Self-Care Is Not Easy
When I’m sick, I don’t hesitate to reclaim as much of my time and energy as I can. It’s an automatic thing to prioritize my health over any other demands. Self-care should always be so effortless. It’s not that way for everyone.
For me, the everyday kind of self-care is like a muscle that that only gets stronger with consistent use–a type of resolve obtained only with lots of practice. It is a conscious exercise, not an automatic one, in choosing me over someone else.
Self-Care Takes Practice
You don’t get much more conscious of whom you are choosing and why when you decide to cut off all your hair. Trust. I was hyper-aware of the prevailing wisdom, the tacit and outright disapproval. The choice was in stark relief: listen to the naysaying or listen to my heart. Cheesy but crucial.
I recall that big decision often when I need to remember what self-care looks like and feels like. Because in the not-so-starkly contrasted, little decisions made every day, the barrage of life can make it hard to hear what my body is telling me let alone listen to it. It can be hard see that I always have a choice when things appear to go on as they always have been.
So it takes practice to choose not to dismiss what I feel, to choose rejecting any impulse to the contrary, to choose listening carefully to my own needs, to choose to make a space for them, and to choose to deny permission for others to claim that space for themselves.
Self-Care is Resistance
That last choice is important, because self-care is often not an unimpeded practice. It is an exercise not without opposing forces.
We are socialized to believe serious investments in appearance are vain, obsessive. Socialized to think centering ourselves necessarily means we are self-centered. Socialized to always think of others first and put ourselves dead last again and again.
Under these and many more forces, we can get lax, our resolve weakens, and out of practice an unkind word or a subtle guilt trip is enough to make us fumble when it counts.
Like wearing a hat over a fresh, perfectly cute twistout because one person asked, “What did you DO to your hair?!”
As an ISFJ, self-care does not come to me easily, but it starts with recognizing I always have choices, and one of those choices is me. My mental health is a valid priority, and my overall well-being is a worthy goal.
New Growth is a series on how I got to self-care through hair. I’m talking about going natural, and I’m talking about dealing with depression. Neither journey is easy. So, don’t forget to like, share this with anyone whom you think needs it, and subscribe. You can also follow me on my other platforms via the links in the sidebar.