In recent years, “self-care” has been a buzzword or phrase that is plastered just about everywhere! Literally, every other Facebook article, blog post, and self-help video is about the importance of self-care. These articles tell us the hows, whys, and whats of self-care that are supposed to help us to lead happier, less stressful lives. I totally get it; do a couple face masks, get a massage, take a weekend getaway, polish your nails, curl up with a glass of wine and a good book whilst taking a night off from your usual work.
Administrators always love to remind stressed, overworked, overwhelmed, teachers to “do something you enjoy” or “spend time with family” during the tough times throughout the school year. I mean after all, bosses have to say encouraging things to keep their employees and acknowledge their pain, right? However, what I’m not quite buying is the whole “self-care yourself through the toxic situation” mindset especially when the to-do list feels absolutely never-ending.
I don’t have a problem with the actual act of being kind to yourself. We should be gentle with ourselves, love ourselves, and most importantly treat ourselves well. We only get one mind and one vessel. It is soooo important to heal ourselves from our every day emotional labor and physical work. There is space for this kind of self-care. Self-care is important and that means something different to everyone. I can’t deny any of that. In fact, I believe all of that.
Here is where the issue lies. The issue lies in settling for a life you don’t want and coping with your choices by practicing “self-care”. If you continue to stay in toxic situations and forcing yourself to be content by going to a weekly yoga class or treating yourself to a massage, you are making a huge mistake. I don’t hate self-care by itself. But, it is absolutely gut-wrenching that people use self care to cope with their lives.
Self-care is not a band-aid for your toxic flesh wound of a relationship, job, or family issue. Self-care is not a remedy for having the life sucked out of you at a job you hate, being unhappy with someone who you have settled for, or continuing to have a relationship with a family member who turns your life upside down every time you speak. Self-care is not any of those things and self-care doesn’t
1. solve issues that exist in your life or
2. breathe life into dead situations that make your life less enjoyable.
Sometimes, self-care isn’t a facial, manicure, or binge watching a show on Netflix. Sometimes self-care actually presents an inconvenience to others and sometimes it makes others uncomfortable. Sometimes, it makes you unavailable for a while. Sometimes self-care is ceasing to feed dead situations. Sometimes self-care is travel.
Sometimes, self-care is walking away.