Self-Care Is The New Self-Esteem

Self-Care Is The New Self-Esteem

The concept of self-care has been getting lot of attention lately, but I’m guessing there are still a lot of you who aren’t quite sure what it means...

Up until a few months ago I had never even heard of self-care, but now I’m all but obsessed with the idea.

The World Health Organization defines self-care as “what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness.” This can pertain to hygiene, nutrition, lifestyle and more. The part referring to preventing and dealing with illness might seem a bit intense for the average person, so this is how I define self-care: care, by you and for you. I also like to call it the new self-esteem.

Self-care means looking after yourself and being the best you that you can be—emotionally, physically and spiritually. I think that is one of the most important things that individuals can do for themselves.

In the past, a lot of emphasis has been placed on using self-esteem to promote self-healing. The thought here is that having more confidence in yourself and your own abilities can help you feel better in general, but building up self-esteem is not an easy thing to do.

It’s especially hard if you don’t have your own little self-support system built up. This is just one of the reasons why self-care is incredible. The self-care approach pertains to nearly all aspects of your life and provides a much more balanced way of looking after yourself.

Rather than forcing feelings of positivity or instilling fake and temporary feelings of confidence (because let’s be honest, this is pretty much what happens when you try to boost your self-esteem), you can choose to be understanding of yourself and your limitations with self-care. Self-care actually stresses self-compassion. Sometimes giving yourself a break can be more helpful than anything else.

I’m not trying to hate on self-esteem. Building self-esteem is great because if successful, it can help you love yourself. But self-care takes loving yourself to a whole new level.

It is important to comfort yourself and give yourself a pat on the back once in a while. You deserve it. So if you believe it, say it and build-up your self-esteem, but then take it a step further with self-care.

Not only do you deserve to hear the great things you’re thinking about yourself, but you deserve to actually listen to the great things that others are saying about you. Write them down, tuck them away somewhere and don’t forget them.

Self-care is truly a wonderful journey to embark on, but it’s not always an easy thing. You are making a promise to take care of yourself, even when you don’t feel like it. Sometimes this can take the form of giving in and letting yourself go, because it allows you to be honest with yourself. This might look like having a bad day and acknowledging it, rewarding yourself with a quick nap or not going out if you aren’t feeling up to it.

More often than not the choices you make in self-care are meant to pick you up.

This might look like having a bad day and acknowledging that tomorrow will be better, rewarding yourself with a few moments of peace before you cross something else off on your to-do list, or taking some time to do something for yourself, by yourself, rather than meeting up with friends.

Self-care occurs in a variety of forms and it looks different for everyone. We aren’t robots, and it’s okay to struggle sometimes, as long as we make sure we’re picking ourselves up at the end of the day.

If anyone is ever struggling to find a little self-love, self-care or self-compassion, I recommend scrolling through the self-care tag on Tumblr. It’s filled with great tips, ideas, quotes, and of course some really cool pictures pertaining to self-care.

Personally, I like to scroll through Wentworth Miller’s Facebook page (you might recognize him from "Prison Break"). He has recently embarked on a very public self-care journey and he posts about what his self-care looks like for each day. He has personally struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts and has begun opening up about this to the public. It’s truly inspiring to get to witness his journey.

In any case, your self-care journey is what you make of it, so make it your own and take care.

Cover Image Credit: Paige Williams

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8 Facts About Bath Salts

What are Bath Salts?

Most people are familiar with the chunky and fragrant bath salts that are added to bath water in order to relax and invigorate. However, these bath salts are much different and not nearly as relaxing as users would hope. This kind of bath salt is a designer drug that mimics the effects of such illegal substances like cocaine, methamphetamines and MDMA. They belong to a group of drugs classified as synthetic cathinones, which are man-made substances that share a similar chemical makeup as the khat plant, a plant found in East Africa that acts like a mild stimulant when chewed on. Most bath salts on the market are crystalized powders that are often white or brown.

Bath Salts and its Aliases

This drug is called bath salts because of its similar, chunky rock like look as those sold in health and beauty stores as well as the ability to sell the items in stores as a legal product using this name. With law enforcement cracking down on bath salts in the last few years, people are finding them packaged as plant food and jewelry cleaner to continue their sales. These products are almost always in packaging that states that is not for human consumption.

Bath salts are also called by several other names such as:

-Bloom

-White Lightning

-Cloud Nine

-Red Dove

-Lunar Wave

How long have they been around?

Synthetic cathinones have been around since their creation in France in the 1920s. However, it stayed mostly underground until a similar drug resurfaced in Israel in 2004. Shortly after, the recipe was modified in order to be sold under different names. The current abuse of bath salts comes from their introduction into the British club scene in 2010. Between 2010 and 2011 bath salt sales boomed in Britain and America. It was then that America began to see the disturbing epidemic of users and the horrific side effects of the drug.

Abuse and Addiction

According to users, bath salts leave them with intense cravings even after one time of using it. One study even said that certain synthetic cathinones were more addictive then methamphetamines. Bath salt users explain feeling a euphoric high and sexual stimulation, similar to that of MDMA. They also explain that they feel more focused and have higher energy levels for a few hours after taking the drug, similar to methamphetamines.

