Self-care is more than going for a run, eating right or sleeping a full eight hours. These acts are baseline of what we need as human beings and often in the helping professions we are expected to be more than human. What if self-care was also embracing our humanity and our limitations? Self-care for me can look like accepting the limitations of my time, energy and ability to engage with a hurting world.
Self-care is also misnomer rooted in an individualistic mindset; it takes more than an individual to hold trauma and inequity. We need to take care of each other. Let's talk about mutual care and our collective responsibility to hold trauma. Who can stand can we stand with? And bear witness to their story? Who can stand with us and in the face of barbaric violence of our society?
Trauma can be like a cancer that can eat away at our minds, bodies and souls. It can be gray-colored glasses that affect how we see ourselves and the world around us. Yet when shared with others, trauma and it's shame are no longer society's dirty little secrets but testaments to resilience. The first step to healing is being heard, being validated, being seen. Otherwise, trauma keeps people living in the shadows.
Self-care is more than going to yoga or getting a manicure. It's recognizing our own humanity and vulnerability, our own limitations for holding the unspeakable. It's reaching out for understanding from others and honoring our own reactions to this work. It's being listened to with the same care and gentleness as if the stories were our own.
We are holders of the stories, holders of the trauma and we can help others on their healing journey when we can release the trauma, share it, care for ourselves and allow others to care for us. It boils down to love; if we love ourselves and allow ourselves to be loved, we can give freely to others what we already have.