You Are Important. Take Care Of You.
I was recently talking with a friend about self-care. I first learned about self-care in therapy, and it took me years to finally realize that it is truly and utterly so, so important. Self-care, for those of you who haven't spent a million hours across from a counselor/therapist/psychiatrist/etc, is pretty much just what it sounds like: You need to take care of yourself. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it can actually feel very complicated when you try to put it into action. I find that the easiest way to understand this simple to say, yet extremely difficult to practice concept is through the genius of RuPaul:
We're taught that we need to always put other people before ourselves. That if we put our own needs first, we are being selfish, and being selfish is one of the worst things you can be. But what you learn through coping with anxiety or trauma or PTSD is that you need to put yourself first sometimes, because otherwise You. Will. Fall. Apart. I heard this a million times and never truly understood how important self-care was to my own survival. I had to actually ignore this advice, throw my own health, safety, and comfort out the window, and have it hurl me back to square one before I realized, "Oh, I need to take care of myself, in whatever way I need to. GO FIGURE."
I think self-care is something that all people should practice, but it's particularly important for those of use who deal with anxiety or mental illness on a daily basis. On a large scale, I have had to turn down invitations from friends to things I'd truly love to do, because I know that I'm just not up to it. I've had to cancel things I was looking forward to more times than I can count, and I worry that people will see me as a flake instead of someone who's just unable to do what they so desperately want to do.
In April I wrote a post about "Distractions," which are the things that help me stop focusing on how life can really suck sometimes, and make it a little more fun to lay around on my rest days. (Rest days, for me, are a vital part of my self-care routine.) Since then I've found that Tumblr is a great distraction, but also a wonderful resource for self-care tips. I particularly like this mega-post that links you up to a million different tools for taking care of YOU. I have gone back to that page a thousand times and it's been a huge help. (I find this resource so helpful that I've embedded the whole thing at the bottom of the page, because sometimes following links just seems like a hassle, but this is worth your attention. FYI, some links lead to further masterposts. It's like self-care inception.)
So, this is all to say that you should ALWAYS look out for yourself. Do what you need to do to take care of YOU. And right now, for me, that means taking a little Internet break. I'm still coming up with post ideas and even writing a little here and there, but it may be awhile before any of that turns into anything that gets shared with the world. Thanks for understanding. If you're not understanding, well, I'm guessing that you, for some reason, didn't read all the words that came before this sentence. I still love you anyway. Letting go of shit I can't control is part of my own self-care routine.