I have come across an article that talks about self care that is cheap and easy. In the article, Clean your room, go for a walk, breathe. Self-care is cheap and easy. it shows how a little bit of self care can go a long way to improve your mood and well-being. It reads as a, get in touch with yourself, ground yourself in the moment and get in line with your feelings. Look at nature and take a walk. Savor the moments. Eat a good meal. Exercise. So light and breezy anyone can do it.
I heartily disagree.
The author talks about self-care and the things she picked up on during a rough patch. She talked about small mental exercises. I want to look at these points separately.
Cleaning your house is not self-care. That is being an adult. Maintaining your living space and washing your body are not self-care for a normal person. When you have someone who has a chronic illness, especially when you have dizzy spells or energy issues, then bathing would be a form of self-care because it would a task that requires a lot of effort. The author feels like she is trying to convince herself and the article seems to shift topics often. Real self-care, to quote a friend of mine with Lyme Disease, is:
Self-care for me is saving my money so that I can spend $250 on one hour of Skype with a natural doctor in Canada so that I could help my body recover from Lyme disease and lupus.
Self care for me is spending $100 a month to have someone come in and clean my bathrooms because I literally cannot physically clean my own bathrooms.
Self-care for me is actually going out and working that part-time job in that dress boutique so that I can be happier by encouraging other women to feel good. And in turn, I make a little bit of money so that I can save up to see the doctor and to have my bathrooms cleaned.
Self care for me is also the hard part of asking people to help me do things, because I can’t do them alone by myself. Or because I get overwhelmed in trying to do them by myself.
I believe that when you perpetuate the notion of self-care in a flippant, valley girl almost, way of “its so easy!” it hurts those who cannot do those basic things. I understand that this article is not directed to the people who suffer chronic/mental health issues, but it is dangerous to paint everyone with a broad brush. Making a stereotype of self-care is cheap and easy results in either people who these efforts don’t work and it becomes a bigger issue, or, if you just “did these 5 easy steps” you would have a better life. What happens when these steps fail and the judgment comes? I fear that path.
As to the second part of changing mental habits, I agree with the Psychologist in the article that when we don’t have good habits that they are replaced with bad ones. It is very easy to fall into bad habits with chronic illness. Trying to feel mentally positive when you are fighting each day to do basic things is difficult to an extreme. These changes can improve your outlook but do not changes the facts of what your body is going through.
This can also lead to a sense of looking healthy on the outside (“You are so positive and happy on the outside, you must be better”) but still be going through an immensely difficult time on the inside. People become less inclined to believe that you are actually sick. You are trying so hard to put on a face and not be the person that no one wants to be around due to your illness that it turns into a real issue when symptoms manifest themselves in a terrible way. This results in “I thought you were getting better?” or “You must be exaggerating/faking.”
I feel the dangers are real when self-care is perpetuated in such a simple fashion. Can small changes in outlooks help relieve some stress? Yes. Can everyone do such actions. No, they cannot. It is not cheap and easy to do self-care.
#hugaplushie my friends
-Dedicated to R.A.