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News Flash! Why self-care is not the answer to better mental health.

Self-care. It’s a buzz word these days. If you struggle with self-care I want you to know, It’s not your fault. I have been noticing that many people convince themselves that their struggles aren’t legitimate, they believe they should feel happy and grateful…

We live in a world that can be invalidating to mental health struggles and make it feel like our inability to care for ourselves is our fault. In reality, we live in a system and culture that fails us constantly.

Employers love to talk about this, which puts the responsibility back on the employee rather than acknowledging their role in making self care and mental illness impossible or unsafe. This is another form of victim blaming. If you feel like you are failing at living a happy and healthy life, it is likely not due to lack of self-care but due to many biological, social and environmental factors far beyond yourself. These all contribute to mental health.

It is not a lack of care or will power. We live in a hustle culture, one where we are praised for pulling up our socks and trudging forward and acting like we are ok, causing us to question ourselves and our experience which in turn prevents people from getting the help they need. We cannot simply “will” ourselves to feel better. If we could, the world would be a very different place. Many people are not struggling from lack of effort. In turn they conclude it must be their fault, they are doing something wrong. We need to hold space for all emotions that come along with the human experience.

It is nearly impossible to feel better until we stop blaming people for their struggles and start seeing mental health as health - something that is complex and impacted by many factors outside of ourselves.

We must take the onus off the person and focus our efforts on creating resources and support for every one of us. We are all human; we are all vulnerable and we all struggle at times.

~ Laura

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