Bath salts are most often snorted, but they can also be smoked and injected. Due to the ease of purchasing this drug in liquor stores and smoke shops, users quickly find themselves having a recreational use turn into a full-blown addiction. Ultimately the crash from someone coming off the drug is the most intense and uncomfortable part of the experience. In fact, abuse continues because the user doesn’t want to come down and fears the extreme side effects.

Side Effects

Though the drug is fairly new, there has already been increased rates of mental health problems in people that have used bath salts, with reports claiming people suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In fact, due to the inability to test for the drug, many medical practitioners look for these mental health signs before diagnosing a person as a bath salt user.

Some of the side effects are similar to other drugs but they are often intensified. These include depression, anxiety, paranoia, agitation, feeling physically ill, and tremors. These side effects can last for days and there has been reports of users self-harming because of the emotional effects of bath salts.

Overdosing on Bath Salts

Many are familiar with bath salts based on a 2012 news story of a Florida man, high on bath salts, who literally chewed off the face of a homeless man. The homeless man ended up losing 80% of his face due to this horrific incident; the zombie-like side effects of the drug quickly made headlines all across the country. In this incident the man was said to be overdosing on bath salts and experiencing intense delusions and hallucinations. Other overdose side effects can include liver failure, seizures, and heart attack.

Many users are often violent toward themselves and others, and can inadvertently harm themselves because of a high pain tolerance. As of 2015, only 68 deaths have been reported due to bath salt overdose. However, these numbers vary based on an inability to test for the drug in peoples’ systems or if the death was associated with bath salts (such as violence).

Banning Bath Salts

By 2011 the poison control centers received over 3,000 calls which was more than ten times the previous year’s total. This caused the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to spring into action in an attempt to effectively ban bath salts. The DEA exercised emergency authority to classify mephedrone, MDPV and methylone (the active ingredients in bath salts) as controlled, schedule 1 substances, thereby making it illegal to sell them or anything made of them. Then in 2012 President Obama signed a federal ban on all synthetic drugs. Even with this ban, though, it has done little to curb the problem as people are turning to the streets in order to continue to use bath salts.

Treating Bath Salt Addiction

Due to the severe and unpredictable side effects of bath salts, detox can be quite trying for the user and medical professionals alike, and it is often difficult to find rehab centers willing to treat users. A large issue is the mental disorders that are often brought on by bath salt abuse. Treatment of bath salts typically deals with detox centers and psychological therapy.

Detox begins with intense medical monitoring as well as medications to alleviate symptoms like nausea, insomnia, and agitation. Just like most drug treatments and recovery programs, those that work with bath salt abuse circle around abstinence, relapse prevention, and rehabilitation. Some take part in outpatient programs after detox but many need a more structured way of rehabilitation due to mental illness. The best way of getting through treatment is having a strong support system and accountability.

Cover Image Credit: Shutterstock

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The Struggles Of A Former 'Fat Kid'

Because everyone has something they struggle with.

I had it better than most growing up but that doesn’t mean I didn’t face challenges. Yes, I always had food to eat and a warm bed to sleep in. I always got what I wanted for Christmas and I attended private high school. But everyone struggles with something, and how you grow up forms who you are going to be. Whether you let your environment break you or become who you are in spite of it, your childhood shapes you. My childhood wasn’t easy and it has shaped me into the person I am today.

I was a fat kid. Not in the way that a little kid gets kinda chubby before they hit their next growth spurt, but most of my life I was really overweight. What I experienced as a result of being overweight formed a good majority of who I am now.

I have severe social anxiety and I’ve dealt with it since elementary school without knowing that it had a name. There are various factors that have molded my specific social anxiety but I attribute it most to how I was treated because of my weight. The first memory I have of that treatment is being in second grade and showing up to school in new denim shorts.

As I confidently walked past a group of fifth-graders they pointed and laughed at how “fat” I was and it completely destroyed me. Now just over a decade later, when I am alone and feeling vulnerable and am faced with a group of unfamiliar people laughing nearby, I feel like they’re laughing at me. I know this sounds extremely narcissistic and irrational and I even say to myself, ‘You are being absolutely ridiculous, they do not give a damn about you.’ But my rational mind never wins that argument.

I can recollect instances in middle school of being called “fat ass” and “thunder thighs,” being asked by a relative, “Do you really need to eat that?” and being told that I’d never look like everyone else. These things are why I struggle to connect with new people, why I break out in hives and tear up when I’m forced to engage in public speaking, why some days I’m so scared to be judged that I don’t want to leave my room and why I sometimes can’t even eat in front of anyone that isn’t my boyfriend.

Physically, now I’m healthy but I definitely skip the gym more than I should. I’m what some might label as curvy but not in the way that’s so trendy right now. I do not have a six pack to go along with my big butt. When I look in the mirror, I see every stretch mark, every inch of cellulite, and every jiggly bit that could stand to be toned. I will always struggle to see who I am now and not the overweight middle schooler that was made fun of.

To many people who know and love me, I am a completely different person now, but there are days when I don’t feel a bit different and I retreat to the farthest corners of my mind. Regardless I try to have a sense of humor, because my fat rolls are not going to stop me from enjoying my pizza rolls.

I am so happy for anyone who hasn’t experienced any bullying or anxiety in their lives, but those people should still be aware of it, and be respectful of it, along with any other struggles people face. It’s impossible to look at someone and know what they’ve gone through in their life. This is just a small reminder that everyone has their own baggage and we could all be a little more understanding.

Cover Image Credit: Saige Rozanc-Petski

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