She said, “It’s important to remember that when you’re depressed, you have to nurse yourself and be extra gentle towards yourself. An athlete wouldn’t break an ankle and then force themselves to run with that ankle. They rest as it heals and do not think “I am a failed athlete”. Instead, they think, “Right now something isn’t working right, so I’ll take care of myself until it does.”
Give it time.
Let it heal.
You’re going to be okay.
Breathe and remember that you’ve been in this place before.
You’ve been this uncomfortable and anxious and scared, and you’ve survived.
Breathe and know that you can survive this too. These feelings can’t break you.
They’re painful and debilitating, but you can sit with them and eventually, they will pass. Maybe not immediately, but sometime soon, they are going to fade and when they do, you’ll look back at this moment and laugh for having doubted your resilience.
I know it feels unbearable right now, but keep breathing, again and again.
This will pass.
I promise it will pass.
Everyone needs self care. There’s no “Ugh, who needs self care, it sounds like girly stuff I wouldn’t be caught dead doing” or “It’s unnecessary”.
Imagine this: You’re overwhelmed at work. You have a ton of assignments piling up at home, submission dates are creeping up on you at an alarming rate and your calendar is packed with overdue tasks. To make room for all of this stuff, you skip lunch, stop going out, and forget about your social life entirely. When we’re stressed, self care is usually the first thing to throw out of the window. And that only makes things so much worse.
It’s easy to neglect taking care of ourselves because when we’re busy and overwhelmed, even a small break feels like a luxury. So actually taking time to eat lunch, go out, and hang out with friends? That just feels like slacking.
There is a misconception that self care is all about slush bomb baths, massages, yoga, expensive candles and buying nice meals. Because what does self care mean to someone who is broke, struggling and burdened with hardships, right? The beautiful concept of self care is commercialized beyond imagination.
So, here are a few realistic self care tips for us broke people:
- Call a friend. Preferably a friend you haven’t spoken to from a long time. Talk about the fun times you had together. It actually makes you feel good.
- Take a walk outside. Feel the warmth of the sun on your face. Or the feel of the breeze flowing around you. Whatever works.
- Delete any apps that you haven’t used for more than a week. Decluttering your phone is just as important as decluttering your desk.
- Declutter your desk while you’re at it.
- Find a sacred spot; a view you love or a place that makes you feel greatly alive. Visit it as often as possible.
- Go to the beach and wiggle your toes in the sand.
- Re-read your favorite novel.
- Listen to uplifting music; something that you can sing out loud and swing your hips to.
- Since it’s finally sweater weather (yaaayyyyy!!), wear your comfiest hoodie or cover yourself in your fluffy blanket and sip on coffee while reading a book.
- The last few months, I’ve been loving coloring books. Maybe a little silly, but so awesome. Seriously, give it a try.
Look, not every one of these self care ideas will be your cup of tea.
They won’t all be the perfect antidote to what you’re going through. But I hope that this is enough inspiration to get you started. What I want you to know most is that you have the power to claim self care as your ishh. The inspiration here is just a starting point. There is no stopping once you start.
You look great.
You look great in your glasses. You look great with your braces. You look great with your scars. You look great with your bruises. You look great with your birthmarks and moles. You look great even with your acne. You look great with that gap between your teeth. You look great if you’re thin. You look great if you are plump. You look great if you’re tall. You look great if you’re short. You look great with your tresses done. You look great with your hair pulled back.
You look great.
You look spectacular.
You look fabulous.
You look stunning.
You label me. Why? What goes on in your mind before you do? Do you just look at me from top to bottom and label me accordingly? Or do you label me according to my personality? And again, why?
I wear specs? I must be a nerd. I always cover myself up? I must be a prude. I keep my hair short? I must be a lesbian. I like converse? I must be a tomboy. I am fat? I must not be knowing when to stop eating.
These lables are about my appearance. And oh, how did I forget the lables you put because of my behaviour!?
I talk too less? I don’t have a opinion of my own. I hang out with boys? I am a slut. I don’t date? I am unsure about my sexuality. I drink and smoke? I’m asking for attention. I laugh too much? I’m an airhead. I feel too much? I have a heavy baggage.
Why? Why can’t I wear specs because it’s hereditary? Why can’t I cover myself up because I like it that way? Why can’t I keep my hair short because long hair is a hassle for me? Why can’t I like converse because it’s comfortable? Why can’t I be fat because it’s in my genes?
Why can’t talking less mean that I’m an introvert? Why can’t I hang out with boys because it’s less drama? Why can’t I be dateless because I haven’t found the right one? Why can’t I drink and smoke because I want to? Why can’t I laugh if it makes me happy? Why can’t I be emotional if that’s what I want?
Why? Why do you have to label me for everything that I do or say. I am free to choose what I wear, where I go, what I do, who I date, what I like and who I hang out with, without having you judge me and label me.
So don’t. Just leave me alone. Don’t label me. I am not just what you label me as. I am much more than that. I am strongly opinionated, free spirited with a kind heart and a beautiful soul. I’m a wonderful person and if someone doesn’t understand this, it’s their problem. You are not an example for me to follow. You are a completely different person than me. I have my own individual personality. I don’t have to love what you love and you don’t have to label me for not being more like you. I am my own person and I refuse to adhere to your rules and standards as to how I should behave.
A labelled teenager.
Psychologists believe that this is the most powerful question you can ever ask yourself. And what’s suprising is that there’s always a plausible answer to this question. People who ask this sort of question typically strugge with their identity or self-worth and are searching for an affirmative answer and are mostly teenagers going through identity crisis. The irony is that the more you seek to find an answer to who you are, the more fragile you are likely to feel about yourself. The importance should not be on discovering who you are but on allowing or facilitating our true self to shine through.
How different would life be if rather than asking who am I, we asked how we’d like to be and actually did something about it?
Finding it hard to understand what I mean? Here’s an example most psychologists use when explaining this.
Imagine that you’ve been in prison for twenty years, put there since the age of eighteen. You literally have no adult life experience outside of the prison. Your sense of self is tragically limited. You might ask yourself, “Who am I? This would likely provoke a fragile sense of self that paradoxically might leave you most apprehensive about your imminent release. You’d hardly choose to remain imprisoned until you could find your identity. You’d have to permit that new sense of self to flow from your new experiences.
The main reason I’m writing this post is for you to understand that it isn’t important to find out who you are. That question will only make you feel inadequate and leave you stuck in a pit.
Instead, live your life meaningfully, gain new experiences, have a better bond with people, find new hobbies, follow your dreams and live your passion. I cannot stress enough on how important it is to do what you love. Your sense of self-worth should come from how happy you are with what you do and not from the way you look, the clothes you wear or the things you own.
Because honestly, it’s not what you have that makes you who you are. Rather, it’s what you do and how you live your life.