• Claire McGrath

Authentic Self-Care

As many of you know, this past February the Truitt Center held its annual Ripple Conference. Though it was a bit overwhelming running around to make sure everything went smoothly, I’m happy to say I was able to find many moments of peace during the weekend. I attended one breakout session in particular that I’d like to talk about: Authentic Self Care, run by Kelsey Baron ‘23 from the Elon MHE program. I knew I wanted to attend this session just from the title, because it’s becoming a bigger question now more than ever… how do we authentically care for ourselves among the hustle of daily life?

She starts off with an important reminder that there is a difference between the self-care you see via social media and the self-care that will actually sustain you through your week. This is something I forget very easily, like most people do. I’ll tell myself that if I just take a long shower and watch my favorite shows on Netflix for an hour then I should be good to go for the next couple of days ahead of me! Lo and behold, that is both not enough and not exactly correct to sustain me. I’ve realized now that I need to work in genuine rest to my daily routine; I need to put my phone down, lay down, and let my brain rest for 30 minutes. My brain is running in circles all day because of school, work, extracurriculars, helping friends… and it’s my job to tell myself to stop for a little bit.

The part of Kelsey’s breakout session that hit the hardest for me was when she posed the question, why should we practice self-care? My immediate thoughts were so that I would feel good enough to go to class, do work, hang out with friends. Kelsey’s answer was that we deserve to be taken care of simply because we exist. Nothing more, nothing less. I was really shocked by how simple yet true that answer was. It really should be that simple… I’m taking care of myself because I exist and I want to feel good.

I’m still working on saying no when I’m already busy, and being comfortable doing things that make me happy alone. It’s exciting for me to feel this peace fill my body as the seasons change at the same time. Spring is all about growing and becoming, reaching towards something that feels different but is really good. I’m really happy that I was able to experience Ripple this past February and sit with these thoughts for a while; now I’m ready to open up more as we enter the new season.

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