1. Have an Interesting Snippet to Share : Click Here
    Dismiss Notice

Self-care

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Viswamitra, Sep 18, 2021.

  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    11,823
    Likes Received:
    21,019
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Taking care of oneself- both physically and mentally is an important part of overall wellness. In fact, it is a discipline one should practice making the life worthwhile and meaningful. True self-care doesn’t just involve pleasant things that we want to bring to our lives. It isn’t about escaping from life. It is about building a life we don’t want to escape from. Self-care is conscious, intentional activity or habit that aides in the process of personal advancement, including emotional, physical, spiritual and social growth.

    How does it differ from selfishness? Selfishness is putting our desires ahead of the needs of others whereas self-care is putting our needs ahead of the desires of others. It has been drilled into our mind that being selfish is a sin and therefore we take the extra mile to label many things that falls strictly under self-care. Any thoughts, words and actions that is done out of self-love, protect and preserve self-esteem, strengthen self-confidence, and bring self-satisfaction are not selfish thoughts, words, and actions. Self-care is like a foundation of the building. While self-esteem acts like the steel rods, self-confidence acts like the asphalt poured into the foundation. Self-satisfaction is the water that is poured to cure and strengthen the foundation. Without self-love, the house of life built will not have a stronger foundation.

    “Put oxygen mask over your face before putting it on your travel companion who needs help” is the announcement made by the flight attendant before the flight departs. Is she encouraging everyone to be selfish? It is about building strength to ourselves before we can help others who needs help. It is not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It is necessary for growth and development of life. Selfish mindset is about thinking only about my needs even if it is detrimental to the interest of others whereas self-love is thinking about myself and how my needs can be fulfilled without hurting the needs of others. Throwing out a stale food in the fridge after finding it with fungus is not only self-care but also taking care of the interest of others. On the contrary, finishing up a tasty food in the fridge exclusively myself without keeping a portion for others is pure selfishness.

    When I ask for help from others when they are able is self-care whereas demanding others thinking they are always available to meet my needs is selfishness. Loving and appreciating others mainly for what they can do for me, while thinking I am the most important person in the world is selfishness whereas loving and appreciating others for who they are, while knowing that I am the most important person in my world is self-care. Self-care would include deciding my priorities, curiosity, and exploration of my interests, slow down when I feel like winding up, taking a break for pleasure, improving my physical and mental well-being, self-awareness, self-support, self-acceptance, kindness to something I really like, choices that I make to satisfy myself, preferring to pay more attention to what I like, etc.

    Physical self-care would include sleep, stretching, walking, exercising, nutrition and diet plans, yoga, etc. while emotional self-care would include stress management, coping skills, compassion, therapy, journaling, etc. Social self-care would include setting up boundaries, setting up support system to rely upon in need, positivity in life, social media communication, determining friends, etc. while spiritual self-care would include time alone for contemplation, meditation, prayer, spending time out in the nature and visiting sacred places, etc. Walking away after a stressful confrontation is self-care as much as taking a nap over the weekend to recharge the batteries. Self-care should come naturally to everyone and in stressful homes, one should set up standards by repetitively emphasizing the need for self-care. One should never feel guilty when they are working on self-care. When someone is mourning for the loss of their loved ones, seeking a simple hug might be for self-care and someone moving away to maintain a comfortable distance while talking to each other is also self-care.

    One can be part of a support system for people around them only if they know how to support oneself. The happiness one is willing to give someone is built on a foundation how to feel happy oneself. Self-care is neither optional nor luxury but essential to lead an ideal and purposeful life. Doing things for others when it is hurtful to me is a recipe for unacceptable social life. Pursuit of happiness is a right and one can establish the path for happiness only with self-care.
     
    Loading...

  2. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Staff Member Finest Post Winner

    Messages:
    5,903
    Likes Received:
    12,203
    Trophy Points:
    445
    Gender:
    Female
    Very well articulated Viswa! This message is especially valuable in the Indian context. We belong to a collectivist society that places a high premium on selflessness as a virtue. त्याग (Renunciation) and सेवा (sacrifice) are considered the highest ideals. However every virtue when taken to an extreme becomes a vice. In our society this burden of virtuosity is overwhelmingly placed on the shoulders of women. They’re put on a faux pedestal and taught to forbear and forgo from the time they are born. I lived in a joint family for a significant portion of my teens and for every memory of grand festival celebrations and a kitchen full of delicacies I have a parallel memory of my mother toiling from dawn until dusk, eating after most of the goodies had been consumed and having me rub Moove on her aching back at bedtime.

