When is self-care important? When does it play a crucial role in our lives? According to the annals of psychology and every [emotional] breakdown ever, the answer to both of those questions is always. Next, we have to ask ourselves why. Why is self-care so darn important?
When I was eight, my dad bought me a keyboard piano. I just want to say from the get-go that I am not a prodigy. Neither did I grow up to be an exceptional pianist. To this day, I still struggle with scaling, although that is a story for some other time. But I will tell you this—eight-year-old me played that piano with oozing zest and confidence that skyrocketed through the roof.
I sucked at it, of that I am about a hundred percent sure, but I was the happiest sucky pianist in the world. I kept going at it until it broke. Yes, you may laugh. But, if there’s one thing I know now that I didn’t know then, it is this—that me choosing to continue my sucky piano playing wasn’t an act of defiance to the musical deities, not even one of frustration. It was an act of self-care. Eight-year-old me knew that the world was full of Mozarts and Bachs, but there is only one me who sucked at it gracefully, happily. And sometimes, you have to allow yourself room to suck at some things and still be okay with it.
The different ways one can care for oneself couldn’t possibly fit into a single article. But to make it simpler, self-care does have four key dimensions that we should all carefully think about.
Imagine a house with four long columns holding everything up. They represent the four key dimensions of self-care: Physical, Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual. Take one column away, and the entire roof could collapse. Leave them unchecked, and all types of mites and mold could infest them, and they could rot. By now, you know that to keep your house in good shape, you have to pay attention to the whole thing, not just one aspect of it.
Care for your mind as you would your body. Keep your spiritual tenets strong, and your emotional foundations sturdy.
When we care for things, we pour a little bit of our lives into them. When you take care of your house, it becomes a home. And your home is as much the four corners of a kind house, as it is the soft edges of your own skin.
Self-care is not where we retreat when the going gets tough. Instead, it is a reclamation of our freedom to choose what is good for our physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual wellness every single day.
Every conscious decision takes us further and deeper into ourselves, deeper into our experiences, deeper into the truths that constitute our identity. One day, self-care will no longer be a question of why it is important, but how learning to care for ourselves also teaches us to care for others.
“One day, self-care will no longer be a question of why it is important, but how learning to care for ourselves also teaches us to care for others.”