Welcome to Self Care Stories, a blog series showcasing how different people take care of themselves around the world. In our lives, we often forget to prioritize our own well-being. We hope that by reading these stories, you feel inspired to build your own self-care routines because your own care is important.
What's your background?
I am a 22-year-old direct caregiver who lives in Michigan.
What's your definition of self-care or what does self-care mean to you?
My definition of self-care is any thought and/or action that contributes to leading you into a healthier physical and/or mental state. It’s a form of self-love.
Tell me your story. How do you practice self-care in your life?
Throughout my life, I felt that I had to prove and work hard to receive love, especially from my parents. It felt as if I had to live to satisfy them and always make decisions based on what others wanted and never from what I wanted. And from this and growing up in a chaotic environment, I grew up to be a people pleaser as part of my identity. As a people pleaser, I get manipulated and taken for granted easily. This has happened many times throughout my life. This has lead me to become very self-conscious, high self-monitor, low self-esteem, and have anxiety which is what I struggle with today. To endure and move past these events, I brought up more ways of self-care each time.
Self-care practice #1 I recognize the feelings that I am going through and accept them. I recognize the process of hurting and slowly let myself process feeling these emotions as they happen. I realized the more I fought my feelings, the more I was just gonna have to face them again later on. Recognizing our state of mind and taking our time with letting our emotions flow is, in my opinion, self-care.
Self-care #2 I tell a friend, any friend, anyone. It’s impossible these days to find someone that cares but there’s usually one person that really does, and you need to let them IN. This is a huge step. Expressing and loving yourself is enough to know that you deserve to tell someone what you are feeling.
Self-care #3 In my notes, I write down some positive things about myself and why, as an individual, I am special. I know this is hard because we struggle with self-esteem but part of the process is seeing what you want in clear view.
Self-Care #4 Go on Pinterest and look up motivation, self-reassuring, and loving quotes and messages. Again, this was very corny to me at first, but it recognizes my feeling, gives me reassurance, and gives me new insight and more reasons on my purpose.
Self-care #5 Bubble baths! A time to physically relieve tension and possibly even meditate on your thoughts and feel at peace. Candles are a great addition as well!
Self-care #6 I set a short term goal on something, such as getting an A on a test, and if I achieve the goal, then I buy myself something! Even if it doesn’t happen, this motivates me and rewards myself for my accomplishments.
Self-care #7 I struggle with this one, but if I am feeling anxious, lonely, and have extremely low self-esteem on certain days, I lock myself out of my phone and stay away from social media. I used to rely on posting pictures and trying to feel better based on the number of likes I got, but we shouldn’t base our worth on what other people on social media thinks (easier said than done). In my opinion, likes on social media are almost more self-harming depending on the person and intent on posting.
Self-care #8, Run, do yoga, and or go to the gym. As a psych major, I read that physical activity is highly correlated with mental health. You attempt to take care of your body while it also takes care of your state of mind, it’s a win-win!
Self-care #9, This one is usually my go-to. I shouldn’t depend on others to show my worth; I realize my own worth as a human being when I do acts of kindness to other people. This brings out the best of me who is the kind of person I strive the most to become.
What makes taking care of yourself so important to you?
It’s how I battle with the hardships I endure almost every day. Taking care of yourself contributes to bringing about the right mindset, feeling your best self physically and mentally, and giving yourself motivation and a will/purpose to live. Humans are naturally selfish beings because we rely on ourselves mainly more than anyone else, and I feel we need other people.
If you had advice to give someone else on practicing self-care, what would it be?
Everyone’s style and concept of self-care are different. We learn self-care sometimes unconsciously and throughout painful moments in our lives to help us survive. It takes a while to find your own style but trying other people’s ideas will never hurt! Loving yourself is something I struggle with every day, but I know progress isn’t linear and that I am practicing that through self-care. Goodluck!
This series was created in collaboration with Self Caid. To find out more information on how to build a self-care routine, check out them out here.