Self-care: mental health, not facemasks

Izzy Antilla, Staffer

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Depicting a series of arrows to represent how one way of self-care is making time for yourself, the image emphasizes time management as a method of self-care. Time management leaves more time to relax and focus on things that make the individual happy. Photo courtesy of lifeskillsresource.com.

Typically, self-care can be defined as doing a facemask, taking a bath or just not doing your work, which leads to the use of the term as an excuse to avoid responsibilities. But honestly, what is self-care supposed to represent: excuses or caring for yourself? 

 It’s not like I have some self-care routine that I abide by religiously, self-care for me focuses more on principles that I live by every day. I believe it’s your responsibility to yourself to strive to make decisions that are best for you and you only. It’s about not making decisions for the benefit of others; it’s about making decisions sometimes that are only for personal gain.    

 Another principle of what I believe to be self-care is making choices that aren’t detrimental to yourself, like doing drugs or skipping school. When bad decisions are made it doesn’t help the person in the present or the person in the future.  

 Self-care also includes looking out for your mental health. If you do not properly tend to your needs and let others know you that you need help, you aren’t caring for yourself.    

Even though typical depictions of self-care can be fun, it’s not like they are doing anything but serving as a temporary fix to problems. Seeing posts reading “forget your homework and do self-care” really emphasizes the fact that fake self-care pushes deadlines and makes people more stressed in the future.   

By making decisions that will not just benefit the current you but the future you as well, you are caring for yourself in more ways than one and addressing problems head-on. While it’s essential to have time for yourself and hobbies, it’s also important to have long-lasting solutions to problems, not temporary.    

 It’s not that all stereotypes of self-care are necessarily harmful, but that they aren’t accurate representations of what it means to care for yourself. Though they are fun and a way to relax, they aren’t what it means to care for yourself.   

 In the end, caring for yourself shouldn’t be a material or temporary fix, but principles of decision making, problem-solving and making time for yourself.