So today I did a thing – to my face – against all my friend’s and family’s advice (besides 2) – and it made me think about self-care.
I have seen a flooding of internet posts on self-care in the recent months, even more so in the last week with the recent tragic Hollywood deaths by suicide, as well as many equally as tragic deaths by suicide that happen every single day to people’s families and friends and coworkers and lovers all around the world. But did you know that the media isn’t recommended to talk about suicides because there are studies that show that this can trigger other people to end their lives too? I don’t know where I stand around that one because to be honest I haven’t read the studies, and I have mixed feelings surrounding the obviously complex pro’s and con’s surrounding the balance between raising awareness for a continuously-rising suicide rate, the risk of triggering someone else who’s already struggling, and the feelings of the deceased’s loved ones. What I do think we need to talk about though, is how to better take care of ourselves, each-other and our communities so that possibly, we can help keep our people healthy and happy. The scope of mental health is so vast and there is still so much that we don’t know. Maybe you are perfectly healthy as it is, both mentally and physically and don’t need any help ever, but let’s face it that’s not the case for most people. Which is why I love that self-care is becoming trendy, but I want to tell you that it’s not all about pedicures and bubble baths with a glass of red.
Self-care is something that everybody should do on the regular. In some ways we have been taught self care – you brush your teeth, you shower, you wash your clothing – these are all pieces of self-care that we are encouraged and taught from a young age to do. So why aren’t we taught from that young of an age to take care of ourselves physically and emotionally as well? The level of self-care that is taught in a home would depend significantly upon several generations’ ways of life, but in my opinion, there is a large societal component as well.
Why are we not taught from a young age, that having a “time out”, is a good thing. A time to just check-in with your body and mind and stay in-tune with what you’re feeling and reacting to in the moment; what might your body need from you right now.
Self-care is going to look different for everyone. Some people genuinely want a pedicure and a bubble bath with a glass of red but that’s just not going to cut it for everybody.
Self-care is sometimes staying in to rest and recover when you could be going out and is also pushing through and going out because you really need some fun.
Self-care is colouring outside the lines to relieve creative energy.
Self-care is screaming into a pillow.
Self-care is having a hot shower, just because you can.
Self-care is exercising.
Self-care is planning healthy meals for the week ahead.
Self-care is going to bed early and can also be, going to bed late.
Self-care is purposeful, intentional change to your body, appearance, or life.
Self-care is buying that top that you feel confident in, and then rocking it.
Self-care is eating the chocolate and could also be not eating the chocolate depending on what your current goals are.
For a lot of people, self-care is not drinking the wine.
In my career-life, somewhere between blogging and advocating, and most importantly, healing, I am a hairstylist and barber in cute little Ladner Village, BC. Every day I have people in my chair asking for something new, or bangs, or funky colour, or women with long hair suddenly wanting a chunk of their head shaved (which I’ve rocked a few times), because they’re coping with a divorce, getting confident for a new job, or simply have been working too hard and want to treat themselves! How awesome is that! I have men who come in for straight razor shaves every two weeks because that is simply their time to be pampered, as part of their self-care. News flash: You don’t need to have a reason or an excuse to be kind to yourself. When people do not take care of themselves they struggle. It’s that simple. Some people need more self-care than others, some people use sports or art or reading so it might look different for you than it does for the people around you, do it anyways and don’t judge your neighbour for the way they do theirs.
I did not have very strong coping skills growing up. Whether I showed it or not, asked for help or dealt with it on my own, life ate away at me. Everything just felt bad. I was not a naturally happy person the way I am now, nor did I know how to be any different.
Over the years my self-care and coping skills have changed drastically for the better but when I was a teen it varied from food, to self-harm, to sex, to alcohol, but thankfully for my inner knowing that if I ever went down the road with drugs I’d never make it out, it never progressed to anything harder than that. Likely the healthiest of all my coping mechanisms was change. Change to my wardrobe, change to my body, change to my hair. Bring on the box hair-colour and kitchen scissors in my parents’ bathroom, give me that sweet, sweet, tangible, controllable, intentional change.
So today I pulled out an old faithful from my coping strategy hat and got my septum pierced. And I love it. And guess what – so far everyone else loves it too! Well, mostly, anyways. Also, who the fuck cares because it’s my body and I can do what I want with it! But alas, I still love that other people love it, because well, I’m human and naturally I don’t want other people to not like the look of my face.
While I’m at it – shout out to Ryan at Brass Eagle Tattoo and Piercing for giving me an awesome consultation, answering all my questions, taking his time and care with me and my new jewelry, and speaking so calmly and softly as he talked me through his breathing exercise, that we joked he should be a yoga instructor. And it worked! I swore at him from pain less than I swear at my amazing waxer, Laura at Better Still Day Spa, also all in the heart of Ladner Village!