mind to not fall in negative thinking patterns.
Of course, there are days when you just can’t keep up no matter what. Whatever reason it may be you just can’t sit down for 10 minutes and meditate even though you know it’s good for you so you gotta take a step back that day.
Remember that you are making these goals and these checklists for yourself. Try to achieve as much as you can but never look down on yourself for not being everything everyday.
Nothing blossoms in nature all year long so don’t put pressure on yourself to.
Self -care isn’t pretty:
Self-care will often be a really un-beautiful thing. It is full of ugliness. It really is. It is sweating through a workout, it is having a note on your phone keeping record of all the money that you are spending. It is understanding and accepting your limits as a person. It is swallowing your pride and ego and asking for help when you need it. It is having really difficult and awkward conversations that you don’t want to have. It is no longer using your hectic and unreasonable life as justification for self-sabotage in the form of liquor and procrastination. It is choosing a life that feels good above a life that looks good. It is moving on. Choosing to focus on what is than what was or might one day be. It is disappointing some people. It is choosing new.
Taking care of yourself is no joke.
So, next time you decide to have a mental health day maybe look around and try to understand exactly what is causing you stress. The answers might not be pretty or even clear but just the fact that you are asking the right questions will constitute as better self-care practice than watching The Office the entire day.
P.S.. Please don’t take me too seriously The Office is amazing and you should definitely watch it but after you freak yourself out with the self introspection.
Goodbye and goodluck, hope you have a fun time in the tartarus that is your emotions.