Humans are worn out.  Adults are completely over wearing multiple hats.  Parents miss having some sort of a time out, even if that was their commute to and from work.  In an age where self-care as become commercialized, a global pandemic leads to a whole lot of mixed feelings about what a person can do.  Gyms haven’t always been open.  Happy hours with friends away from the house, don’t exist.  That massage you had planned-forget about it as the massage therapist is booked out four months…oh and just tested positive…

While therapists and clients alike have come up with some unique forms of self care (yes I even had a previous blog about it) I would like to push us all to think outside the box.  What about if self-care starts looking like helping?  Giving back?  Having an action step that would directly impact someone else or an entire family?

If there is something I know well about us Midwesterners, it’s our ability to step in with an action(aka some kind of casserole with a cream of something in it:) when someone is going through something.  I mean heck, we are in the region where someone can bring you a casserole or hot dish for about any life event-good or bad.  We all know the intrinsic benefits of giving back and research as proven the impact of helping on mood.  So instead of getting a massage, what about you bake a casserole or a loaf of bread to take to your neighbor that has two e-learning kiddos? What about with the hour you would normally do happy hour, you mow a lawn, offer to pick up some groceries or deliver dinner gift cards attached to a sweet note? What about bagging up some leaves or taking an elderly neighbors dog for a walk?

Maybe self-care in the midst of a pandemic is a little less “what can I do for myself?” and a little more “what can I do for others?” My hypothesis is that self care can also look like giving. Maybe it looks like taking care of each other and just possibly doing good for someone else can also be good for our own soul.  Now please do not let this excuse or be dismissive of your own needs and time for yourself.  My point is, mix it up.  Helping someone consistently feels good.  Happy hour with your best friends consistently feels good.  See the correlation? 

Rethink self-care.  Help a neighbor out. Give with an open heart.