Self Care Isn't Just Meant for Sundays
I like to practice self-care on every day that ends with "day."
It's taken some time over the past few years to get to a place where I feel normal, and like I should focus on taking care of myself. I have to actively remember that self-care doesn't mean being selfish - it means taking the time to ensure you're well thought of (by you). Some of the ways I choose to do just that are:
Waking up early
As a self-identified moody person, I try my best to mitigate all the things that will put me in a bad mood. One of these things is rushing when I know it didn't have to be that way. And truthfully, it hardly has to be that way. I think anyone would concur that waking up just 10 minutes earlier and giving yourself extra time to get ready, or whatever, will give you a better hold of the day. It does that for me.
Cooking myself nutritious and energizing meals
I have a real sweet tooth and can be caught asking if there's chocolate around at any given moment. Now, I rarely restrict myself from chocolate in moderate portions, but I always make sure majority of my food intake for a given day is healthy. I hate the idea of starving myself in order to lose some weight or look a certain way; I think that fueling my body with things that drive it just does a better job. Also, bad food just makes me feel like nonsense.
Shutting off my phone…
...for a little time at least. I'm not the first to think of this by any means, but constant inundations of texts, emails, social notifications just do something to shake my path of thinking. I'll be in one blissful, pleasant mood, and then through a notification, I'll find myself on Instagram or Facebook reading or watching something that does nothing for me - maybe I'll start feeling anxious or stressed about things that don't even concern me. So some time away from the screen can do us some good. Too much of that screen is also treacherous for the eyesight.
Doing something that pushes me
This could be anything from washing the dishes before I leave my place for the day, to practicing Korean for more than 10 minutes in that day. Remember self-care every day that ends in "day" should be sustainable. If I committed myself to a 3hr hike every morning, I would give up before I even started. At least now I am building dedication and belief in myself. Becoming unstoppable one day at a time.
Giving myself time to feel
It's so, so easy to give into negative emotions. In fact, I did it just this past week. I was sick, and my period was impending, and I was in a different country where I had to work extra hard to communicate simple things, and I didn't have Wi-Fi in my apartment (which isn't unbearable as much as it is just inconvenient) - so I gave into those negative emotions. But you know what? I gave myself time to feel them. I hate, hate, hate feeling negative because I know that feeling negative only breeds more negativity. However, I didn't want to just act like I wasn't feeling pessimistic because pessimism is a valid feeling. I simply gave myself a timeframe during which I could feel defeatist. After that, it was back to counting my blessings.
Writing down my feelings
This is a quintessentially 'girly' thing to do, isn't it? Nope. Writing down feelings is for everyone, and it's just like writing down your goals. After all, aren't feelings and goals interrelated? In order to desire a goal or an outcome, you've got to feel some emotions about the topic. Writing down negative feelings often reduces the impact of those feelings, while writing positive emotions augments their impact - that's a great thing! I also have way too many thoughts going on in my head at a given time and can tend to lose sleep when I'm overthinking. Since this disturbs the quality of my life, I choose to write down my most pressing thoughts and end the conversation in my journal. That way I can keep my sanity and choose to think about lighter things. However, if those pressing thoughts require external consultation, I'll take 'em there. I'm only human and can't handle everything myself.
As a youngster, in the evenings when I was too wound up to sleep, my mom would tell me to take a shower - that I would feel better. I hated (and still hate) bathrooms and being wet in general, so I rarely heeded her advice. But as an adult, I realize she is definitely right. There is something soothing about showering and keeping clean in general. It's like pressing the reset button on anything I'm doing. That also goes for simply washing my hands throughout the day. It's as if along with the bacteria down the drain goes whatever is stressing me at the moment. From that clean slate, I can start a new day, new thought, new attitude. I also don't have to worry about smelling or having bad skin!
So those are a few of many things I do to invite self-care into my life. If I don't do it, who will? How do you practice self-care?
P.S. My girlfriend and I recorded a podcast episode on Self Care. Here it is below.