How Self-Care Helps

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Social media tends to put self-care on a pedestal. It appears to be accessible only to the financially capable and those with the “time,” resources, and luxury to do so. It seems to be out of reach for ordinary people.

But as we move along this book, I hope your understanding of self-care will move beyond what is visible to your eyes. That’s why we delve into both the science and soul of self-care. I hope that you may acquire new meaning and concepts that will manifest in your life.

Pre-pandemic, what was your favorite self-care activity? How did it help you with the daily stress you encountered? My top three are: having a mani-pedi at a nail salon or brow threading, then have my weekly assage, and hanging out in a coffee shop for muni-muni (reflection) cum work moments.

I enjoyed going to a coffee shop on Tuesday mornings. I reflected on my work and the things I needed to do, then in the afternoon, I taught in graduate school. In between, I wrote, attended meetings, or had a massage, or did some window shopping.

My workshop participants had the following responses when I asked them about their favorite self-care activities: Tagaytay escapades with the husband, monthly facials, movies, exercise, makeup, travel, alone time at home, vacations, and family dinners. These are all good! But I must be blunt with you, my friend. What used to work in pre-pandemic times may not be accessible, applicable, or appropriate in our present.

Do you realize that the more we stress about what we used to do but can’t, the more we get stressed? Lalo tayong nanggigigil. For example, I’ve heard many say, “Kailan ba matatapos ’yan para maka-move on na tayo? Kailan ba matatapos ’yan para makapag pa-facial na ulit ako?” But the things that keep us from doing what we want aren’t within our control.

Should we put life and self-care on hold because we cannot have what we are used to having? Do we wait for the pandemic to pass, or a major life crisis to settle, or hold back for the IG-worthy reality to be in place before we embrace new ways of self-care? What if things don’t unfold the way we want to? What if life keeps giving us lemons? What if there are too many difficulties beyond our control? When do we redefine our self-care? Paano kapag hindi natapos, hindi na ba natin aasikasuhin ang mga sarili natin?

Jing, my good friend cum editor, and I were chatting about some people during the lockdowns who haven’t been able to move on. (As of this writing, we are almost two years into the pandemic.) How about you?

*This excerpt is taken from the newest book of Michele S. Alignay PhD, You Can Care For You, available for pre-order of paperback and e-book copies at!

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