Self-care generally means taking time to do things for yourself that will benefit your wellbeing. In the last few years the idea seems to have grown in popularity and its application has widened.
Sometimes self-care is now used to encourage scheduling guilt-free fun, self-serving activities: yoga, facials, spa days, shopping, treating yourself with expensive meals, etc. Other times it describes more of an emotional self-care, such as avoiding violent news coverage, avoiding the comments sections online, or taking a break from hard societal work.
But when you have a chronic illness, self-care looks pretty different. And in the clinical world it has long meant something more along the lines of simply maintaining your health on your own. It can be frustrating or annoying to hear people talk about self-care as extravagance or indulgence rather than necessity. Beth Gordon expressed that well in an essay for The Mighty:
It needs addressing that [self-care]’s not all pampering sessions and facemasks, fluffy blankets and positive quotes. Sometimes self-care is opening the curtains you’ve had shut for a month, letting some light in. Sometimes it’s brushing your hair for the first time in weeks, brushing your teeth, having a bath or shower. … Being kind to ourselves is the first step in being kind to others.
For those living with chronic illness, these basic tasks of daily life can be hard or impossible. So finding ways to work them into your day more easily or form realistic goals around them is essential to maintaining good health.
Classic #boringselfcare . . . . #edfam #edfamiliy #therapy #mentalhealth #mentalillness #drawing #art #illustration #psychosis #ocd #depression #anxiety #gad #bpd #selfharrm #borderlinepersonalitydisorder #eatingdisorder #promarker #art #illustration #chroncillness #spoonie #spoonies #spooniesunite #lgbt #lgbtq #lgbtqai #cry
The Mighty has challenged the chronic illness community to focus on building these habits into everyday routines this month with its Boring Self-Care Challenge. The concept came from an illustration series from Hannah Daisy that you can learn about here. We wanted to join the effort by offering some ideas for getting involved.
For more related to self-care, check out:
Did you enjoy this story? Email us your comments and questions and let's keep the conversation going. We encourage you to engage with us and other readers by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Every person's journey is unique, and every perspective is valuable to us.