By Kuntala Sarkar | Lifestyle
13 May 2022
These last two years have exhausted us emotionally; we have been learning a new way of life that we were unfamiliar with. The worst part of the Covid-19 pandemic was that we were not prepared for this physically, not even emotionally; this life at home and life danger outside came as a shock to us. Even though we are now accustomed to this new way of life, that feeling of emotional fatigue still lingers around our heads. Self-care has never been more important and widely discussed in this challenging time.
While thinking about self-care, let us not get confused between self-obsession or self-indulgence and self-care. It is similar to the situation where you mistakenly consider narcissism as self-love. Self-care is taking time for yourself so that you can shower your empathy and kindness to others because you were empathetic and kind to yourself first. Self-care enables you to warmth and widens your scope of being yourself.
The first rule of self-care is to not constantly compete with others or yourself, whether it’s work or personal life. There are numerous quotes on social media about how you should only compete with yourself; on the one hand, this is a perfect way to grow by setting your standards, but constantly being on this run can be mentally exhausting. Taking a slight pause in the growing process can help you reflect and make the journey more compelling.
In our busy schedules, we always least prioritize our self-care; even if it comes, the frequencies are significantly less. Not taking time for yourself daily can give you stress, and those daily stress piling up can lead to severe anxiety and depression.
Research says there’s a neurobiological reason for this—and it has to do with the brain structure known as the frontal lobes. This area is responsible for executive functioning—a set of skills that involves problem-solving, judgment, and reasoning, just to name a few. Depression has long been associated with dysfunction of the frontal lobes, so it’s not surprising that people with depression find it hard to self-care (Ref- Psychology Today Article).
Self-care does not always have to be a prolonged skincare regime or spa session, or meditation; just an ordinary conversation a day with your partner or having a cup of tea in silence, or a session of you jamming your favorite song can be part of your self-care. Self-care and self-awareness go hand in hand; taking your moments to listen to yourself and identifying the list of things or activities that might not always make you happy but comfort you. Understanding your mind and body is a power; self-care enables that power to you. Let’s just spend one day each month without those rigorous to-do lists.
People keep telling us that we should practice being a better listener or we should listen to people, not wait for our turn to talk, which is absolutely true but what if you have always been the best listener in your gang and have been that sponge to the group who takes it all. You should have your day of speaking and others listening because that is your form of self-care.
Physical well-being is proportionate to your mental health, wherein it is good to take a few days off from your fitness regime but quitting the regime can represent that you accept yourself, but you do not love yourself. Acceptance is the first step to loving yourself, but as they say, love is not easy. Loving your body means taking good care of it by eating healthy and pushing yourself for that 30 min run. An unhealthy lifestyle or body can easily trigger self-pity or anger, leading to anxiety. So no matter how cliché it might sound, your yoga or gym session is one of the purest forms of self-care.
Unlike physical, mental exertion is not easily understandable. As we have mentioned earlier, self-awareness is one of the ways of picking up on the signs of mental labor, for example, the array of judgment from one of your toxic friends that has been making you uncomfortable for years or that weird comment on social media that made you feel sorry for posting that picture in the first place. Once your illness is diagnosed, you can start acting to cure the same, so stop indulging that toxic friend and just block that account from your social media. Because it is essential before anybody you have your own back, which will give you a sense of power. While looking out for your mental health, it is also necessary to keep changing your perspective; like how social media can quickly generate this sense of inferiority, you design and follow more people who inspire and influence you to be a better version of yourself. Self-care is looking after yourself, defending yourself from falling into that pit of dark emotions.
Working on the small things does not mean you should refrain from those big adventures, get that dragon tattoo or go for that solo trip you always wished for. While climbing those mountains, we should always take a moment to look around, and similarly, in life, if we can steal our moment of self-care, we can thrive on higher mountains.