Valentine’s Day advice: Self-care just might save you from burn-out

On the search for your special someone, remember to look in the mirror first

By Allyza Quirante

The truth is, I was a self-care skeptic. When I first heard about self-care, I thought: Why waste my time and money on that? It’s instinctive. Instead, I could invest that in my career, stay on the “rise and grind” life, and fast-track my goals.  

I was right. Until one day, I broke down on public transport in the comforting presence of absolute strangers.

After working for four months straight, hooked on coffee and cigarettes, I was bound to experience the “occupational phenomenon” that is burnout. In hopes of staying sane, I shamefully conceded to self-care and began researching.

Curating my care

People have varying takes on self-care but simply put, it’s the lifelong habit and culture of nurturing your overall well-being. Before I knew it, I was hopping from one article to the next and binge-watching videos on self-care success stories.

Still, I had my reservations. I didn’t want to find myself trapped in the self-improvement market’s $11 billion profit train. And while there’s no harm in hot flow yoga classes and bath bombs, back then, it seemed like skin-deep solutions to me.

So, I set out and challenged myself: How do I tailor my self-care to fit my needs and preferences?

After a year and a half of detox for the soul, here’s what I learned:

Define what matters most to you

The first time I tried meditating, I fell asleep three minutes in. Surprisingly, I laughed it off. From then on, I decided to commit to this core mantra: “I am responsible for being kind to myself.” This helped align the rest of my actions to what I valued most—kindness.

Take good care of your body

Remember the words of Greek philosopher Thales, “A sound mind in a sound body.” Nurturing mental health is important, but so is the rest of your body. Once your body gives in, it’s highly likely that your self-care habits will take a backseat. So, stay hydrated, take the longer walking route to work, and strive to eat healthily. 

Experiment as much as you can

I meditated on the bus, painted, cross-stitched until I fell asleep, and made coffee in a mokka pot. It’s innate for people to be curious, so chase it. Let it roam free. Don’t restrict yourself from experiences that can give you joy, even when it isn’t conventionally productive. Now I find happiness in the mundane task of grinding coffee beans manually, but cross-stitching just isn’t for me. 

Look past the labels

You don’t need to buy all the books on the self-help shelf to ensure your methods are “accurate.” There’s no formula for self-care. So, pick the reads that interest you. The world is sprawling with inspiration. Recently, I found mine while watching Chef’s Table on Netflix with the occasional donut.

A proud convert

Dramatic sentiment aside, self-care continues to restore my appreciation for life. Now I make a conscious effort to carve out time, both for myself and the people around me.

There may be days when I fall short. It’s inevitable. The difference now is that I see the symptoms of burnout and take action.

In the words of a fellow self-care enthusiast, Chef Sean Brock, “Now the trick is to keep that edge, to keep that passion, and to keep that intensity, while taking care of myself.”   

Sources:

Although it rose to popularity in 2016, self-care began as a movement: The origin of self-care

The state of self-care today

Learning from previous generations

Increased purchases of mental health books

On the search for your special someone, remember to look in the mirror first By Allyza Quirante The truth is, I was a self-care skeptic. When I first heard about self-care, I thought: Why waste my time and money on that? It’s instinctive. Instead, I could invest that in my career, stay on the "rise and grind" life, and fast-track my goals.   I was right. Until one day, I broke down on public transport in the comforting presence of absolute strangers. After working for four months straight, hooked on coffee and cigarettes, I was bound to experience the “occupational phenomenon”...

On the search for your special someone, remember to look in the mirror first

By Allyza Quirante

The truth is, I was a self-care skeptic. When I first heard about self-care, I thought: Why waste my time and money on that? It’s instinctive. Instead, I could invest that in my career, stay on the “rise and grind” life, and fast-track my goals.  

I was right. Until one day, I broke down on public transport in the comforting presence of absolute strangers.

After working for four months straight, hooked on coffee and cigarettes, I was bound to experience the “occupational phenomenon” that is burnout. In hopes of staying sane, I shamefully conceded to self-care and began researching.

Curating my care

People have varying takes on self-care but simply put, it’s the lifelong habit and culture of nurturing your overall well-being. Before I knew it, I was hopping from one article to the next and binge-watching videos on self-care success stories.

Still, I had my reservations. I didn’t want to find myself trapped in the self-improvement market’s $11 billion profit train. And while there’s no harm in hot flow yoga classes and bath bombs, back then, it seemed like skin-deep solutions to me.

So, I set out and challenged myself: How do I tailor my self-care to fit my needs and preferences?

After a year and a half of detox for the soul, here’s what I learned:

Define what matters most to you

The first time I tried meditating, I fell asleep three minutes in. Surprisingly, I laughed it off. From then on, I decided to commit to this core mantra: “I am responsible for being kind to myself.” This helped align the rest of my actions to what I valued most—kindness.

Take good care of your body

Remember the words of Greek philosopher Thales, “A sound mind in a sound body.” Nurturing mental health is important, but so is the rest of your body. Once your body gives in, it’s highly likely that your self-care habits will take a backseat. So, stay hydrated, take the longer walking route to work, and strive to eat healthily. 

Experiment as much as you can

I meditated on the bus, painted, cross-stitched until I fell asleep, and made coffee in a mokka pot. It’s innate for people to be curious, so chase it. Let it roam free. Don’t restrict yourself from experiences that can give you joy, even when it isn’t conventionally productive. Now I find happiness in the mundane task of grinding coffee beans manually, but cross-stitching just isn’t for me. 

Look past the labels

You don’t need to buy all the books on the self-help shelf to ensure your methods are “accurate.” There’s no formula for self-care. So, pick the reads that interest you. The world is sprawling with inspiration. Recently, I found mine while watching Chef’s Table on Netflix with the occasional donut.

A proud convert

Dramatic sentiment aside, self-care continues to restore my appreciation for life. Now I make a conscious effort to carve out time, both for myself and the people around me.

There may be days when I fall short. It’s inevitable. The difference now is that I see the symptoms of burnout and take action.

In the words of a fellow self-care enthusiast, Chef Sean Brock, “Now the trick is to keep that edge, to keep that passion, and to keep that intensity, while taking care of myself.”   

Sources:

Although it rose to popularity in 2016, self-care began as a movement: The origin of self-care

The state of self-care today

Learning from previous generations

Increased purchases of mental health books

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