What Real Self-Care Looks Like (A List)

by previous editor Ko Bragg


Image Credit: Pinterest

May marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Month. There is nothing more important to us than knowing women around the world are taking care of themselves, as our needs often fall to the bottom of our massive to-do lists. Self-care can absolutely include face masks and bath bombs, but it also means taking care of your soul whether you’re religious or not. We want you to be okay even when the serums dissolve and the bath bubbles have gone down the drain. Here’s a list to differentiate true self-care from other things that can mask over the necessity to do the gritty work of becoming whole.

Real Self-Care Looks Like...

...Breaking up with toxicity as it takes the forms of flaky friends, unsupportive partners and bad bosses It looks like finding a balanced lifestyle of diet and exercise so you won’t question your integrity the next time you look in the mirror and so you can eat food without the aftertaste of blame  It looks like splurging on a therapist before going to the mall for clothes you won’t wear out of the house anyway because you’re too depressed It looks like educating the ignorant but not at the expense of succumbing to abuse or rupturing your inner peace It looks like rejecting hate speech, especially the kind that you direct toward yourself  It looks like ignoring the Twitter bridge trolls under posts and unfollowing people and brands that publish images that make you second guess yourself It looks like saying “no” a helluva lot more than saying yes It looks like spending time alone to really get to know yourself, your tics, your shortcomings, and your needs It looks like learning forgiveness so you are not a prisoner to anyone else, not necessarily because people deserve your mercy  It looks like finding a routine that works for you and not just one that looks good for Instagram It looks like dedicating weeks and months and countless hours to perfecting that routine, which you will fuck up time and time again. Continue to work it on no matter how many times you have to hit snooze before your body can wake itself up to get your day started earlier It looks like picking up the phone to engage with people who love you and vice versa because life is too short to send half-ass text reminders that you appreciate someone in your life It looks like taking sex at your own pace and consenting only when you feel like it, even if you want to be celibate and faux-virginal this week and a thot pocket next week It looks like logging off—without peeking at your accounts to see if anyone missed you on your hiatus It looks like reminding yourself that Queen Bey said it best, “nothing real can be threatened,” but also that you never see “the real” in everyone’s life, not even hers, so just worry about your own It looks like drinking water, and lots of it. There are no workarounds for this It looks like wearing the clothes that make you feel like your best, thorough self without styling yourself to be trendy or like the latest influencer—do you  It looks like spending time outside in a park or open field to remind yourself that the world is bigger than just you and your issues, but also that you are a part of the ecosystem that makes the world turn It looks like seeing the world and going to see a different part of your neighborhood, state, nation and world whenever you can and depending on your budget It looks like taking a mental-health day off from work or school in the same way you would for a surgery or broken tooth It looks like checking in on your crew’s and family’s mental health also and holding them accountable to take care of themselves also, especially older relatives who have been taught to swallow their issues It looks like accepting anxiety, depression and even suicidal ideations impact millions of people around the world and you are not inferior for facing this issues, but you are putting yourself and others at risk if you do not seek the help you deserve If you or someone you know is in need of immediate mental-health services here are some resources. And another one. And another one. How do you “self-care?” Let us know in the comments below.

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