It seems like the concept of self-care is being talked about everywhere these days. Well, at least to me. I didn't realize that I've been practicing self-care for years, just calling it by a different name.
Over the course of the last eight years or so, I've been going to therapists, life coaches, reading books, taking naps, meditating, blogging, and attempting to listen and be kinder to myself (among may other things). I've gone through an evolution that was painful yet necessary. This evolution had one main concept in place: Looking out for number one - ME. So basically, self-care.
In reality, this very blog is my own personal self-care billboard! There are at least three posts on here that talk about disconnecting from tech, self help books, therapy, and how I deal when life becomes too hectic, all of which are ways I self-care.
Self-care is different for everyone, but the concept is the same:
Make yourself a priority
Make sure you take the time to do things that make you happy, calm you down, comfort you, and strengthen you. I've made up a list of classic (and not-so-classic) self-care practices that I exercise in my life, and hope you will choose to implement some into yours - you deserve it!
- Read a good book.
I'm currently reading The Food Therapist, by Shira Lenchewski. This is my way of combining the calming factor of reading with the necessary wisdom I need to gain in intuitive eating - two birds, one stone!
Side note: I recommend this book to any and all men and women who have ever struggled with food-related issues/anxiety. While I'm not quite finished with the book yet, the contents thus far have been enlightening and comforting to say the least.
- Get your hair and/or nails done.
I love getting my hair and nails done more than I care to admit. If life's going to be a complicated mess, at least I'll walk it with good hair and fresh nails. I'm a devotee of drybar and have their monthly membership. It keeps me and my mane sane.
- Drink lots of water.
Drinking water helps with literally everything - skin, digestion, energy, and overall good feels. Nourish yourself!
- Take a long hot shower.
I try to do this almost every day. Not the shower thing, that I do every day, but the long hot shower thing where I take the time to just let the water come down and wash the stress fall away. It's harder than it should be to find the time for a longer shower, but it's worth waking up 10 minutes earlier/going to bed 10 minutes later/being 10 minutes late for your dinner with friends.
There are many meditation apps these days with the sole purpose of helping you de-stress through guided meditation. Here's a good article about the best meditation apps of the year. There's also an Amazon Alexa skill, called Guided Meditations, that you can set up and have sweet ol' Alexa guide you to serenity.
It don't matter if you write on a blog, a journal, or a piece of toilet paper - writing is cathartic and will do ya good. Writing down your thoughts and feelings helps you organize and make sense of them. At the end of every day, even if it's just for five minutes and a few sentences, write something out.
- Say NO more often.
Saying yes when you mean no is not helping anyone, m'kay? You're practicing self-care when you tell others no every now and then and focus on what you want to do.
- Be productive.
We all have that one thing on our to-do list that's been on there for way too long and it's just sitting there mocking us. Your self-care trick of the day should be to get it done and scratch that baby off your list! Being productive is such a great feeling, and an awesome de-stressor.
- Watch a movie.
I love taking a couple hours to myself and watch a good film. This may be some form of light escapism, but I consider it a healthy option. The key to this one is to focus on the movie and not touch your cell phone every two minutes. I put my phone on vibrate, turn it over, and place it on a spot away from arms reach.
I don't care how you do it, but make sure you laugh as much as you can. I make sure to have some form of comedy show on Netflix/HBO/Hulu at the ready for a spot of laughter when I need it (2 Dope Queens being the personal fave!).
- Spend some time in the kitchen.
Cooking and baking for myself is probably one of my favorite pastimes (on the weekends when I actually have the time). I spend Saturday or Sunday making food for the week so that I pack my lunch (gotta be wise with the money you know - I was just unemployed for a couple of months), not to mention that it's way healthier than eating out every single day. I consider it self-care when I take the time to make my meals, it shows I care about what I put into my body (and my bank account).
- Pour yourself a glass of wine and relax.
Hey, doctors have even come out and said that drinking a glass of wine a day is good for you, it's not just me! I LOVE pouring myself a glass (or two) of wine and putting my feet up. Sometimes I'll read, sometimes I'll watch tv, other times I'll just sit there and close my eyes for a bit to sort of mentally check out any tension I may be carrying. Either way, I do it with a glass of wine in-hand and it's glorious.