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This post pretty much came about because I was asked if I had resources for Muslims who were discovering...
We’re big fans of self-care at Scarleteen, as well we should be. Self-care as a practice can be incredibly helpful for folks who find their brains have cranked the anxiety/depression/other yucky emotion dial up to eleven. We recommend it often, and you can find our basic guide to it here. Taking care of ourselves is also what we have got to learn and know how to do before we can take care of anyone else well — partners, friends or family — and before we can take care of ourselves when in relationships with others. “Me first” when it comes to self-care is pretty much always the way to go.
For those who may be not familiar with the concept, self-care generally refers to behaviors that can support your overall well-being and help you manage stress. It really is what it sounds like: taking care of ourselves, not just practically, but emotionally. Now, self-care is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. What makes one person feel better, or feel calmer, will not necessarily work for someone else. Soothing or self-comforting things may be the right choice one time, or for one person, while for another, or at another time, different ways of taking care of ourselves — including some that might require we step outside our comfort zones — are the right thing.
But there are some approaches to self-care that are, ultimately, unhelpful to the person using them. I think many of these unhelpful approaches are coming from the belief that self-care will always feel easy, soothing, or will make you feel instantaneously better. That is in many instances exactly what self-care will do. But sometimes, self-care means doing something that’s hard for you, is temporarily uncomfortable, or that scares you.
Lets take something we see frequently in our direct services as an example: testing, both for pregnancy and STIs. We see users coming in who are concerned that a symptom they’re having means they’re pregnant or that they’ve contracted an STI. The initial answer from us is usually some variation of “The only way to know for certain is to start by taking a test.” A common reaction we get to that is “I know I should take a test, but I’m too scared to. Isn’t there some way to know without taking a test?” The answer to which is: besides developing psychic powers, no.
This is the kind of situation I’m referring to when I say caring for yourself can mean doing something intimidating.
So what do you do? You use one type of self-care to help you do the other. You find the techniques that help you feel calm or happy and use them to help you through the things that are hard but necessary. If what makes you able to sit in a waiting room to get an STI test is knitting? Then take your knitting with you. But you still need to go to that appointment.
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Here you have some links that are more specific to your question :)
- How to make a gounding box
- Hobbies masterpost
- Things to do when you need a distraction
- How to make a self care calming box
- Safety plan printable wallet cards
- Flashcards to check when you’re anxious
If you had a friend dealing with the same things, you wouldn’t berate that person, say, ‘You’re not working hard enough,’ ‘You suck,’ or ‘You’re not as good as [whomever].’ You’d offer your friend encouragement, you’d try to point out all the things your friend did right, and how much progress your friend had made.
You should do no less for yourself.Be very careful how you talk to yourself. Because you are listening.