“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde, writer, feminist, civil rights activist
The concept of “self-care” is now widely used to describe everything from having a glass of wine (or four!) and binge-watching all of Too Hot to Handle to going to therapy and practicing mindfulness. That is why I prefer the term “self-parenting.” My name is Nicoletta Heidegger; I am the proud daughter of Retrouvé’s co-founders, Jami and Klaus Heidegger, and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Sexologist. On the outside, these respective fields may seem vastly different, but both my parents and I deal with themes of self-parenting.
Self-parenting is essentially what it sounds like – it is showing up for yourself as the best possible caregiver you can be. Self-parenting starts with taking care of our basic needs – enough water, nutrients, and rest. It also includes sometimes forcing ourselves to do the tasks that are hard and that we know we need to do; those things that we feel really good about after we finally get done but often put off (hello taxes and cleaning our bathrooms).
While Retrouvé boasts top of the line products that help take care of your skin and body (one part of self-parenting), I, along with the Retrouvé family, want to remind you that health starts with these other aspects of self-parenting. If you, like me, are being inundated with news articles, you may have noticed that there are striking numbers and research coming out that are warning of large spikes in mental health crises and deaths by suicide – the articles warn us to brace ourselves for what is to come. As a result of COVID and quarantine-related stress, I have seen an expected increase in depression, anxiety, existential crises, isolation, suicidal thoughts, and overall boredom and malaise – after all, we are in a pandemic. My opinion: Let’s not wait until things are at a crisis level to begin steps towards prevention for our communities and ourselves. We live in a culture that often waits to address issues until after the effects have already taken place. As with skin maintenance, prevention is key.
Yes, social distancing is crucial right now for our health and the health of those around us, but combatting loneliness is also key to mental and physical well-being. We are already in a crisis – if you define crisis as a time of intense difficulty, then I can tell you that this is most likely all of us right now. Even before the pandemic, a 2018 Cigna national survey reported that nearly half of participating folks reported sometimes or always feeling alone. After all, we are social creatures; research on isolation highlights negative health outcomes – both physically and emotionally.
I encourage you to practice self-parenting in your day-to-day life. So, in the spirit of prevention, let’s not wait and find out how bad mental health concerns can get. Join us in starting with preventative measures today. Taking care of ourselves is really one of the only things we can control right now during these uncertain times.
Need help getting started? I try to choose one thing to do from each of these categories every day:
1. Something for work
2. Something that brings me joy and pleasure (with no goal in mind)
3. Something connected to/for my relationship(s)
4. Something active (even if this is just a walk around the block)
5. Something for others
6. Something luxurious – I am biased and think everyone would benefit from a Retrouvé DIY Facial!
Nicoletta Heidegger is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#110256) and Sexologist who works in private practice and hosts the hit podcast, “Sluts and Scholars.” She specializes in reducing sexual shame and stigma and helping people to find their pleasure. Visit her website at www.nicolettaheidegger.com.
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