By Birch K
When asked about the obstacles they face in being happy, teens will give you a big list. We are too tired, we are stressed, we are sad. If you even scratch the surface you’ll find the mind can be a jumble of insecurity and unhappiness. During sophomore year, I found the concept of self-care. But what was it? Could I simply change a couple habits and I’d be happy all the time? On Wednesday we at MAP explored and practiced a few concepts of self-care.
Shevy started this conversation up basically by asking us what we thought self-care is. It essentially is when you set good habits so you don't lose control of yourself. They used the metaphor of a child with a balloon. You are the child, and the balloon is your inner state. The child gets the balloon and walks down the street but it sees a distraction! And suddenly it loosens control over the balloon. When we aren't making sure to make sure our inner state is secure, it makes us feel like our lives are out of control. But what tools are there to maintain control. Well, with what they call “The Wheel of Self Care”, Shevy introduced some tools. There was a picture of a wheel with 5 sections labelled: physical, emotional, spiritual, personal, and professional. Together, we brainstormed what taking care of ourselves looks like. Overall we saw that the goal was to intentionally do things to make ourselves feel good. Sometimes we have low self-esteem because we self-sabotage, and find that we believe what we’re saying. But to take care of of ourselves we need to change our inner narrative.
With that introduced we moved to the classroom to talk about our inner dialogue and self-image essentially. Our inner dialogue is what we say to ourselves. On a board, we talked about the negative things we say to ourselves and what we should do about it. Essentially we should try to modify the negative statements to make them less harmful and even positive. So one statement was “my friends don’t genuinely like me” and a phrase to combat it was “my friends spend time with me and appreciate me”. We also discussed body positivity. We talked about where body shaming comes from, and ways to be better to our bodies, and how to have a better relationship with eating and not bullying ourselves over our size.
The highlight of the day for me, though, was when we practiced mindfulness and yoga. The idea of mindfulness was that the only way we can take care of ourselves is if we know how we feel. And when you spend some time with your brain and yourself you can go into the world more informed about how situations affect you. Then Laura led us through about an hour of yoga. We were deep breathing all the way through. We ended with a small chat about how possible it was to practice self-care. There were misconceptions about self-care. Like the accessibility of it. Because not everybody can get the nutritious foods they need, and not everybody can be happy all the time. But Shevy reminded us that self-care is only what's in our power, which was a lot.
At the end of the Wednesday, you could feel that the air was a bit more peaceful. And for me, I felt really happy because it takes strength and maturity to have all the conversations we did about insecurity and wellness but we all did it. And I think MAP is a safer and more productive space for that.