Self care. These two words have become synonymous with massages, vacation, and any number of expensive luxuries. And I get it! 2017 was a tough year, and 2018 promises to be no picnic. It’s become a truism to say that you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. However, I want us to get back to the deeply political roots of self care.
Self care began in the doctor’s office. As medical practitioners struggled for vocabulary to inspire patients to take care of themselves, particularly ones in high-stress professions, the concept of “taking good care of yourself to help you take care of others” became prevalent. This idea was increasingly adopted by activists to begin to articulate a radical political idea – that the bodies of the marginalized were worthy of love, respect and autonomy.
This is the deeply transformative root of self care. For those who are marginalized by society – women, trans folks, queer folks, people of colour and the disabled – to take back authority over yourself from a prejudiced system is an ultimate act of empowerment.
For many of our customers, we hear again and again that choosing Lunapads is an act of self care – choosing products that help them feel good about their bodies and redefining their relationship with their periods as a natural part of their lives. It’s empowering to take control of your period – your body, your choice.
So, let’s sing the praises and practices of boring self care. Of eating your vegetables. Of taking walks. Of doing what makes you feel alive even when you’re up to your neck in the challenges of life. It’s not always easy, but it is deeply necessary.
Figure Out What Helps You Relax
In my opinion, the number one thing that can improve your life is finding a reliable way to unwind. Many people like yoga and meditation, and with good reason, since they’ve been proven effective again and again. However, if you like singing in a choir, or crafting, or pretending to be a Jedi – these are all as legitimate as getting your om on. If Sun Salutations don’t bring you bliss, you don’t need to do them.
Once you’ve found out what your relaxation strategy is, make time to do it. Seems obvious, but when you’re dealing with a million things, it’s easily forgotten. Pull up your calendar and schedule one session of awesome you time right now.
Start With What Is Doable
You don’t need to change everything at once. Pick one small habit to start off with, and commit to doing it every day for a week. It could be having a big glass of water once you get to work, flossing every night before bed, or setting a reminder on your phone to take your medicine every morning.
Even doing that one small thing will have a measurable improvement on your life, and you’ll be able to take the next step easily.
Drink Water and Eat Your Vegetables
I mean, obviously.
Call In The Professionals
So, here’s where it gets scary.
Go see the dentist. (I know.)
While you’re seeing the dentist, also make appointments to see any doctors, counselors, physiotherapists, accountants, lawyers and ophthalmologists you might also need to see.
This is a hard lesson I learned in my twenties – not dealing with a problem doesn’t make it magically go away. (I’m a slow learner.) If you have a toothache or you don’t know how to do your taxes, find the expert who can help you. I’m not saying that the process won’t be painful – the world is often a difficult place – but problems that go unaddressed only get bigger and more unmanageable.
I invite you to take that time to embrace boring self-care – to get your eyes checked, clean out your fridge and embrace changes that are about making sure you’re okay. It’s not selfish. It’s empowering you to do more and change more about the world around you than you could possibly imagine.
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