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Thrive or Just Survive?

Finding out a little more about the importance of self-care has been quite a journey of discovery. Meg-John Barker suggests the roots of self-care go back to various times and places with different understandings of it, such as black feminist ideas of compassionate resistance and buddhist practices of enhanced compassion, to dissolve the ego, leading to no self / other split. Barker also draws on ancient Greek practices of developing well=being and self-knowledge and Foucault's technologies to consciously construct ourselves. What does this all mean to us today?

  • we need to meet our basic needs

  • reducing self cruelty will help us

  • kind self-care instead or critical

  • just being; less doing

  • time spent on reflection

Like Barker, I very much believe self-care means different things for different people. There is no one-size-fits-all. I find myself saying 2 or 3 times a week, find out what works for you. There is no 'right' way. It may even vary according to the situation. Let's take meditation, for example. Meditation helps me to feel grounded and I can check -in on myself. Up to 10 minutes works well for me. Longer than that then I can struggle to be in the present. If I am agitated then allowing myself time to 'sit with' the agitation then meditate normally works. If it is still a struggle, I am kind and compassionate to myself, no criticism, permission to leave it then may reflect later in the day over what happened with curiosity and without judgement.

Why not make a list of self-care activities that work for you? Do they meet the above 5 points?

Barker suggests making a 'plan' such as:

Daily - sitting with my cup of tea

- basic needs - daily kindness - 3 good things about the day

Weekly - journal

- see friends at least 2 x

Monthly - go to the sea

- meet with support group

Yearly - local college or online course

- week away relaxing

Remember - self-care does not have to involve a lot of money!


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