Self care is not selfish

Abby McCoy, Co-editor-in-chief

Sam Bartlett
Junior Abby McCoy speaks about what self care means to her.

Self care does not equal selfish.

In the process of writing this column, I received a text from my English 11 Honors Remind. Mrs. Jackson reminded students of what we did in class today and what work we needed to have complete for the following day. At the end she said, “Remember: you can’t do it all! Prioritize. Sleep > schoolwork. Schoolwork > phone scrolling. Be kind to yourself about what you can get done.”

Self care has looked a little different for me recently than it has in the past. Before, I was convinced that self care was all about facemasks, juice cleanses, bubble baths, removing yourself completely from social media, and treating yourself to chocolate. While all of that is fine and dandy, it’s not what defines self care to me. Self care is taking care of your mind, heart and body. It’s evaluating your physical, spiritual, emotional and social self. It’s deciding that instead of saying “yes,” you say “no” because that’s what is best for you. It’s performing a random act of kindness simply because you know in your heart that is what is good and right. It’s taking time to walk and smell the flowers. It’s giving yourself time to rest and reflect. It’s getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water and filling your body with what it needs to thrive. Rather than looking at self care as a materialistic measure, I’ve decided to look at it as a necessary measure. I am more than guilty of depriving myself of sleep just to achieve a task. While being driven is healthy, putting your mental and physical health at risk due to it, is not healthy.

We must take time each day to do something to take care of ourselves — rather that be taking a walk, time to unwind or spending time with a loved one. We’ve all heard some form of the quote that says we must take care of ourselves before we can take care of others, or we must love ourselves before we can love others. I believe this philosophy to be true. We can not give away pieces of ourselves to others without having a way to reward ourselves with pieces to keep just to ourselves. By identifying what fuels us, we can fuel the world around us. Without self care, we cannot efficiently share our talents and gifts with the world.

Self care is an attitude. It’s understanding what is good for you, and what is not. I’ve recently made a goal for myself to focus on achieving a growth mindset — daily I must make some form of progress. This doesn’t mean checking every single thing off my to-do list, it means making daily strides towards growing into the person I inspire to be. You and I, we can’t do it all. It’s just that simple. Instead of overthinking and overwhelming, let’s grow in understanding of each other and ourselves.

Write down what makes you happy, what makes you sad, what makes you anxious and what makes you angry. Be aware of your emotions. Acknowledge them. It is OK to cry. Life can get messy and stressful. Stress is OK, letting it consume us is not. We are all fighting our own battles. Everyone has a story to tell.

I encourage you to please be kind to others, but also to be kind to yourself.

Self care does not equal selfish.