Self Care is simply the art of taking good care of yourself. Sometimes we tend to over commit to work, activities, etc. Taking care of ourselves doesn’t mean being overly selfish, it just means that you are making sure that you are a priority-your body and your soul. I’m on a self care journey and I’m learning how to really take care of my mental and emotional health, and I thought it would be nice to share a few self-care tips that I’m picking up along the way,so here we go:
Love Letters: I started writing little love letters ,notes and poems to myself in April this year, and it is one of the best things I started doing for myself. Receiving compliments and words of affirmation from others is wonderful, but learning to do that for yourself -is a priceless gift.
Journaling: For me,writing is both therapeutic and cathartic and it is better to have your thoughts expressed on paper rather than bottling them up inside. You can write daily or weekly, but I find that what works for me is writing just before bedtime. I feel more relaxed and I can reflect more clearly about my day.
Boundaries: We all need some boundaries, in our professional,personal and social lives. It always helps to create , maintain and protect your own space,and get others to respect it.When creating a boundary,either physical or emotional,make sure to be respectful, calm,but firm about it.You don’t owe anyone an explanation about these boundaries, they are necessary for your self-preservation.
Unplug: I think that once in a while ,it is so necessary to unplug from social media. Facebook is great for catching up with your network, but sometimes oversharing of others can get to you and you start comparing your life to theirs. Last week, I took a break from social media for one week, and my mind felt fresh, renewed and clear. Take the time to switch off your phone, log off from Facebook,Twitter and Instagram. Sometimes I ask a friend to change my password for me and then…oh wait..is that just me? Okay, well it works, especially if you tend to be a bit of a social media addict like I am .
Learn to be alone: Being alone isn’t the same thing as being lonely. It’s nice to be around friends, family and people who care, but if you have to know more about yourself, you have to seek solitude for a while. Think of it as learning to be your own best friend, take yourself out on dates, solo-trips,spend time with yourself, get to know YOU, you’re a pretty awesome person after all.
Aromatherapy: I love scented candles and incense. My favorite scents are lavender, jasmine, and sandalwood. They calm your nerves and your senses,and they just make you feel happier immediately. If you live in Sub-Saharan Africa,like I do, and experience frequent power cuts , like I do, invest in some nice scented candles-they’ll provide soft lighting and soothing scents.
Prioritize Relationships: This means that you should always create space for the people who matter the most in your life and who care for you and cut out the negative and toxic energy from your life by cutting off negative and toxic people-it’s really that simple. Invest in fruitful and meaningful relationships;call your mum,send your BFF a funny Whatsapp message, create playtime with your child,etc.
Practice Mindfulness:Pay attention to the present…savor the taste of the ginger spice in your chicken stew, soak in the scent of your herbal jasmine green tea, take deep breaths, don’t smack on your moisturizer on your body as if you are battering yourself, gently rub it in soothingly on your skin- pay attention to flavors and textures,let your senses work.Mindfulness takes a lot of practice, but it does improve your physical and mental health.
Your Body is a Temple: A huge part of a self care routine is taking care of your body and being careful with what you fuel it with. I’ve struggled a lot with this, because I tend to love foods that are not necessarily good for my body- Indomie noodles, coffee,etc. I try to increase my intake of fruits -fruits are happy foods. Also, good hygiene and clean clothes instantly make you feel happier about yourself. Think of a temple- a sacred space, and then replace that with your body-take really good care of it.
Be Grateful: This is also a part of being positive and optimistic about life. Count the wonderful things you currently have in your life and imagine what it would be like to NOT have them.
Don’t Compare: Don’t compare your current situation to someone else’s. We are all on different journeys and different paths. If you feel jealousy ,envy or feelings of inadequacy setting in, remember that you are unique and that there can only be one of each person. it would help to also write down your goals and check them from time to time. I’m not a huge fan of “5 Year Plans” because life is a tapestry and you weave it as you go along. However, focus on your journey and don’t be distracted by someone else’s.
Live a Creative Life: Find your inner child. Remember those silly pictures you used to draw when you were five years old? Who says you can’t draw them now? Find time to just be silly and to also be creative. Do some artwork-painting, drawing, get a coloring book, dance, cook,play an instrument,sing during shower time ( even you sound hideous,in the shower, you are Beyoncé )make paper planes, knit, crotchet,anything that requires you to CREATE something.
Remember, self care is a journey, and it takes some practice, but it is so important that in the midst of the noise and drama that life could offer-you are checking in with yourself.How you doin’?