The Basics of Self Care

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“Isn’t everyone codependent?” a woman asked me.

“Maybe,” I said.

It is easy to get embroiled in other people’s dramas. Isn’t it even easier to see what other people need to do to take care of themselves, rather than tend to our own affairs? That’s when we need to remember the basics of taking care of ourselves.

These basics include comfortable living arrangements, enough sleep, proper nutrition and hygiene, social contact, fun or pleasure, taking responsibility for our own emotions, earning enough money to pay our bills, taking responsibility for our own goals and dreams, and saying no sometimes to others and sometimes to our own impulses.

My daughter introduced me to a computer game recently. It’s a game where you create a city and get to rule the lives of the people in it. In this game, you get to decide where the people sleep, how much they sleep, when they eat, when they go to the bathroom, when they take a shower, whether they clean up after themselves, when they rest, whether they go to work so they can pay their bills and buy food, how much education they get, and how much they socialize. Kind of like playing God. “You can make the people go crazy,” my daughter explained. “All you have to do is not let them get enough sleep.

One of the meanings of “jaded” is being exhausted. Not getting enough sleep, not eating properly, not tending to our own emotions or our social needs can easily cause us to become jaded.

We can make ourselves feel crazy by not tending to the basics. It was tempting to torture the people in the game just to see how they reacted. Sometimes it’s tempting to torture ourselves.

Value: Whether we call it self-care, taking responsibility for ourselves, being good to ourselves, or practicing the basics, that’s the value we’ll explore this week.

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