Updated: May 19
The stress is real right now y'all. Between juggling moving out of the city, caring for a cat that's been under the weather, and getting used to the seemingly endless tasks involved in home ownership, I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed lately. My hormones have really been feeling it - I've had trouble sleeping, worse PMS, and more painful cramps - so I know I'm in need of some self-care right now. But the conversation around what exactly that entails strikes me as something that's often misleading.
Because to me, true self-care is often less about taking baths or lighting scented candles and more about putting in the hard work of making sure you're meeting your physical and emotional needs and setting yourself up for long-term success. It's about completing your responsibilities when you aren't feeling it so that you have healthy food in the fridge, or reminding yourself to take your supplements even when things are hectic, or getting real with yourself about it if a habit isn't healthy for you. There's nothing wrong with lighting a nice candle to cheer you up, but doing so probably won't help if what's really bothering you is the grocery shopping you've been procrastinating or the stubborn hormonal imbalances you know you need to address.
So this week, self-care looks like curling up on the couch with my recovering cat and watching the first Harry Potter movie, but it also involves tackling some moving tasks so that I'm not overwhelmed next week, and prioritizing some time for home cooking to help decrease PMS next month. It involves making time for writing because I feel my best when I'm creative, but it also requires being aware that stress can worsen my PMS and scheduling daily yoga to help me recharge. It looks like putting the new Halsey song on repeat and singing in my kitchen, but it also includes remaining mindful about my alcohol consumption because I used to binge drink to self-medicate for anxiety before my period.
When it comes to self-care, I think the relaxation and distraction pieces only work if you're also addressing - in whatever way is possible - the things that are upsetting you in the first place. So by all means, watch Harry, Ron, and Hermione take on a mountain troll for the 587th time if it'll make you feel better - I know it won't be the last time I do - but make sure that's not the only thing you do so that self-care really does help you take your power (and your hormones) back.