    Women provide, nurture and empower others to grow, and often don’t receive in return. They self-silence to maintain relationships; they sacrifice their needs and aspirations so others can thrive. The great Indian joint family thrived on the breaking backs and sealed lips of its women folk. This familial bliss came at the cost of generations of women ground down to a nub, trapped by the ingrained belief that asserting yourself was disrespectful, that wanting more was selfish and unconditional tolerance was a virtue. Self-care is far from selfish. Like they say you cannot pour from an empty cup. Healthy relationships start with the self. Asserting your needs and values, defining boundaries, and keeping a healthy balance between your wishes and those of others is the foundation of self-love. Only when you feel loved, cared for and respected are you able to offer them to the people in your life.
     
  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    11,823
    Likes Received:
    21,019
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    @Gauri03,

    Your response is right on target. Many families relied on unsung heroes in the form of grandmothers, mothers and aunts who relentlessly worked nonstop never bothering about self-care. They thought that giving more and taking less is a virtue. As a matter of fact, if we go back to Vedic period, women are most respected and they had the power to make decisions themselves. Somewhere down the line, it changed into a patriarchial society were men are the commanders and women are meant to execute orders and work selflessly for the well-being of the family without even worrying about their mental and physical health.

    That is how the culture of silently suffering the verbal and physical abuse took place and continue to take place even now in many families. Anyone who questions abuse or even defend with self-care mindset is considered revolutionary and antisocial. Respect for individuals has to be inculcated in the society. The basic needs can't be compromised. Breaking boundaries are considered inconsiderate in the western civilization whereas setting up boundaries itself is frowned back in India. The society as a whole lost a lot of value as women are silenced. They, in my view, understand relationships as well as verbal and nonverbal communications effectively.

    If we go back to Mahabharat, It is Pandava's mother who told them that Hasthinapura is no longer home for them as Kuaravas are not fighting a direct battle but eliminate the Pandavas through devious means and hence they should hide under disguise until time is right. Otherwise, Pandava's would have picked up a battle without Krishna's guidance and lost that battle even before it started. When Draupadi faced humiliation in the court of Hasthinapura, people in many countries aligned to fight against mighty Hasthinapura. Now there are many women who suffer in the hands of their own family members and still the society is helplessly watching.

    It is time to pay attention to self-care and asserting self-care has to be recognized by the society as a need for growth and development.
     
    Gauri03, yellowmango and Thyagarajan like this.
  4. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

    Messages:
    1,668
    Likes Received:
    1,836
    Trophy Points:
    283
    Gender:
    Male
    "How does it differ from selfishness? Selfishness is putting our desires ahead of the needs of others whereas self-care is putting our needs ahead of the desires of others. It has been drilled into our mind that being selfish is a sin and therefore we take the extra mile to label many things that falls strictly under self-care. Any thoughts, words and actions that is done out of self-love, protect and preserve self-esteem, strengthen self-confidence, and bring self-satisfaction are not selfish thoughts, words, and actions. Self-care is like a foundation of the building. While self-esteem acts like the steel rods, self-confidence acts like the asphalt poured into the foundation. Self-satisfaction is the water that is poured to cure and strengthen the foundation. Without self-love, the house of life built will not have a stronger foundation.'


    As I see it the whole premise is explained in this para explaining self-care and
    selfishnes. It is rather complicated but I will try add my bit.
    Self care is more to do with persoanl physical health which includes mental health. A sound mind lives in a sound body. Even the scriptures say to take care of the physical health by doing necessary Karma. Unless we are phisically and mental healthy, we cannot help any one.
    However, it has been corrupted by self love by saying that you can love others only when you love yourself. Love has no conditions.
    For example, I have just enough food to satisfy my hunger and I find someone who needs it equally badly if not more. What should I do? Share it? Fill myself first to be able to find ways to feed him which may or may not happen?
    There may be many other examples where others' needs are more critical than mine. I see a man lying on the raod badly crushed by a running car, should I pick him up and rush to hospital or helplessly ignore and rush to catch my flight which is so imprtant for my career and feel guity all my life?
     
