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Practicing Self-Care Looks Different for Everyone

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Self-care is not always enjoying what you hold dear — frequently we are reminded to prioritize indulging in adventurous hobbies to fulfill our own care responsibilities. These moments hold great value and can certainly be a form of self-care, however, the grandiosity of these actions is not what deems them worthy of such categorization. I often find in discussion, many individuals with a variety of chronic health conditions feel they’ve “failed” at self-care or don’t know how to “do it right.”

This is problematic as it lends to having been told or made to feel that they do not “adequately” care for themselves based on a subjectively defined concept of what embodies engaging in self-care. Many possible acts are not feasible for all, therefore, it’s critical to keep in mind even when seeing how others around you care for themselves that one person’s days-long hike does not negate the value of another’s brief walk around a pond.

Caring for oneself comes with experience of either immediate nourishment or delayed gratification from your actions. The first, tends to connect with a daily routine to support your overall wellbeing through a variety activities including but not limited to: eating nutritious meals (and treats), taking your medications, maintaining your hygiene, feeling all emotions that arise, allowing yourself to rest or trying to gain adequate sleep. Many of these are done with the hope of reward with optimal functioning, however, regardless of how much you adhere to your routine — your functionality or endurance may still waiver in response to stress, poor sleep, flaring of your conditions or an uncertain cause, but it does not translate to an inability to care for yourself.

The awaited enjoyment can be made possible by our prior actions lending to your future ability to enjoy nature, exercise or socialize with good company. Whether you partake in large scale delights or your daily actions currently symbolize your necessities of your own care — it does not mean one person has been more successful at practicing “self-care.” It may be that one individual has pushed far beyond or tested their boundaries, whilst another is in tune with what takes precedence for their body. One may be graced with immense relief for a moment while others patiently await theirs.

Self-care is like building a home where you are grounded by your values giving you strength, walls are painted with dedication or aspirations, and the roof proactively guards what may otherwise succumb to a storm. Your care, just like the foundation of a house, is supporting your-self.

Image via contributor

Originally published: February 20, 2021
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