Practice Self Care
Updated: May 13, 2020
Self care doesn't have to look like extravagant trips to the spa, shopping sprees, or a vacation in paradise. The simple practice of brewing a hot cup of vanilla tea and sipping it in bed with a book, lighting a candle, or drawing are all profound acts of self care.
In high school, I was never taught about the importance of self care. I was drilled to study hard, go to multiple tutors weekly, and get top grades. It didn't matter what or how I was feeling - academic perfection was a non-negotiable requirement. For the most part, this non-negotiable aspect of my academic perfection was not driven by external force, but from my own expectations for myself.
The Importance of Self Care
Growing up, I was never taught about the importance of self care.
I hate that it took my heart being on the brink of failure for me to have to stop and reassess the way I was living my life, and critically evaluate how I was prioritizing everything. Only when my life was on the line, did I begin to realize the importance of self care and challenge my pre-existing ways of living that put my academics above everything else in my life.
Putting Myself First
Up until that point, I was never aware of what I wanted in any given situation. I was so unaware of my emotions that my eating disorder was established out of my fear of 'feeling' and wanting to (literally) run away from negativity. When I first went into treatment, I was confused by everything we were taught - of how emotions work, and how our thoughts act in concert with our behaviors and actions. I had never had to critically analyze my thoughts in this way previously. I was so wrapped up in my thoughts and how they drove my disordered behaviors that I failed to recognize the emotional triggers that made me react in those destructive ways.
I recognize the importance of self care now, and how crucial it is to put myself first. It is not selfish. It is not an act of vanity. To me, learning how to take care of myself and honoring my own needs allows me to be present and offer my support and love to others when they need it. You can't fill anyone else's cup until you've filled your own. You can't throw someone a lifejacket if you're drowning yourself. This lesson, though learned through an extremely difficult period of my life, holds meaning and value that can be applied in my life in countless ways. For that, I am grateful.