    Viswamitra and Thyagarajan like this.
  5. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    11,159
    Likes Received:
    27,123
    Trophy Points:
    540
    Gender:
    Female
    Nicely put, Viswa. You and Gauri have covered all the aspects of self care very well.

    Around the one year mark of the pandemic remote work and remote school, I realized I had run out of patience and its sister (mother?) concerns. : ) I ended up doing some study of self-care practices.

    Binge-watching Netflix, I learned, is not self-care. Neither is finally finding an hour at 11 pm to browse Amazon.com without interruptions. For harried mothers with young children, the solo run to Target and indulging in walking down some unnecessary aisles can seem like self-care. It is not.

    I used to view my Netflix time as “my time” and categorize it under self-care. However, there is a significant distinction to be made between self-care and entertainment. Entertainment is only a fun distraction, whereas self-care is genuinely restorative. Netflix or mindless browsing only puts a temporary pause on the stress level. After the TV or laptop is switched off, and it's time to get back to the real world, the feelings of stress come rushing back. They don’t go away. They are exactly at the same level as before. The messy kitchen and people at home seem as annoying as before the Netflix time. : )

    Women are so wired to take care of others that even their me-time or self care time involves that indirectly. For one of my friends, relaxing or rejuvenating time was when she worked over an elaborate worksheet planning for a “close friends group retirement home”. We had an interesting conversation when she claimed that when she closed the worksheet at past 1 am, she felt a sense of accomplishment and would be mentally tired but happily so. According to her, deciding “by how much should a person’s contribution to the group home go down when their spouse passes away.” was part of her me-time, self-care time. : )

    While the definition of self care can vary, a good measure is that one emerges from that time feeling rejuvenated and energized in at least in a few ways. Going for a walk, meditating, a leisurely bath, writing in a gratitude journal, a nice chat with a friend, playing a musical instrument, and listening to music are some that come to mind readily.

    I am still not sure whether sorting a junk drawer or the cutlery drawer can fall under self-care. : ) Ironing home-wear clothes is border line self-care for me. : ) Ironing outside-wear definitely a chore. Amazing thing, the human mind.
     
  6. sweety127

    sweety127 Gold IL'ite

    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    437
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Gender:
    Female
    Excellent post sir! I felt a momentary peace and lightness when I read through the post as it's been a extremely stressful week for me. Days bring in no excitement and I am over whelmed and tired. As rihanna pointed out, the after 11.00 PM browsing is not to improve the serotonin levels or is not a part of self care, it is just to annihilate the remnant energy stored inside the body so that I can hit my bed without any further nagging thoughts. My already stressed mind feels extremely stressed out when I think about implementing some real self care in either of the categorized ways. When survival itself is a big challenge, how is it to possible to invest time and energy for improving the quality of life? It only makes me more guilty and feel more impotent.

    Every morning when I drive hastily to work fearing the repercussions of punching my ID card late even by a minute, I let out a heave of sigh when I see people stretching out and jogging in the park. And every evening when I return back from work clumsy and tired, I could see neat well dressed smiling moms feeding dinner to their children when all I want to do is , 'do nothing'.

    Though my current state of mind seems not so good, I keep saying to myself, "idhuvum kadandhupogum". Those reassuring thoughts, though miniscule, silently screams 'this indeed is self care'.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
    Viswamitra likes this.
  7. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    8,146
    Likes Received:
    8,651
    Trophy Points:
    490
    Gender:
    Male
    Kudos to the essay that distinguishes the line between selfishness and self preservation and self aggrandisement.
    I enjoyed as usual reading my erudite philosopher and inputs from @Gauri03 @HariLakhera & @Rihana . Yes this mini thesis borders on esoteric knowledge.

    A Japanese school story comes to mind:
    A huge cavalry marching past toward their enemies killing civilians too in cold blood. A mother feeding two kids was in a rush to escape. She realised that she must forego and abandon one kid in order to run and survive. She dropped the one resting on her hip and lifted the other one and ran for her life.

    She escaped with the kid from the sight of soldiers.
    An old man astounded watching all this from his hiding, spotted this woman leaving one child behind and running with the other.

