It was time to take action.


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Guide to Self-Care

Guide to Self-Care. Several years ago, unexpected events forced me to make significant changes in my life. These changes were not voluntary, but somehow I believed they would be beneficial for me. Moreover, I had limited options. During this transformative process, I was introduced, for the first time, to the concept of self-care. Initially, as a woman in her thirties, I thought I already understood the concept.

Guide to Self-CareHowever, as I delved deeper, I realized that I had no clue about it. My understanding of self-care merely involved avoiding hunger, dressing comfortably to stay healthy, consuming vitamin C, and occasionally purchasing gym memberships that I rarely used.

Initially, I harbored resentment toward my mother for not teaching me how to take care of myself. Yet, I soon realized that this anger served no purpose. The store was closed, and the opportunity for a refund was gone. It was imperative to learn to deal with the situation at hand. Once I realized that my happiness resided within my own hands and was my responsibility, I let go of complaints. It was time to take action.

That’s when things became truly intriguing. Once I moved past the initial stage of confrontation and acknowledgment, a phase of learning commenced. I began to explore what brings me joy, happiness, satisfaction, or relaxation. For instance, how do I take care of myself when I’m feeling sad? What do I do when I’m exhausted? How do I generally treat myself throughout the day?

How do I generally treat myself throughout the day?

Reflecting upon how I cope with sorrow, I discovered a few behavioral patterns that I hadn’t noticed before. Essentially, I would attempt to analyze, blame, and swiftly punish myself for what was causing my distress. Alternatively, when I didn’t know what to do, I would try to seek external substances to numb the inner turmoil and induce a sense of tranquility. These substances could range from alcohol to sugar and even sexual encounters. By indulging in these behaviors, I sought to escape from myself and sought solace in food, unhealthy relationships, and occasional movie outings.

You know, like when a child cries, and you don’t know what to do, but you offer them candy—it’s a temporary fix. However, everyone understands that while candy may temporarily stop the child from crying, it is not a panacea. Eventually, the child learns that they can only receive candy when they cry the most.

How do I generally treat myself throughout the day?So, what should I do? How does one truly care for themselves? As an avid learner, I instinctively surrounded myself with research topics, such as recommended readings and various psychiatric or psychological techniques. In due course, I realized that the answer I sought lay within me. I had to pause and ask myself, „What can I do for you if you’re upset?”

First and foremost, my life experiences have already taught me that there is no salvation in escapism or numbing emotions. That’s why I mentioned the importance of experiencing rather than fleeing this moment. If you’re feeling sorrow, that’s okay. This too shall pass. What hasn’t passed? Indeed, I have discovered that painful emotions tend to dissipate more easily when I accept them and refrain from escaping. In fact, the effort I used to exert in avoiding them can now be redirected towards self-healing.

What’s next?

What’s next? Let’s assess your needs. Perhaps a warm shower, a moment of rest, shedding tears, a cup of tea, silence, pausing and listening? Maybe you need to reach out to someone and express your love for them. When was the last time you did that? Don’t eat if you’re not hungry, avoid calls from people who drain your energy or toxicity, and give yourself some well-deserved rest. Acknowledge your sorrow and be kind to yourself.

At times, I envision myself as a little girl. What would I do if I had a sad, angry, or extremely tired girl beside me? I wouldn’t treat her harshly. So why should I treat myself any differently? If I witnessed a loved one feeling down, what would I say to them? I should extend the same compassion to myself. This is how one realizes that they often treat themselves more harshly than they treat others.


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