Sometimes the Holiday Cheer has a tendency to make me feel all of the feels. So I’ll blame that for my desire to be all vulnerable with you right now.
But I thought I would share with you a very personal account of why self-care is so important in hopes that you can relate and add it to your “why” of your own self-care journey.
So here we go. A lot of people already know this about me, but others are quite surprised to know that I have depression. It was pretty severe when I was in High School. In fact, it was a big part of my life for about seven years.
I went on and off of medication. I went to all sorts of therapies. I went back and forth in my own head about what was going on with me, and ultimately I accepted a life of always feeling this underlying sadness. “This is who I am,” I thought. “This is how it will always be.”
And so I carried on as a mostly functional human, until I started having panic attacks. I usually just slept through my funks, but when anxiety hit, that was a whole different beast. By this time I was around 21 years old. That anxiety rocked me so badly that I couldn’t function. And it ruined some things that were very important to me at the time, but that’s a story for another day.
The bottom line was that I felt completely broken. Losing things I loved had finally humbled me enough to accept that something had to seriously change, and it had to be more than medication and therapy.
I don’t think medication is evil, and therapy can be really amazing, but those things didn’t completely heal me on a deeper level. They played an important part in getting me to a neutral and healthier headspace to where I could then do the hard work of healing.
Things really started to shift when I truly started to care for myself. I started exercising regularly. I used VERY beginner level yoga and mediation to calm my mind (and still do, actually.) I started to learn about food and cooking and how it influenced my emotions.
I read books and articles that taught me about all of the different aspects of life that can influence your mental and emotional health. Those helped me realize that I wasn’t a flawed and broken human. There were so many things influencing how I felt that I didn’t even realize.
I went to massage school, which ended up being incredibly healing. Learning how the body works is so empowering and motivating. It also taught me that if I truly wanted to heal others, I had to heal myself, as well. That is something I still carry with me.
Eventually, with years of hard work and guidance, I was able to get off of medication and that underlying sadness feeling faded away. I will note that I went off of medication with the mindset that I would always be open to going back on it. It’s a tool that I can use if I need to, not a defeating pill that damages my self-worth.
These days, I hardly think about my depression, though it is something I am always keeping in check. I have done so much personal healing and have my self-care systems in place that I’m pretty good. But when my self-care lacks, those doom and gloom feelings start creeping back in like an old, unwanted friend.
In more severe cases, (season changes, time of the month, tragedies, etc.), those feelings can pound on my door despite my regular self-care practice. But in those times I slow down, tune in, up my self-care game with the tools I’ve learned, and it works itself out.
To me, self-care is more than just a bubble bath and a massage, though those things are wonderful. It’s a way of survival. An absolute need it if I’m going to be the person I want to be in the world.
And all of that, dear reader, is why I care so much about self-care. It’s why I’m revolving my whole career and life around it. What I deliver to you each week are simple, yet profound things that can change your life. They’ve changed mine.
I believe that taking care of yourself is how we change the world we live in. The happier and healthier you are, the better you are at everything you do. The more you heal, the more you will help others heal.
In addition to my own story, I have lost friends and loved ones to disease and suicide. Most of the clients that come to me are coming trying to heal a body pain caused by a lifetime of poor habits and lack of self-care.
Self-care is a big deal, and it works. It is more effective over time than any quick fix pill or diet trend. Taking care of yourself on a daily basis is the ultimate therapy. Make time for it. Have fun with it. Do the hard work. It’s so, so worth it.