Seeking Solace

Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s necessary

More stories from Julia Van Allen

Seeking Solace
May 13, 2019

When I think of self-care as a concept, I tend to get stuck in a set pattern of thinking. Self-care, according to this thought process, needs to be helpful for mind, body and soul.

Now, to me, this seems difficult.

I know I think it’s difficult to have a self-care routine that checks off all of these boxes while still fitting in to daily life, with all of its stresses and time crunches.

All too often, I view taking the time out of a busy day for self-care as a waste of time that I could use being productive. When I’m in a bad place mentally, I see self-care as selfish.

This is where I get stuck.

I don’t often prioritize self-care or see it as an important part of my daily routine.

I realize that taking the time to check in with myself isn’t a selfish waste of time. I know that if I do engage in a set self-care routine, one that I’m actually devoted to making part of my daily routine, I’ll be happier and healthier in the long run.

Self-care, in my super professional not at all expert opinion, is an ongoing practice.

Some activities that I find helpful in my own self-care practice include making sure I’m well hydrated, involving movement in my daily life and devoting time to write.

So hydration is important, right? The human body is approximately 60% water, so keeping the body hydrated should be at the top of everyone’s to-do list.

I make sure I stay hydrated by carrying around a reusable water bottle with me wherever I go. I challenge myself to finish the bottle a few times a day.

As far as movement goes, when I’m really stressed out I like to do some serious cardio. Although, ever since the foot break of ‘17, I can’t run without some pain, I make up for this by making use of an elliptical or going to a dance class.

I also love doing meditative yoga to center myself and calm my body down. Yoga at the end of a long day is one of my favorite things.

Now, as a person who spends a fair portion of my weeks slaving away at a computer on articles or essays for class, I find that when I’m really burnt out I find it difficult to be motivated to write things that aren’t immediately important.

The half-finished novel that’s wasting away in the documents folder of my laptop is just one example of how I have difficulty finding the motivation to work on things that are existentially important — just not immediately important.

This is why writing is going to be a major part of my new self-care routine. I love writing, so why can’t I find the joy in it when it feels like everything else is so important?

I’m not going to pretend that focusing on these seemingly small things will fix absolutely everything when I’m in a sour mood. There are times that I just want to curl up under a fuzzy blanket and hide from the world, and that’s okay.

My goals moving forward include streamlining and enforcing my self-care routine, making it an integral part of my life and never pushing it off when I’m starting to feel stressed. I’m not going to pretend that I’m going to be perfect on this journey.

No one is perfect in everything they do. We shouldn’t expect perfection when humans are inherently fallible. All we can expect is progress and effort in the long run.

Keep moving forward, Blugolds, we’re on the home stretch now!

Van Allen can be reached at [email protected].