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Self-Care: Necessary, Not Selfish

March 15, 2022

by Nakita Scott, LCSW

In preparation for a book discussion, I am currently reading Sit Down to Rise Up by Shelly Tygielski. I was supposed to start reading the book over a month ago but somehow life got in the way. That was until this past week. As luck would have it, I was on spring break from the university where I teach and the university where I’m enrolled as a doctoral student. I took this opportunity, with the encouragement of my staff, to fully enjoy my time off which meant intentionally working as little as possible. I wasn’t sure how to approach my break, especially since I have a terrible affliction of creating overwhelming and overloaded to-do list. However, I had been feeling a different kind of tired lately; not physical exhaustion rather, something closer to what I would consider burnout.

As a social worker and licensed mental health professional, I am constantly instructing my students and clients to engage in self-care activities and ensuring that they take daily and weekly sabbaths (periods of rest to relax, meditate, and reset). I haven’t been hypercritical in making these suggestions. I too prioritize self-care activities and sabbaths. As I continued reading through Shelly’s book, I suddenly became aware that I’m still missing the mark in this area and I’m kind of doing it incorrectly. Here are some of the realizations that I’ve uncovered from my reading so far:

1. A self-care should be fluid versus rigid, open to change as my life perspectives and experiences change.

2. Perfectionism can keep us from enjoying life as well as loving and accepting ourselves fully.

3. Being broken lends itself to the opportunity and the ability to heal.

4. Self-care isn’t selfish; it is the act of taking care of oneself so that you can fulfill your purpose and passion in life.

5. You must be authentic to what you need in order to engage in self-care.

6. We all need a “community of care” to keep us accountable and provide support as we heal and nurture ourselves in an effort to support and nurture others.

You can find many more gems that are highlighted in the book, including a roadmap on how to create a self-care plan. I encourage you to read it for yourself (see link below) and perhaps it will help you to develop self-awareness, be honest about your needs, create an authentic self-plan and develop a “community of care” to meet those needs. It’s time to show up for yourself in the same loving and kind way that you show up for others.

Thank you to Piece of Zen and Sista Yoga Selfcare for the book recommendation.

Sit Down to Rise Up: How Radical Self-Care Can Change the World by Shelly Tygielski 

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