Throughout my life I have constantly heard the term "self-care". I’ve heard the term while in school, at work, and even talking with family: “Are you partaking in self-care?”, “What are you doing for self-care?”, “Any new practices in your self-care plan?”. With schooling, I gained a broader perspective of this term and with that an ongoing thought: Can an individual truly act in a way that is caring to themselves if they do not have self-love? Self-care, in essence, is the act of enjoying an activity in an environment that is relaxing, peaceful, and in that creates a sense of happiness. Some examples may include taking a bath, watching a show for 30 minutes, mediating, or working out. Although these examples may seem obvious, the pace of the world simply doesn’t allow for them if we don’t make time for them. So often people don’t make self-care a priority and chalk it up to “there just isn’t enough time!” On the other hand, self-love is when a person has a strong sense of well-being, a sense of their worth, and finds joy and happiness within themselves. Consequently, self-love is needed to pursue a balanced life that includes self-care.
Last semester, while working to complete my Masters at Edgewood, Madison Solomon, LMFT shared a powerful photo (above) during a Psychology of Trauma and Stress course. This picture resonated with me and still is a daily reminder to me of what it means to have self-love and self care. The tree, as a whole, is a symbol of life and the branches are a symbol choice. As life progresses, we can either love who we are and make choices that are going to support our life and give us strength and nourishment (on top of the branches), or we are going swing from the branches and hope that life supports us and others will help give us a boost up the tree. This image is a visual reminder to me to make sure I am not at the bottom of that tree or just dangling before I realize that I need to put my self-love and self-care first. The image is a reminder of the importance of taking control of our own life through self-care and self-love and to always remember to take the time needed to be and become the best versions of ourselves.
Article contribution by Maggie Berg, MFT Clinical Intern