Self Maintenance: The Self Care You Didn’t Know You Were Doing

Does watching your favourite Netflix series on an endless loop while you have a paper due stress you out? Does retail therapy make your bank account want to cry? Is your current self care becoming more stressful than helpful? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, hold on tight because I’m about to let you in on a not-so-secret secret to minimizing stress and maximizing the ways you already take care of yourself. The best part? You’re already doing it.

In 1st and 2nd year, I self-cared to my heart’s content: Netflix, bubble baths, fancy nail art, dinner with my friends … you name it! Even though I self-cared the day away, I still felt stressed, overwhelmed, and tired. It wasn’t until 3rd year that I discovered self maintenance. The best part about self maintenance is that it’s not a whole new practice that I have to consciously adapt my life to – I’m already doing all of it!

Self maintenance is a set of tasks you complete to take care of your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and other forms of care that make up your personal health and wellbeing. Self care envelopes the niceties, or comforts; it includes every thing we like to do, but doesn’t necessarily include the things we have to do. This is where self maintenance fits in. For me, self maintenance includes making to-do lists, filling out my calendar, writing essays well in advance of their due date, doing my dishes, getting enough sleep, doing tasks for my job, and plenty more. Not all of these things are tasks I enjoy doing (believe me, if I had a dishwasher, you bet I’d use it all the time!), but if I don’t do these things, my overall wellbeing deteriorates. Back in first and second year, I would sometimes put these things off in order to prioritize my self care; after all, self care is not selfish…

…but neither is self maintenance! Self maintenance is my preferred method of self care because it encourages me to stay on top of the things I have to do, so I don’t become overwhelmed or as stressed as I was in my first year. My challenge to you is to find some activities you could do as self maintenance. My guess is, you already are doing more than you think you are!

~ Amy