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How should I approach a narrative essay about self-care when referring to mental health?


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The concept of self-care has never been more important than it is now, when a pandemic has shut down much of the globe and external stressors are unlike anything most people have seen in their lifetimes.  Generally, when people discuss self-care inside the topic of mental health, they are referring to the importance of caregivers engaging in self-care.  This makes it an excellent topic for a narrative essay, because of how narrative essays are structured.

The concept of self-care is an important one. People who are responsible for helping care for those who are struggling with physical and mental health issues often put themselves on the backburner.  This can lead to a whole host of issues for the caregiver, ranging from mild stress-induced symptoms like trouble sleeping to panic attacks, heart attacks, stroke, greater susceptibility to illness, and substance abuse issues, just to name a few.  There are some important steps for self-care that people can practice, even while social distancing in a pandemic.  Daily exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and practicing relaxation exercises can all help reduce stress.  For caregivers, it is also important to focus on the positive while also allowing yourself to feel negative emotions without guilt and to get as much help and support as possible. 

Narrative essays are designed to tell a story, making them the perfect venue for writing about self-care.  Describe a time that you, someone you know, or even a fictional person encountered a time that was either super-stressful or was expected to be super-stressful.  Discuss either what that person did that helped alleviate some of the stress or point out what they could have done to reduce stress.  If you are writing it from the perspective of a mental health professional, show how the person implemented suggestions into an action plan.  Make sure and show how the steps benefitted the person instead of just showing what they did.

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