Self-care for me is a more complicated definition than just doing things that bring me joy. It’s that moment where my body and mind are connected in a balanced way promoting healthy lifestyle choices and physical and mental well-being. Getting to that level is a weekly task, but I have been learning to recognize my internal cues.
Whenever I feel too stressed or emotionally tired, I go for a run. Exercise gives me incredible pleasure. The combination of expanding my lungs, fabulous music and a nice surrounding is a real gift for me. I am a hardworking mom and a scientist. Some days are very busy and stressful, but I have identified that exercising is the best way to make my body and mind feel good again.
Winter is coming, and instead of running outside I will probably be spending more time with my kids and husband indoors. We enjoy playing games, cooking, or watching movies. But I will also be catching up with friends more often (I hope Covid will let us do it!). Relationships are vital to my emotional health. Being in a foreign country hasn’t been the easiest, but I have met very nice people and I am very lucky to have them around. Whenever I am homesick, I try to avoid calling my family, not because I don’t trust them, but more it’s an act of pure love. I just don’t want them to be worrying about me or getting frustrated about being so far away, and therefore, hanging out and opening up to my friends is a real treasure. Along with it, I recently learned that being firm about my own emotional boundaries is also a great act of self-care. It is not easy, it requires time to look inside myself and recognize my needs, however, I would say, it is a very necessary process to protect my emotional well-being.
Another way I like to take care of myself is going shopping - yes, shopping! I don’t do it often but when I visit a store, I can be there for hours looking around. I don’t need to buy a bunch of stuff, just looking gives me joy. My favorite stores are the one with candles, soaps, lotions and perfumes. I LOVE smelling every single one of them. The fruity/sweet smells are my best-loved ones.
Finally, I think I try my best to practice self-care, sometimes it’s hard, however the key is listening to your body. There are other things that bring me joy and I would love to have the time to do it. Dancing, oh yes, I love dancing. Connecting my body to music is a spectacular feeling, nevertheless, I never do it, I don’t remember the last time I did it. But I recently realized that dancing would make me feel unique and special again. A feeling much needed in these crazy days. Maybe, I’ll find the time to practice it again……
Evelyn has a Ph.D from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Associate at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Later, she became Assistant Professor at John Jay College (CUNY) and she currently works as a Senior Research Scientist and Scientific Communications Lead at Xylyx Bio, Inc. In her free time, Evelyn loves spending time with family and friends, traveling, mastering a new craft, watching TV and baking with her girls.