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  • Writer's pictureEmily Piette

Reframing Self-Care

You have probably heard the term of "Self-Care" through these years past few years. But have you noticed this extreme pressure (social media presence exclusively) to have self-care? I find myself getting confused watching TikToks, youtube videos, reading articles about self-care. What is it? How do I get this thing called 'self-care'? How much does it cost?

I struggled with this idea of self-care when I was a graduate student, and have struggled through out my career. I thought I knew self-care... I thought I "was acing self-care". I realized the hard way that you can't ace caring for yourself. If I grade myself, I will never be truly self-caring. I won't lie, I used to sit at my desk and fantasize about getting a "You did it!" award for self-care... But I digress.

Last summer I experienced severe burn-out; I took a month off and it was not easy to find out how to "care for myself". In burnout, which I will discuss later on in my blogs, I had to take "small steps" in my recovery. One of those steps is learning what self-care is, and breaking down my own notions and assumptions of what it was, and how to get it.

Since experiencing burnout, I have had to become so much more attuned to my own needs, feelings, and body. Being a therapist does help to do it- I had the skills and strategies.... but what I didn't have was the bravery and courage to deep dive into myself and learn to care for myself in a healthier way. When you are in burnout, depression hits. Mine hit hard. It was like I was meeting with a familiar feeling again, and I know where it leads me, and I knew it was going to be terrifying and hard to get out of.

So I did the only thing I knew how to do- I reached out to my therapist. Just because I had the "tools" to help at my fingertips, didn't mean I had the energy to do so. I needed my therapist to show me the way- to show the small steps, by holding my hand and encouraging me each step. Me reaching out was an act of bravery, she told me. Cluing into my own struggles would take courage, but I knew I wasn't alone. I have had to learn where the I begin and the stress ends. I have had to learn that taking a day to "do nothing" is not bad, or shameful, but normal. My energy and need today will not be the same tomorrow; Especially in burnout recovery.

My journey to reframe and challenging the critic in my head around how I care for myself is still challenging and varies day to day. And that is okay. If I can show up for myself, no matter how I am feeling in my body, I am doing amazing.

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