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  • Mathilde Fongen

The Importance of Self Care

Recently, I discovered that when you put yourself through too much, your body will let you know when it's time to slow down. I knew this from before, but I clearly didn't take it to heart, because last Sunday, my body shut down on me and I spent four days in bed. I was exhausted. Looking back at what I've been doing and looking at the month I had ahead of me, there is no question as to why this happened. I've worked far too much, been terrified of saying no to anyone and I've been far too concerned with not compromising on my goals. What this meant is I compromised on myself, to the point of exhaustion.


There wasn't all that much that needed to change for my day to day to become less overwhelming, and what I realise now is that it mainly boils down to my perspective on my own busy-ness and my own stress. I also realise it has to do with a little bit extra here and there amounting to a lot extra here and there and that by chipping away at yourself like I've done in a desperate attempt to please everyone, you risk letting them all down. Including yourself. It's one of the big faults in being human, this need to go against everyone's advice and learn the hard way. Everyone else could see I was overdoing it, but I kept going until I physically couldn't keep going anymore.


Newt Scamander says that worrying only makes you suffer twice and this is true for so many aspects of life. I've been worrying about not doing a good enough job, not being able to keep up with housework, exercise, cooking, writing, music, volunteering. I've been worried about other people's opinion of me, but what I never thought to worry about was myself. Worry can be a necessary thing, if you worry about the things it's actually worth while to worry about.


Today, I needed to write this post as a reminder and a promise to myself. Last week was a strange one, but it was also an invaluable one. Overall, I now see it was a good one. In a sense I lost myself and found myself again and it was wonderful feeling like myself after losing that for a little while. I now know to prioritise and that in order to achieve the things I want to achieve, I actually need to take care of myself in the process.


It's December now, a busy time for us all, and the time for reflecting, resolutions and goal setting are around the corner. Looking back at last years' list of goals, I haven't achieved all I set out to, but I've achieved so much that I wasn't expecting, as is the nature of things. Goals are not carved in stone. They can be changed and need to be changed as life unfolds and it's okay to let go of the strict timeline we put in place, for no apparent reason. I'm not giving up on these goals, but I'm moving them around and adjusting them to fit what my life looks like now.


To anyone reading this, I hope some of it makes sense. I also hope, in this busy time of Christmas and end of the year, that you remember to take care of yourself. There's no compromising on self care, because as limitless as we can feel, our bodies know where that limit is. And for the things we don't get done now, I'll attempt to translate my favourite Norwegian folk singer: "You will be given a day tomorrow, with crayons and blank sheets of paper."

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