Dear Self, Hey there, sunflower. Hope you're doing alright (it's completely okay if you're not). Sigh, where do I even begin? You and I love to take care of somebody else for two people who aren't good at taking care of each other. You love me very little for all the work I do, I blame my lackluster social life on your inability to hold small talk. You don't let me sleep at night, I wake up the next day and complain about your lousy morning habits. We pretend to like each other at parties, but on the car ride home, I pick at you and you pick me apart into little pieces. Look, I'll be honest - I'm sick of being uncomfortable around you. Life is a long time to spend not knowing your own self, and I just want to be good friends with you. So I write this letter as advice, as reminder, as something to hold onto - but most importantly, I am writing this letter because I trying to love you. I see you giving into popular culture curated definition of "self-care" - face masks, luxurious baths, going on a vacation. All of that might have helped, yes, but I want you to remember that self-care doesn't always equate to pampering. Sometimes, caring for yourself means taking your medicines on time; it means studying for that test. Self-care can mean going to bed early, drinking enough water, allowing yourself to break down and cry at the end of a bad day. Here, the only measure for success is trying- we often only appreciate the size of the gesture without considering how the applied time and effort helped ease and better our minds. I remember you binge-watching several Netflix shows early this year with the guilty afterthought of pending work a persistent presence in your mind. I remember you saying, "I'm resting now so I can work later" but sunflower, let's face it, you were only procrastinating. In retrospection, would it not have been much easier to insert a few minutes at the piano or an episode or two of your favorite show in between as much work/study you were capable of in a day? Listen, self-care does not have to consume a lot of time or interfere with your everyday routine - small things like a quick workout or a 10-minute rant session with a friend can go a long way in developing a healthy relationship with yourself and your time. There will be days when you don't accomplish anything on your to-do list. There will be days when you won't feel like getting out of bed, where even the thought of a shower is draining. There will be days filled with worry and anxiety; it is natural to feel crippled in the uncertainty of everyday life. On those days, it is more important than ever that you know- self-care is a necessity, not a reward. You deserve to take time for yourself because you need it, no matter how productive you were or failed to be earlier that day/week. As children, we have been taught to live so that we could work (and keep the wheel of capitalism turning) when in reality, it should be the other way around. Social conditioning might have led you to associate rest with guilt and personal interests with monetization, but self-care is not selfish. Your choices do not have to "make sense in the long run" or "turn into a side hustle" - you are being productive if you do something that makes you happier; please do not let the outside world change this definition. Sunflower, you and I have no idea what lies in store for us next. The world is scary, people are unreliable, and absolutely nothing here is certain except for the fact that I have you for company. Our time here is brief, and there are so many things to learn, people to meet, places to see - I don't ever want to lose you in this reigning chaos of life. So while we are here, let's care for each other, yes?
You’ve got mail!
A letter for ourselves.
We’re excited to have collaborated with Hibiscus Foundation for Social Welfare @_hibiscused_ as part of KAT’s mental health week
@_hibiscused_ is doing some great work in social work, mental health in addition to being a global health advocate, do check them out!