Welcome to Self Care Stories, a blog series showcasing how different people take care of themselves around the world. In our lives, we often forget to prioritize our own well-being. We hope that by reading these stories, you feel inspired to build your own self-care routines because your own care is important.

Meet Syd!

What's your background?

I am a 46-year-old writer, healer, and small business owner / entrepreneur who was born and raised in Los Angeles.

What's your definition of self-care or what does self-care mean to you?

To me, self-care is about noticing the ways we are disconnecting from ourselves, others and the earth -- and finding ways to rectify and reweave those connections. Self-care is rarely just about me. It is about my relationships with others and how I am showing up in collective spaces. Am I asking for help? Am i being vulnerable? Am I listening to others? Am I being honest with myself about my capacity and needs? Although self care can look like such a personal practice, for me it is rooted in my love for others. If I am not experiencing wholeness and full-breaths in my own body, I will not be able to show up for and connect in authentic ways with others. Self care is also a practice for me of examining the ways my behaviors and fears may create or cause harm or disconnection. It's a nourishing and self-reflective practice. 

Tell me your story. How do you practice self-care in your life?

I live with anxiety and depression and have a history of severe eating disorders so for me, self-care is a survival practice. The ways it has shown up for me has evolved over time. However, the threads of practice that have been with me for the long haul are: daily meditation and dialogue with ancestors, (most days) allowing my body to wake up on its own without an alarm, spending time with my animals (currently care for a 3yr old dog and a 1yr old cat), writing + journaling, reading spiritual self-help books, watching movies + consuming stories (mostly sci-fi/speculative fiction), spending time in my garden talking to the plants and birds, cooking, and reaching out + spending time with friends.

Recently, however, I am navigating a lot of grief (going through a divorce, my grandmother died, 2 cats who had lived with me for 16 years died, a dear friend died -- to name a few things from the past year) and so my self-care game has had to be revisited. In addition to the above, I am learning how to lean more into my relationships with friends and community through being transparent about what I am going through, articulating my needs, and learning to receive the love and support that is offered in return. This has been a huge shift for me since I am a very private and insular person. However, leaning into community support and care is so much of how I am able to find the breathing space to care for myself right now.

What makes taking care of yourself so important to you?

It’s in the above answer of how I define self-care.

If you had advice to give someone else on practicing self-care, what would it be?

Shift from "what do I need to feel good or better?" to "what do i need in order to feel free?" or " what do i need in order to show up for the things and people I care about?"  Self-care does not have to be about spending money and participating in capitalism. It is about tapping into our own personal and collective reserves of resilience and trusting that what we need exists in forms we do not expect. The earth and the natural world is a powerful resource that we have access to -- whether in wide open spaces or on hiking trails or even just a tree or potted plant in a densely populated area. The earth holds wisdom for us about survival and being cared for. What might these beings (the earth, the plants, the animals) be teaching us?

This series was created in collaboration with Self Caid. To find out more information on how to build a self-care routine, check out them out here.

Jed Chun