Bubble baths and sheet masks. Target and Starbucks run. Glass of wine at the end of the day.
Who said this is self care?
Before coming to Adagio House, I was in a rather toxic work environment. Unsupported by coworkers, mentally and physically straining work, and a 2-hour commute each day. Self care was not a priority.
Entering into that job, I was coming off of a 6-month-long period of quarantine and unemployment.
I saw so much chaos going on in the world and in our country, with the spread of the pandemic and the senseless killings of African American men and women by police.
I felt exhausted, overwhelmed, and unable to see any end in sight.
I pushed friends and family away, unsure of how they would receive me openly and honestly sharing everything that was coming up with me emotionally.
So, like any other 20-something, I turned to social media for relief. In the beginning, I looked for any distraction.
I wanted anything to get my mind off of the reality of the world I was currently living in.
Unfortunately for me, almost everyone I was seeing was in the same boat.
They were also figuring out how to process all current events while also primarily following stay-at-home orders and being incredibly bored.
I did see one phrase in particular begin to pop up more frequently: self care.
So many “social media influencers” talked about how important self care was during this difficult time.
Many suggested self care through practicing regular exercise, cooking healthy meals, and using a 15-step skincare routine day and night.
While all of things are technically good and beneficial for any person, it didn’t seem like anyone truly cared about how to care for the mind: the most important form of self care.
So far in our generation (though we have been through so much, like 9/11, economic crisis, war overseas, just to name a few), we haven’t been faced with an illness that has overrun our country and our world.
How long will we be stuck inside? Is my sore throat COVID or just seasonal allergies? Will this pandemic ever come to an end?
One day after a pretty debilitating panic attack, I realized I needed help in my self care journey and began my search for a counselor.
It was a long process finding my therapist (a longer story for another time); but, within the first few minutes of the session, I was in tears.
I felt comfortable almost immediately, and I was encouraged being told that all of my questions and feelings were valid.
I found someone who recognized and valued how important it was for me (and honestly everyone) to have a 3rd party person.
And I found someone to share what was going on in my head and help me come up with solutions to create a clearer mental health space.
Today, let’s redefine self care.
Let’s listen to our minds and bodies when they need rest.
Let’s fuel our minds and bodies with the things that replenish and fulfill us.
Let’s enter into spaces with therapists or people we can trust and be truthful about what’s on our minds.
Let’s start putting our mental health first.
*The author of this article is not a mental health professional, just another 20-something on a mental health journey.
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