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Self-Care in 2020

By Celeste Sekigahama

Stress is so prevalent in our culture that in the early 2000s the term “toxic stress” was coined by a Harvard pediatrician to acknowledge the damaging effects of long term, excessive stress. In fact, despite our country’s wealth we fare poorly, compared to European and Scandinavian countries, in terms of social equality which is a huge factor in national levels of toxic stress. 

‘Unprecedented’ stress

Adding to these stress levels this year has brought a pandemic, a traumatic event for many of us. No wonder the wellness industry is big business in America, selling us cure after cure for our imperfect lives. We see images of self-care that look like idealized gorgeous retreats and serene meditation moments. 

Self-care does not have to be pretty

I am here to disrupt that narrative. Self-care does not have to be pretty! Self-care is not tied to products or an ideal body type. 

Self-care is about prioritizing yourself both mentally and physically. It is about recognizing your needs in the present moment and responding to them. It is measured not by outward signs of success or happiness (perfect job, relationship, workout routine) but instead by the experience of contentment. 

How to build better habits

  1. Start small.
    Find ONE small thing that you can find for yourself every day.
    Ex: “Tomorrow I’m going to drink a lot of water.”

2. Find what motivates you.
If you don’t have an inner motivation, it will be a lot harder to stay committed!
Note: this doesn’t have to be about you. For some, the goal of being a better partner or parent can help. It’s about finding what is motivating for you.

3. Commit to change.
This may be one of the hardest things. It’s easier to blame a situation than to take a small step to change. We get comfortable in our own issues and can become ‘complicit’ to a situation.

4. Be kind to yourself.
You are not going to be perfect. “Beating yourself up” any time you’re not consistent is the opposite of self-care. If you bring a ‘type A’ attitude or perfection to self-care, you are not taking care of yourself fully.

Tips for Self-Care in 2020

The key is to find what works for you, however, what has been very helpful:

Allow yourself to tune out from the news.
Create a schedule or list.
Go outside (if you can).
Prioritize sleep. 
Maintain connections with people outside of your household.
Recognize diminished capacity.
Balance zoning out vs. tuning in.

About Celeste Sekigahama

Celeste Sekigahama is the Interim Executive Director at The Yoga Seed Collective and has over 5 years of yoga teaching experience. She has mostly taught in non-traditional settings such as jail, psychiatric hospitals, youth detention facilities, and with sexual assault survivor groups. Her background includes a degree in Feminist Studies as well as 500+ hours of yoga teacher training. She has also earned a certification for “Women in Leadership” from Cornell. She is currently embarking on a new venture, Full Circle Strategies: Trauma-informed and Personalized Self Care.

Contact Celeste Sekigahamaceleste@fcstrategies.co

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