What is Self Care?

I mean obviously, it’s taking care of oneself.

And you’d be surprised at how many of us do NOT do that. But also, we do things that are self-care and we don’t even know it. To me, there are many different flavors of self-care, and I will use myself as an example of what I’ve done for such care!

Markers. I buy markers. I mean, I’d love to buy crayons and feel great (because I also smell them aggressively) but since I am much older than 6 yearsold, they do nothin’ for me. So enter: markers. And not just any markers….the kind that are locked in a clear, acrylic case and HAVE TO BE BROUGHT UP TO THE CASHIER BY A MANAGER bc I am totally the kind of person who’d lift an $8 marker (yup they’re $8 a piece). I mean, it’s no different than buying a designer eyeliner, come on… But how I do love to draw on my spare -haha, so spare- time. I figured I’d try out the Copic markers to see just what this buzz was about. And okay, they didn’t knock my socks off but I bought a basic pack and I felt better. I felt better bc I love to draw and this improved my interest. It made illustrating enjoyable for me. It comforted me.

Therapy. I’ve gone to therapy before for a myriad of reasons. Currently, it’s important to check in with one monthly bc of the nature of my work. I literally “do” mental health from 8am to 9pm, about 7 days a week. I’m not pushing 80 hours a week, not even close - but every little attention I give to work (like this blog) or my free lance writing gig, or to the numerous platforms I am on, adds up. So, I seek guidance to check in, refresh, clarify and recharge. It’s like going to the gym but for my mental fitness. **Ethically: Therapists should see one to make sure they are good to go when treating others. What kind of therapist would I be if I didn’t have all my mental s*** together? Not a very good one.**

Finding new hobbies. I have a problem with this at times bc I sincerely love life and love doing many things. However, there are only a handful of things I consider “hobbies or areas of interest”. And man, are they unrelated in the weirdest way!

I’m a huge horror and psychological-thriller film fan, particularly films dating back to the 1920s til now.

I love reading literature on…mental health….okay that was zzzz

I enjoy gardening bc I refuse to pay for tomatoes, herbs and cucumbers. With an iron thumb!

I LOVE to cook. Baking is great too but cooking is just different and so therapeutic for me. I was around my mom who cooked a lot and watching her was satisfying so I am happy to cook for my daughter!

Drawing, as mentioned before.

I still want to join a local foraging group.

I still want to join a local gemology group (I love rocks and minerals).

I am interested in Botany and Typography.

I want to start a collection of butterflies but I’m afraid my daughter will think it’s barbaric.

So as you can see, starting new stuff is so fun and interesting. It enhances your life, and enriches the quality of it. Starting new things is amazing for your brain too!!!

Nails/Hair/Skin. To many women and men, taking care of our physical appearances is just as important. It’s like the sprinkles of hygiene. Anyone can brush their hair, shower (I hope) but that extra step of a massage, a reiki treatment, a hair treatment, a nice shave for a man, nails done on either person….these are things that yield pleasurable results and is a part of self care. It’s time for us to have a service and enjoy it.

Visiting with friends. Seeing those who truly love and support you is needed. Not family, no. Your friends. They’re relationships that need care too and seeing these people is healthy and needed! It’s hard to make plans when you’re raising small children, in between jobs, working a lot, stranded in a blizzard…but even checking in with each other is a good thing. Keeping contact with another human being is taking care of your self in that it fosters intellectual and interpersonal growth, not to mention solidifying the already close bond.

Crying. Yikes. Bet you didn’t think this was something joyous. Welp, crying is cathartic. Crying is needed. Crying is very much prayers that need to be released. Crying is wet and messy and tissues are needed but think about it - after a good heaving session, it can feel exhausting but thorough. Sitting with the emotions, the thinking, the energy or lack thereof, the reality, the present….it’s all good stuff. Get it all out. (Ever try holding a burp in, or…well ya know…the other burp? You got yourself a stomachache don’t you?) Don’t hold those tears in. Get that (and the burps) out! You’re taking care of yourself in allowing yourself to react that way.

Sleep. Enough said.

Eating nutritious and delicious food. I have been guilty of ordering many things that are bad for me due to mood, schedule and cravings. But when I eat something good for myself, I feel emotionally good and physically good. I tend to do that more than the bad - but very simply, when we eat bad stuff, it isn’t good for our bodies. It took me a while to buckle down and commit to organic and home grown foods, in addition to frozen and some other foods that I love (I ain’t giving up cream cheese, nope). But if you keep at it and incorporate the good stuff in more than the bad stuff, you’re taking care of yourself wonderfully.


Saying. No. This is the simplest yet hardest way to taking care of ourselves bc it deals with boundaries, expectations and disappointments. I’ve said no to so many people many, many times and it’s not the easiest thing to do. I’ve said no to people who can’t take no for an answer, I’ve said no to people who never say no themselves and I’ve said no to people who still don’t. get. the. word. no. My intention is not to be a jerk - but to PRESERVE MY ENERGY and SET MY PERSONAL BOUNDARIES of doing too much, with certain people, at certain times, when I can’t. I say no bc I can and bc I want to. If I say yes out of obligation I know for a fact it will not sit well with me and I will be a Miserable Mona until I get out of it. You see, I was not being honest with myself. I let myself down in saying “yes” when I didn’t want to just to please another pushy person. So the next time you have a gut instinct to say no, no thanks, another time, maybe next week, it’s not my thing, sorry I can’t…SAY IT. It’s not like you’re setting someone’s house on fire.


Nichole CavallaroComment