Next Monday, July 24, is International Self-Care Day. Self-care is the act of attending to your health needs, mental as well as physical, and particularly those practices that do more than just address the most rudimentary, survival-oriented parts of our health. When you take time out to rest and relax, or give yourself nourishing food instead of junk food, or make sure you get plenty of sleep, you are engaging in self-care.
According to the International Self-Care Foundation, there are seven pillars of self-care. I’d like to take a bit of an ecopsychological approach to each of them. In ecopsychology we tend to focus on the mind quite a bit because that’s the general bailiwick of psychology, but the supposed divide between the mind and body grows narrower with each study that shows that the two are closely linked. This is especially pertinent to ecopsychology because it posits that we are intimately linked to the ecosystems we live in both through our experiences (mind) and ingestions (body).
Moreover, our bodies are the most immediate part of our ecosystem that we experience every single moment of our lives. By caring for our most personal piece of nature, we create habits of responsibility and awareness that we can then also turn to the rest of nature and our relationships with it. If you tend a vegetable garden every day, not only are you making yourself feel better with outdoor time and exercise and good food, you’re also tending to a cultivated bit of nature that supports soil fungi, tiny animals and a host of plants.