A Different Way of Thinking about Self-Care

Self-care is tough, isn’t it? What even is self-care? If you search “self-care,” on YouTube, you’ll see several videos that all look strangely similar. Some will have bath bombs in the thumbnail and others will have some sort of product meant to help you. Maybe these videos are useful and maybe some of their products do work, but I don’t think you should have to buy a bath bomb or new skin care products to feel better. If bath bombs are your thing, then by all means continue buying them, but if they’re not, don’t worry. You don’t actually need them to relax.

I actually don’t know what you need to relax. This is something you will find out on your own as you work towards finding ways to take care of yourself. Although I don’t have anything specific to hand you, I would like to share something I learned recently in my Asian Religions class. We are currently learning about Buddhism and we went over this short story titled, “The Arrow,” by Sallatha Sutta. It talks about how one engages feelings and how one should react to them. The following are some of my notes from class:

Keep in mind that everything is fleeting. Whatever is happening will pass. Recognize that it fluctuates. Establish a relationship with feelings. You can see them come and go, while recognizing that they don’t have to squish you. Recognize that you can move through the feelings. Observe how the feelings emerge, how they form, and how they disappear.

I am by no means well-versed on this idea of self-care. I don’t sleep enough, and I can forget to eat sometimes, but I think remembering that most things are fleeting is a good place to start. Maybe self-care is less about what you can buy to make you feel better, and more about what you can do to deal with your feelings in a healthy way. Observe how the feelings emerge, how they form, and how they disappear. I too am still learning how to be gentle with myself, but maybe if we think of how we engage with our feelings in this way, we’ll get better at managing them and as a result we’ll learn how to better take care of ourselves.

And if all else fails, you can always eat ice cream. I heard it’s good.