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On self-care

Because sometimes healing yourself comes slowly

by E.R. Pulgar

Healing is difficult.

You wake up. You forget to take your pills. Sometimes, for days, you forget to take baths. There are days where you forget to feed yourself. There are days where you wish you could forget to wake up. It's at this point that you begin to ask yourself if you're depressed. You start to wonder if it's even worth it at all to get out of bed, to brush your teeth, to comb your hair, to take your vitamin B-12s. As the days go by, and especially if you're in an urban area, taking care of yourself can prove incredibly difficult.

According to a national survey of 5,000 households by ComPsych, only 33% of those surveyed were satisfied with their workload. When people are this burned out, there's no pleasure for the things you used to rely on for those shots of dopamine to the brain. There's only the groggy, inexhaustible exhaustion that trails you in every aspect of your life. This is the crucial stage when you, unfortunately, hit rock bottom. This is the crucial stage where, perhaps out of desperation, you start to cling to the little things that come to form the much bigger solution of taking care of yourself. There's a reason why the saying "there's nowhere to go but up" exists once you think you're in the depths of it.

It's important, at this point of the process of healing, to think about what exactly self-care is. Self-care need not be a trip to the Bahamas, a mint-lavender facial that will break the bank. Self-care doesn't have to be putting yourself in a situation you'll regret later, whether emotionally or financially, and everyone's definition is different. The beauty is that, no matter your individual definition, it's about what's most important: you. If you analyze what you like to do, and give close attention to these things, taking care of yourself will come easily no matter how difficult it might feel.

It's as simple as buying your favorite kind of wine and going home to a quiet evening with your bathtub and a book. It's as simple as sitting for a few minutes in your favorite park and just breathing. It's as simple as going out by yourself, to a club or a museum or a store where the smells take you somewhere. It's as simple as attempting to smile. It's as simple as documenting little things every day that make you happy.

It's as difficult as convincing yourself that you are worth getting up for, worth getting your hair-brushed, worth looking presentable no matter how worthless you feel inside, worth taking a bath for, worth cleaning off the grime that's accrued from weeks in the void of it. It's about not listening to that deafening voice inside your head.

It's about trying, and sometimes trying is the most intense form of self-care.