[source: Taylor Hernandez]
We all know that practicing self-care is important, but knowing when we need that self-care is a whole other story. Everyone needs a break from time to time. Here are a few characters that we think could really have used some self-care in their stories.
Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Charlie is one of the most innocent and beautiful characters we’ve ever read, and unfortunately he’s haunted by his past and the love he holds for a family member that violated him. If Charlie had practiced self-care (i.e., told his parents when he was “getting bad again”), perhaps things wouldn’t have spiraled so spectacularly out of control. Thankfully, Charlie ends up okay and gets that help he needs, but some self-care earlier might have meant a better, more constructive outcome for Charlie.
Anna from My Sister’s Keeper
It’s so rare to find a story in which the character does, at some point, practice self-care. In an interesting twist, it seems that Anna does practice self-care when she decides not to donate to her sister anymore, but we eventually learn that Kate asks Anna to stop. We’d love to have seen Anna practice this self-care for herself, rather than in service of Kate.
Bella from New Moon
Bella is arguably one of YA’s characters in the most need of self-care. Bella is so focused on Edward and his family that her wellbeing falls by the wayside. Particularly in New Moon, Bella’s self-care is virtually non-existent after Edward leaves. There would have been a great lesson in Bella picking up the broken pieces and marching forward, practicing that self-care along the way.
Romy from All the Rage
Secrets—particularly secrets that protect a perpetrator rather than a victim—are poison to all those who are forced to keep them. Romy feels the need to keep her rape a secret because her perpetrator is the sheriff’s son. This secret doesn’t just impact Romy’s mental health (although that toll is just as alarming); it impacts Romy’s relationships negatively, including a budding romance.
Keeping this secret was poison for Romy. A little self-care would have meant some peace of mind and a clear path forward.
Starr from The Hate U Give
We think it’s safe to say that everyone who’s read The Hate U Give has fallen in love with Starr, the story’s protagonist, who witnesses not one of her best friends getting murdered, but two. Fear silences Starr and gives the police officer who shot Khalil power. In this case, self-care for Starr is to speak out.
Self-care isn’t the same for everybody, but it all is equally important.