Self-care as Self-Defense
September is National Self-Care Awareness Month, and self-care has become such a buzz word, and for a good reason. A lot of times, self-care is framed as important for productivity, to ensure that we can keep contributing to our jobs, our relationships, etc. All of that is true, and it can sometimes be helpful for people to see self-care as a way to care for others, to continue their productivity. However, similar to how we have an inherent right and responsibility to universal safety just by existing, we have a right and responsibility to wellbeing and care for ourselves for no other purpose than that we are alive.
Ultimately, self-care is a form of self-defense. We can recognize that we are worth fighting for, but that fighting doesn’t always come in the form of fighting against, but can be fighting for. We can fight for our mental health, we can fight for our relaxation, and we can fight for self-care. In an age where more is being asked of us in our jobs and in our families and relationships, it can be easy to simply push through and ignore our needs.
We talk a lot at IMPACT about how important it is to respect boundaries, but oftentimes we can be the worst offenders at respecting our own boundaries. Perhaps you know that you need to get at least 8 hours of sleep in order to be awake the next day, yet you find yourself staying up so late that you can’t get the sleep you need. Or, you know that your weekends need to be dedicated to spending time with your family, yet you find yourself checking your emails on Sunday (this is something I am particularly bad at). It can be hard to uphold what we know is good for us. If you find yourself struggling, instead of thinking of it as a chore or a goal, try thinking of it as a boundary that you are setting with yourself-- knowing that our boundaries can always change as we grow and take in more information.
There is no wrong or right way to do self-care. If running makes you feel good, great! If sitting on the couch with a tub of ice cream makes you feel cared for, also great! The important part of self-care is being able to tune into yourself, recognize what you need, and then honor your boundaries by giving you what you need. Self-care can help us show up for others. It can help us be more productive at work, but extra productivity does not have to be the proof required at the end of your self-care. You are worthy of care and love and safety right here, right now.