    A while later it was all quite quiet. Curiosity got better of him.
    The old man met her and said as a mother she should have equal responsibility to protect both children & asked why did she leave the other child which was murdered by mad army men.

    She responded, “ look Sir. The child I protected is my neighbour’s and I have no authority to leave that child unprotected. So I carried her to safety, leaving my child unprotected.”

    In twin tower tragedy, many before perishing would have fought in their mind “ it is self or the other” . In Taj hotel inferno too many of their had undergone this kind of battle in mind. At the time of tragedy, self preservation or protect other or others exposed to spreading orange flames and bullets.

    In ordinary times, one can have a dedicated time to think about doing strengthening oneself in mind & body. But in a moment’s notice even a strong individual and or strong mind can go haywire.
     
    Viswamitra likes this.
  8. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    11,823
    Likes Received:
    21,019
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Dear Hari Sir,

    You are right about self-care and selfishness having a very thin line between them. Self-care is caring for oneself but not at the cost of others suffering. In the example about food you have given, it is ideal that whatever food is available to be shared among the two to satisfy hunger of both.

    In your second example whether one should focus on catching the plan or help someone lying on the road suffering after an accident, things are improving throughout the world. No longer people are worried about medicolegal problems and helping others as the society has improved a lot. We have heard about the sacrifices people made while coming down the stairs of twin towers giving way first for people with physical disability. In some cases, we heard about people carrying the ones who can't go down the stairs. Just visualize the firefighters who reached as many floors as possible and not leaving the building until they found all possible people finally perishing under the rubbles of the twin towers. We know about the Indian Airhostess who sacrificed her life until every passenger is evacuated from the plane after a terrorists take over of the plane. Remaining calm and helping others in such siutations is important and can be considered living up to the values one has cherished. Soldiers serving in the army always look after those who are serving along with them when they get hurt or lose their lives.
     
    HariLakhera and Thyagarajan like this.
  9. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    11,823
    Likes Received:
    21,019
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Thank you for your wonderful response defining what in your view is not self-care and what can be self-care even if it appears as though it is not. Self-care can be an effort made to releive stressful mind or even working to prevent such stressful situations. When I was working for a software company, we all go out to take lunch as we start very early at 7 a.m. and continue until 7 p.m. During lunch, I avoid discussing work-related matters to refresh my mind. When the entire day goes totally wrong and nothing but bad news or disappointments, at the end of the day, I stay quiet, hope and pray that the next day would be better. Developing that mindset is self-care. Despite all pressing demand to go to work early in the morning, nowadays, I sit down quietly to do my meditation to calm my mind and it helps me do well throughout the day. That is self-care.

    As you say, human mind is tricky and can be tamed only by discipline. Instead of totally withdrawing from conversation with others when one is upset, sharing the hurt feeling, if not possible, at least tell others around us that one is not in a right frame of mind and needs time alone, is self-care. Retrospect, Reward and Reset are three functions we go through internally. Retrospecting everything we did for the day, rewarding ourselves for something that we did well and reset our mind from the trouble and tribulations we encountered are all disciplines we practice everyday and all three of them are for self-care.

    Frankly, self-care is a discipline.
     
    Rihana and Thyagarajan like this.
  10. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    11,823
    Likes Received:
    21,019
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    @sweety127,

    "Que Sera Sera" is passing through difficult phases with the mindset that nothing is permanent and all those experiences are transient in nature. That definitely helps self-care. Quality of life is directly proportional to how we feel about ourselves and our sense of fulfillment. If there is constant stress and we struggle everyday, any steps we take to calm our mind itself is self-care. In a house that is not respectful to the boundaries, creating boundaries becomes a challenge but in long-term, it develops self-care mindset. As I said earlier, self-care is a discipline not enforced on others but to practice oneself knowing healthy body and mind are the essential ingredients for well-being of oneself. But when others disturb the environment of self-care, drawing those boundaries become essential. It is like a mother eating nutrious food (at least one meal a day in case of homeless) to tend to an infant.

    As I mentioned in my response to Rihana, our mind is elusive and we mostly abide to the dictates of our mind's vagaries. When it is dominant with thoughts that are negative, it affects self-care. Positivity brings self-care with it. Switching our mind from one end of the spectrum to anothe is hard without disciplines needed for self-care.
     

Share This Page