The Intricate Connection Between Self Care And Mental Health

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There are different types of mental health and different ways to practice self care ideas. These two women’s health concepts are intricately connected.

self care ideas

Something that I haven’t written very much, or enough, about is my mental health. For years after my kids were born, I tried to figure out what I needed to do to stay okay, which was to take care of myself. Very slowly and over many years, I created a life that respected my introversion and my porousness and one day, without consciously realizing the steps I had taken to get there, I was completely surrounded by good people, good books, good writing, good work, good yoga, and a whole lot of good quiet. And then, suddenly, this fall, I wasn’t anymore.

I had forgotten how life was before I surrounded myself with all of that goodness and that all of that purposeful self care was a must have, not a nice to have. I am working my way back to myself right now and I will write more about this soon-ish, but I really want to start telling this part of my story with something that happened yesterday. As most things do, this chapter will begin with someone else sharing theirs.

“Go,” my kids and my husband said, not unkindly. Over the last two weeks, I have found my way back to yoga classes, but going to the gym is not yet an engrained habit for me, and when my phone buzzed a calendar push my way—Go to yoga in ringtone form is a beautiful side effect of technology—I hesitated. But they all all saw my need to go and practically pushed me out the door. I was grateful.

As I was waiting for class to start, a young woman came and stood next to me. Her hands were empty and her eyes were searching the schedule, the studio, me, and I knew right away that she was new. Before I could introduce myself, questions bubbled out of her. What class is this? How does it work? Do I need my own mat? I could practically see bubbles blowing and popping between us just like my kids used to do for hours on end, facing each other with plastic wands gripped in tiny, pudgy fingers, on the snow-edged driveway, at spring’s first thaw.

“I’m new here,” she breathed as we sat down next to each other. I remember being her. My kids just old enough to leave at the day care, but maybe me still a too-new mom to believe that this was true. When I finally took myself away from the deeply entrenched touch and care required by young motherhood I, too, wanted to announce it to everyone. I’m free, notice me. I’m also new, don’t notice too much.

I saw and I felt and I noticed all of these heart-warming similarities between this young mom and the young mom who I used to be until she started talking about how this class was just for her. That she never does things for herself. And that self care in whatever form she can get it is something that she is so grateful for.

I was floored. Floored by her self awareness and her openness and her wisdom—none of this is easy when your kids are under two and your numbered sleep hours are as well.

And this is where our stories threaded. Mostly because she shared hers and also because I chose to not just listen to and to hear her, but to also allow her stream of consciousness to sink in and to use it as a refection of where I’m at, where I want to be, and the space in between.

I absolutely do not have any of this figured out, at all, but I do know this.

We don’t have to have it all figured out. This may be a myth, anyway.

Only goodness comes from telling our stories.

Even more goodness comes from truly listening to and taking in the stories that we are privileged to hear.

The vulnerability that comes with sharing our less than shiny selves and moments is equal parts scary and freeing and important.

The wisdom to let any of the above seep in is valuable.

Self care is the basis of anything else that we do.

And knowing ourselves well enough to understand what we need is a gift, ignoring this knowledge is dangerous, and using this knowing is everything.

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Comments

  1. Keeping that balance in life is such a difficult thing. We get wrapped up in the latest excitement or crisis or extended to-do list and suddenly, something (usually our free time or quiet time) has been pushed to the back burner and we begin to suffer as a result. Now I’m going to go read and relax. :)

  2. Perfectly expressed, Galit. Self-care is such an ebb and flow process for me, and you capture that perfectly here. I hope you find your way back to that filled with good and quiet place soon.