We have all heard it. From family, from friends, from social media. “Just practice self-care and you will feel better!”
If only it were that easy.
I’ve done my fair share of self-care routines. During high school, I would go to the salon or get my nails done. I would get massages to work out all of the knots in my back (and in my life). I would binge-watch movies while eating ice cream.
And these practices followed me into adulthood. Even though I didn’t suffer from depression as a child, I certainly did after I had my two boys. I finally understood what I had heard all of my life about depression.
So, I immediately started looking for answers and solutions to my depression.
“Eat healthy. Exercise. Take a long shower. Get enough SLEEP.”
Yeah. Freaking. Right.
I had no way of doing any of those. I was a new mom, hardly able to keep my hungry newborn satiated, let alone find healthy things for myself to eat. I never got any sleep (neither of my boys slept through the night until they were two years old). I definitely didn’t have time to take a long, relaxing shower, let alone carve out any time for exercise.
And forget about being able to get a massage or my nails done. There wasn’t time, or money, for that after a new baby.
I reached out for help to Postpartum Support Charleston, and my OBGYN, and got the same answers.
“Find a community of moms that you can join.”
And click. I realized that was what I was missing. I didn’t have any mom friends. I knew it would be hard to find them, but I did start reaching out in the community to find these women.
And THIS is when I realized what community care was all about.
Feeling well isn’t all about self-care. It’s about seeing our community as our family – knowing that people are out there rooting for you to succeed, even if it isn’t plainly obvious.
Community care is about making connections with others, even if they aren’t deeply meaningful or even consistent. It’s having that two-minute conversation at the checkout line. It’s waving to your neighbor as you drive by. It’s remembering your nurse’s name at your checkup.
These small but meaningful connections go a long way. It’s all about feeling less isolated and more connected.
And if you’re lucky enough to have people reach out to you and offer help, TAKE THAT HELP!
I have always been the type of person to do it all on my own. I’ll ask my husband and my mother for help, but other than that, I’m doing what I can to please others, not take care of myself. But this is one thing I’ve learned through the years.
When people say they want to help, they truly do.
And not only receiving help, but helping others has truly healed me. I talk to moms every day who are struggling with motherhood, and know that my small conversation with them can make their day just that much better is all right in my book.
Now, more than ever, we all need each other. We need small connections. We need a wave or a smile as we pass by one another on a walk. We want that phone call from our friends just to say hi. And most importantly, we need to lean on each other because doing it alone isn’t working.