Self-care. I want you to stop right now and think of what the term means to you.
The term is ubiquitous and conjures the idea of spa days or doing something out of the ordinary to indulge. Maybe you are thinking of your overloaded Pinterest board with inspiring quotes and recipes for homemade facial masks. Just maybe it also comes with lofty expectations and fears that you aren’t doing ‘it’ right. What if I told you right now that your idea of self-care isn’t really self-care at all? What if I told you that self-care, as a term, has become overly commercialized and has strayed far from the very roots of its intent?
When we sweep aside all our preconceived notions, we are left with two words, self and care. Far from pampering, it instead calls to the very basic concept of caring for oneself. Caring about every aspect of our being, the physical, the emotional, and even the spiritual side. It calls for us to recognize our innate value. It calls for us to focus on the things that will result in our ability to live our best life over the short and long term.
The trend of self-care, is decidedly geared towards the abled and the solidly middle-class. It is exclusionary, by its very nature of focusing on purchase power and the ability to achieve balance through, well, balancing. Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t incorporate these things if they are meaningful to you and you enjoy them. What I am saying is that it is essential to explore beyond these boundaries to encompass the very things that bring us joy and act as a testament of our deep love for who we are, as we are.
To be clear, I am advocating for a raw type of self-love that allows us to have confidence in advocating for ourselves in all spheres of life. It is a call to communicate with your healthcare providers, openly and honestly, about symptoms. It is a call to value yourself enough to walk away when a healthcare provider fails to listen or view your patient experience as valuable. It is a call to surround yourself with friends who make you smile when you want to cry, seek to understand though they lack the lived experience, and who will come to you when you can’t go to them.
I am not saying that any of these things are easy. They aren’t. But I am saying that we owe it to ourselves to move forward, even if we are afraid. A moment or a hundred thousand moments of suffering do not guarantee that the next moment won’t bring joy. A dear Twitter friend said it best “even though this isn’t the life that I planned…it can still be great.”
In the coming week, I will be taking to Twitter for two very important events involving further discussion of self-care. I would love if you could join me!
February 13, 2018 at 1:00 pm EST: #WEGOHealthChat with @PCOSsupportgirl
February 16, 2018 at 9:00 am EST: #MySavvy 24 Hour Twitter Take-Over