With the second lockdown having come about in Ontario, it has definitely taken a toll on my mental well-being. This year, I started therapy again after a two-year hiatus. The stress of navigating through online schooling, the process of applying for graduate studies, and trying to balance everything during a global pandemic, has turned my world upside down. Starting therapy was the one decision I felt like I had to do as an act of self-care. The world has become a little overwhelming at times and it was needed now, more than ever, the support from therapy. Although I have taken this step, as a way to take care of myself, sometimes engaging in other self-care practices feels impossible. We are so often inundated with the constant need to look after ourselves and engage in positive behaviours always. For me, engaging in these positive behaviours is often the last thing I want to do. I don’t always want to do things like wake up early, take a bubble bath and eat healthy. Self-care is no longer a relief, it is instead turned into another overwhelming list of tasks to do and can feel even more overwhelming. Often, I want to engage in behaviours like sleeping until noon, eating butter noodles, and watching every movie in the Twilight Series back to back. However, these behaviours, which are positive in my eyes, are seen as unproductive and not healthy behaviours.
As I mentioned above, I feel like the information on self-care that are so often pushed is engaging in positive healthy behaviours, but I feel as though engaging in so-called “negative” behaviours can be a form of self-care too. It’s important to remember that when trying to meet a certain standard of “self-care” that feels impossible, it’s okay to engage in “unhealthy” behaviours if that feels less overwhelming. Self-care isn’t the same for everyone, and it’s important not to get down on yourself when it feels like your version of self-care isn't healthy. When we are already overwhelmed with the stress of a pandemic, take some time to do things you actually enjoy, like bingeing your favourite TV show or eating the most unhealthy food you want. This is just another way to love and take care of yourself and your needs and it doesn’t have to meet the standard of self-care set by the internet.