I recently made the decision to care for myself. Yes, you read that right, i made the concious decision to take care of me. The decision was made after having been through a sobering year and due to a series of unfortunate events i decided to stop and reflect. This self reflection allowed for me to identify that i tend to neglect myself. Although i can care for others naturally i seem to struggle to care for myself and therefore neglect myself.
Speaking to those around me i learnt that i am not alone and it is only natural to reach this point in life. Surprisingly all the women in my life have things they do solely for themselves especially when they fall into a slump. They have self care routines and ‘selfish’ allowances that enable them to not neglect their own needs.
Self care is a form of self love. To be honest i never really understood the concept of self love until recently. Self love is something i have learnt to be important especially as a young black woman, it is important to love yourself first in order to preserve you. By loving yourself you conquer all demons, you become easier on yourself and most importantly you become accepting of oneself. So self care is an extension of self love, learn to care for yourself, set aside time for yourself, allow yourself the simple pleasures of life and refill your cup before it hits empty. Self care also enables you to care for others because by taking care of yourself and filling up your cup you are then able to fill others cups and care for them without stretching yourself thin.
So how does one care for themselves?
Become mindful and be present
Learn to focus on the present moment, if you are cooking then smell the aroma, look at the stir of the pot and just be mentally present. Being mindful does not mean that you wont have other thoughts swirling around however by putting your main focus on the thought connected to what you are doing then and there you are able to alleviate your heavy mind. Being mindful allows you to enjoy the present moment and to be happy.
Do not take on too much
Constantly check what you are doing and evaluate the amount of energy it is taking. That is emotional, physical and mental energy. If you feel a drain then minimise or cut out the activity that is causing you to feel this. Only carry what you can, leave the rest. It is honestly okay to not overcompensate. We all have limits.
Do something you love doing as often as you can
If you love sports then join the local club, if you like to bake set aside some time to bake. Just do something that is not about survival but rather that brings you joy. Hobbies are important because they allow you to do something you love and relieve stress.
Listen to your body
Your body will act up if you are stressed or taking on too much so listen to it. If you feel burnt out, take time of. If you are hungry forget your diet and pig out, start again on Monday. If you feel lethargic then do some exercise and eat healthy. Just listen to your body and help it.
Spend time with people you love
Love makes life that much better. If you have people who you love and who love you back within your reach then i suggest that you schedule time for a midweek dinner or an afternoon tea or a Sunday roast. Set aside some personal time to laugh and be carefree with people that want to see you happy.
Take yourself out
Now when i say take yourself out i mean go and spend some time by yourself outside of the house. Go to the local cafe, park, library or treat yourself to a meal- table for one. Learn to enjoy your own company once in a while and allow yourself to enjoy something without having to share it.
Buy yourself treats
Splurge on your self. Do it. Save for a new designer bag and don’t you dare feel guilty. Or simply buy yourself a pack of your favourite sweets. Whatever you want buy it for yourself. Give yourself the warm fuzzy happy feels that come with opening a package that you wanted for so long! Make yourself feel good, because you work so hard and therefore you deserve it!
Paint your nails
The simple activity of nail care (or hair care) is good for those who are constantly busy in the week. Set aside 30 mins of caring for your nails (mid week is a good time), use your favourite colour polish and file them nails and watch your mood lift. Painting your nails is therapeutic and is a form of self improvement. Paint your nails for yourself.
Take a bath
Now this is my favourite. Once a week i take a lush bath bomb and bath in the most lovely coloured water. Slow your mind down, and de stress with a nice warm bath.
Invest in a new skill… for fun
Coding is all the rage right now, so why not improve your computer skills on Code Academy. Or you could simply just learn to ride a bike or knit. Do something new and challenging, you don’t have to be good at it. Yoga is great too.
Develop a morning, night or weekly routine
Routines are an easy way to keep in check. Face or skin routine allows you to take care of your body. An exercise routine will keep you healthy, a morning routine will help you start your day of on the right foot. Having a routine will enable you to take of yourself without forgetting.
Learn to say NO:
It’s easy to say yes and to always be there for people. We often feel the need to stretch ourselves out thin to the point where we lose sight of our own needs. Dont get me wrong, helping others is important but it should not come at the cost of your happiness or take away from you. If you want to help, do the best you can without robbing from yourself. Keep it in porportion and learn to say no when needs be.
No No No No No No No No No No No No.
It’s OKAY to say no, you dont owe anyone anything however if you are able to help without it being an inconvienience then say yes however if it is too costly SAY NO.
Have an emergency Self care kit set aside.
Last but not least have a self care kit set aside. Just like a medicine bag, make sure you have a self care kit set aside for those trying days/ months. Inside this kit should be things that make you happy, like instant cures. If you aren’t into that idea then make sure you have your favourite wine and snack in the pantry for when you just ‘cant’. I on the other hand have an old shoebox with my favourite candles, nail polish, lotion etc set aside. When stressed i reach out for the box and do something for me. (I will write a post on this).
Self care has been on my mind recently and i am glad to be able to share with you my ideas. Leave a comment telling me what your self care ideas are.