Whether you are a profound advocate but lapsed practitioner. In a committed relationship. Or on shaky ground. It’s time to level up our self care game. Whilst self care may seem like a relatively new concept. It’s been doing the rounds throughout history. Traced back to ancient times, its rooted in philosophy and politics. So, how can we understand self care as more than a moment for ourselves? And what makes it so radical?
For Why the Basics of Self Care Are Important read here.
What’s So Radical?
The word radical is from the Latin ‘radix’ or ‘radicalis’ meaning root. When it comes to radical self care it’s about going back to our roots or even getting to the root of a problem. So, what are the roots of self care? We can take it back to the Ancient Greek concept of Eudaimonia understood as the pursuit of a good or just life. This idea of finding a balance between our emotional and physical wellbeing was rooted in the philosophy of Aristotle (384 – 322BC). In Ancient Rome, the Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations “If thou art pained by any external thing, it is not this that disturbs thee, but thy own judgement about it. And it is in thy power to wipe out this judgement now”. Marcus Aurelius understood the impact of negative thinking. And the power of self-care to help us rethink and reframe.
For Why Self Care Is More Than Just a Bubble Bath read here.
Lastly, and more recently, in 1988, Audre Lorde wrote about self care in her collection of essays called A Burst of Light and Other Essays. Lorde wrote “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is a self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”. The reason Lorde posed self care as a political act was due to her activism as a black lesbian poet and writer. Viewing self care as an act of preservation in a world not built with her identity and community in mind.
How is Self- Care Radical?
Different people will have different ideas about how self-care can be radical. At the end of the day, self care is radical when we make it radical. Whether that’s taking steps to address the root of the problem, ensuring self care has longevity or as an act of resistance in a world where it is too easy to neglect ourselves.
For Your Self Care Routine for When You Have No Time read here.
Go Back to the Root
Self care is an excellent tool to keep us mentally well. But it can only take us so far. It’s not a substitute for professional help. Likewise, even when higher levels of support are not needed. If self care is a continuous solution to the same problem. We may need to ask ourselves, what’s at the root? Is there something practically I can address. This doesn’t mean eliminating self care from our routine. But ensuring that there are no elements of our lives, where possible, which accentuate our need for more frequent self care.
Make Self Care Last
Whilst our usual self care routine may give us extra bandwith. Helping us get through the harder parts of life. It is usually short term in nature. But radical self care has the power to change how we think and feel long term. And in turn, change how we view the world around us. We can consider self care as the first defence in safeguarding our mental health. Rather than an act to get us through the day. When we view self care as a vital act; we change the narrative. When we prioritize our needs and mental health, long term self care can protect our stress levels, help us reframe negative thinking, balance our mood and bolster our confidence.
Act of Defiance
Self-care can be a radical act in a society where we struggle to balance social and communal responsibility and ourselves as individuals. Many of us are living life on a tightrope. A precarious balancing act of all the responsibilities we take on. In such a world, prioritizing ones own needs is an act of defiance. We reject the suggestion that we must sacrifice our own mental health in the service of others. Recognizing that when we give of our time, energy and empathy we become depleted. And are not only jeopardizing our own mental health. But our ability to look after those around us.
What do you think about radical self care? Is it radical and how? As always let us know below