Self-care: Indulgence or preservation?

May 11, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

By Dr. Cheryl McAuliffe
Director of Social Work/Sociology
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

In a time when our lives tend to be so busy, we seldom pause and ensure we are caring for ourselves.

It’s more common that self-care gets pushed to the bottom of the “to do’’ list and becomes less of a priority in our everyday lives. We must stop and think: What does putting yourself last – or, in some cases, never – do to you?

In 1988, Audre Lorde said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Lorde’s quote has become famous among the teachings of self-care. In many ways, society has led us to believe that taking care of ourselves is selfish, and this quote pushes back against this idea by affirming the opposite.

I am certain you all have experienced a time when you scheduled something to do for yourself and it was questioned. Why is that? Why have we been conditioned to believe that getting enough sleep, eating properly, engaging in stress-relief activities or taking a moment to pause are signs of selfishness? 

Lorde’s message gives us permission to recognize self-care as an opportunity to be the healthiest person we can be. It allows us to acknowledge our mind, body and soul needs. Meeting these needs empowers us to, in turn, support others in a healthier manner.

I challenge you to make a list of ideas that are self-care for YOU and put them into action in the next week. Whether it be going to the gym, riding a bike, reading, listening to music, cooking, taking a nap or watching for favorite show, give yourself permission to debrief, disconnect and rejuvenate.


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