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Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

{ By Miranda Martin }

It’s cliche, but it’s true— you can’t pour from an empty cup. This week I found myself in the midst of a global pandemic (which has had us all on edge for over a year now), as well as dealing with a super sick pup, some familial stress, and some (good, but) intense career moves. All of this left me feeling drained, and before I knew it I was acting a little out of character; more snappy, less patient, etc.

So, what gives? Shouldn’t I gladly soldier-on, never complaining like so many of us are told to do? Not so, says I. Contrary to what society might have us believe (from a very young age, might I add— see ‘The Giving Tree’ as a primary example), we don’t owe anyone our time or energy, especially when we’re feeling empty. Of course we should help others and lift one another up when we have the time, capacity and resources, but in general two things ring true: self-care isn’t selfish, and you can’t pour from an empty cup, like I said before.

All that said, this is how I unwind to refill my cup, and make myself feel a little less “empty” on the worst days: 

  • Some of my favorite self-care things are small but mighty habits I’ve developed, especially during this work-from-home/pandemic period of time. Taking a quick jog or doing some kind of HIIT workout (online, of course) in between daily tasks and meetings has helped me become physically healthier during this time, but also mentally more attuned and at ease. Exercise releases endorphins, which in-turn help your brain create the “happy” chemicals, like dopamine. Exercise, whatever you’re able to do, is a great way to connect with your body for a few moments and tune-out of your own head (and into the physical world around you.) 
  • Another small habit I’ve developed is taking a few moments to put my headphones in and listen to a song I really love. I’ll go into my bedroom, or take a stroll, or just find any place to be alone, and then I turn on an album or an artist (or even a specific song I really, really love) for just a few minutes. I take this time to put the world away and just listen for a few moments, and it makes all the difference
  • Last but not least, remembering to do basic things like drink water and wash my face regularly throughout the day, and check in with friends and family (even via text) works wonders. Also, avoiding social media when I’m feeling maxed out, and a litany of other small lifestyle habits that help me get out of my own head. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.

So, how do you practice self-care? How do you wind-down after (or even during) a rough day, week, or month? Make sure you make time for it, friends.