Self-care tips for those who may be weary


Lauren Odum, Volunteer Writer

Pedicures. Long and winding box braids that lay neatly on my scalp, with baby hairs laid meticulously and ornate. Dinner dates. Designer bags. Counting calories for a tiny waist to sport trendy shirts that hung just so. But somehow I still could not seem to find joy.

So I quit Instagram. Comparison is the thief of joy, right? Then I became bored, thinking about my next post while I tried to distract myself with “healthier” vices. Netflix couldn’t scratch that itch and neither could a glass of wine, trips across the country, nor my cat—even though, bless his heart, he did try his best. Food was disgusting, so I could not even find solace in the kitchen, my usual safe haven. In the words of Solange Knowles, where I once tried to drink it away, sex it away or change it with my hair, my truth always loomed in the shadows waiting for the high of my latest fix to wear off.

I wondered, what is self-care if you do not even know yourself? And then what happens when you get to know yourself and she is not even someone you like? Why would I want to care for her?

In a world where aesthetics trump authenticity, self-care has morphed into something unrecognizable. In reality, doing “the work” to become a better woman is so ugly. As I became intentional about how to love myself, I simultaneously felt insane. Sometimes the only way I could find peace was to cry in a bed without sheets (because laundry and depression cannot coexist in my world), spending time better used elsewhere on crappy writing that made me feel better.

That was my self-care. Yet, I rarely see an influencer post piles of dirty linens begging to be washed. In those fleeting moments where they might choose radical vulnerability to come the comments, ranging from pity to complete vilification because “how could you let yourself go like this?!”

My growth as a person and as a woman has brought an understanding that self-care is not just one solitary action, but instead a life-long journey to honor what best suits my needs at the time. As a recovering wallflower, I feel so cared for when I actually speak up for myself and respect my desires. My self-care means appreciating my evolution and giving myself grace. I still leave myself space for the cucumber slices and silk bathrobes that are classically synonymous with the practice, but I have the maturity to understand that self-care is multifaceted and never-ending.