This post is part of a series of reflections on the recent events on campus. If you have anything that you would like to contribute, please feel free to reach out to us at staff[at]wesleying[dot]org.
In the past two weeks, we have heard many, many calls for some form of “self-care.” Usually these are the kinds of things that I ignore, since they too often rub me the wrong way. It’s taken me an entire week to work up the nerve to write this. Even as I write this, I’m still not sure how to approach the topic, both generally and through the lens of my own slow quest to take better care of myself. It’s taken me most of my teen and adult life to get to a point of acknowledging that I take really shitty care both of my corporeal vessel and my.. soul, or whatever.
Just as we should be kind and respectful of people around us, we should also try, to the best of our abilities, to be kind to ourselves. We should give both our bodies and our minds the same kind of compassion we would give to the people we love. But efforts to practice self-care are so often intertwined with the struggle against a number of factors outside of our control, and self-care itself is a very personal and very relative thing. I’m still trying to figure out a good way to practice self-care in a manageable way, a way that doesn’t add to my stress, a way that makes me feel less empty.
Rhetoric about self-care without acknowledging such variables places nearly all of the responsibility for ‘getting help’ on people who might not have much of an opportunity to be kind to themselves. It’s especially hard when the assumed first step of self-care is seeing someone at CAPS — although I’ve found them helpful, students often have to wait at least a week for an appointment if they have the time for a visit at all. Likewise, it’s difficult to speak broadly to any group of people about self-care without making it seem like outside factors aren’t important, or like self-care only takes one form.