Posts Tagged: eating disorders

Step Outside Box for Self Care

braid

Self-care is a buzzword in the field of mental health and it’s time to question what it means.

Typically self-care seems to mean being alone, reading, taking a bath, listening to music and possibly having a beauty treatment. This ME time is useful when you’re a busy working mom or law student. But a rigid version of “me” time doesn’t speak to most people fighting with loneliness, depression, anxiety.

Many forms of illness circle the brain. The truth is this: women thrive on connection. Even misery loves company, perhaps “miserable company,” but someone bearing witness. Even introverts thrive on it just not on small talk, but on deep essential core connection. As Jean Baker Miller wrote from The Stone Center, many years ago, “We need ‘zest.’”

When we talk about self-care, let’s broaden our definitions and recommendations. A weekend in the sun. A day volunteering. A group yoga class. Reading aloud at a library hour. At a week-long retreat I supposedly filled to the mindful brim with relaxation; instead I heard my brain chattering like teeth in the cold. The only time it stopped was when someone absently stroked my hair, someone with whom I’d talked about feminist issues in third-world countries.

All the yoga, the sharing, the food and light were nothing compared to that unsolicited gesture.