I know you’ve probably heard the term self-care countless times. Now that the new year is here, many people refocus on self-care and try to implement more of it in their daily routines. I for one always practice self-care but I feel that sometimes the definition can be misconstrued and very limiting. Self care is not just candles and tea time and running a bath. The physical aspect of self-care eating healthy, exercise, sleeping regularly, are usually the topics people tend to focus. Why these things certainly are a vital component, self-care stretches over so many more genres that need to be tapped into more; including psychological and emotional self-care. Self-care to me is anything or activity that limits your stress and genuinely brings you peace happiness and improves your overall well being.
Learn to Say NO
Saying no sounds so easy but is usually the hardest thing for people to do. Often we take on more projects, tasks at work, etc. than we can physically or mentally handle in order not to disappoint someone. Well sis, sometimes you have to tell your sis you can’t babysit or your boss you can’t pick up that extra shift at work when you know you don’t have the physical or mental capacity to. Once you get into the habit of saying no to things without feeling pressured or like someone will unfriend you or be mad at you, it promotes a mental healthiness. Taking on too much and doing things that we really don’t want to do, but do anyway out of obligation, adds extra unnecessary stress and anxiety. Trust me, you will still have all important relationships intact, even after you say no.
Rid Yourself of Toxins– Now when you think of toxins most of us automatically go to nourishment, but toxins exist in so many facets of our lives. Toxicity can exist in not just your body, but your mind and spirit .This means a bad job, relationship, unhealthy media (yes instagram and tik tok can be toxic). Think about if you eat unhealthy and it can lead to disease, sluggishness, weight gain, etc. The same goes for your mind and spirit and emotions. Make sure you are intaking positive messages, images and not allow yourself to be weighted down with negative people and influences. Bottom line, if its not feeding your body or spirit in a healthy way that helps you grow versus destroying you like a cancer, seriously reconsider its purpose in your life.
Go to the Therapist Sis
I know, I’ve stated the dreaded word; therapy. I’m here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with going to therapy. There’s a certain stigma around this topic, especially in the black community, that needs to dissipate. Just like our physical bodies need nursing back to health in order to be whole, the same goes for our mental.
The onset of the pandemic really took a mental toll on me, so much that I didn’t know what was wrong at first. After a visit to the doctor I was diagnosed with clinical anxiety and in lieu of taking meds I talked through my feelings and thoughts with someone each week. This helped me tremendously, and even admitting what i was going through to others helped them realize they weren’t alone. I needed to be mentally whole for my sake and my families sake, so if you feel like you need to go; PLEASE GO.
It’s imperative that we don’t take this lightly for ourselves or others. Mental stability is a major part of self care and must be taken more seriously.
Nurture your Spirit:
Having a sound spirit is just as important as sound mind. Whatevr you spiritual outlet is make sure you have one and maintain consistency. Just as your physical body needs exercise,you also must exercise your spiritual growth. For some it may be meditation, for me its going to church. although the physical buildings may be closed, the church is inside of you. Be sure to keep reading, listening to worship music, spiritual podcasts, etc. The more you feed your spirit, the more you will grow and get stronger. A lot of times when I fall behind spiritually, nothing else aligns correctly. It also leaves room for negative things to latch on because you are lacking that spiritual strength and guard. Taking care of your spirit is so vital in todays world; make sure you leave time for it.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world,against spiritual wickedness in high places.” -Ephesians 6:12
Do Absolutely Nothing
Sometimes doing absolutely nothing at all is all the self-care we need. If you have a day off, really take the day off. Free yourself from feeling like you have to be actively making use of every second of the day. Many of us are over worked to begin with. Then you add on family, extracurricular activities, church, errands,dinner,etc,etc.etc, there’s hardly anytime left for you to relax. Well I’m here to tell you; the laundry can wait. Unless it’s of the upmost importance; leave it for another day.
One one my favorite ways to relax is to binge watch old tv series or random D grade Netflix films while eating my favorite snacks. I love a series with 8 or so seasons so I can watch whenever I please uninterrupted. Or how about one of those silly love flicks where the ending is so predictable but you watch it anyway to confirm the ending you already knew and how bad it actually was. lol. The point is, whatever that thing is that relaxes you, lighting candles, reading a book, carve out time to do just that.
Now that the new year that we’ve been waiting for is here, make sure that you are taking that time for yourself. 2020 was a doozy. It left many of us with high anxiety and really took its’ toll on other parts of our mental and emotional health. So when you make time for self care this year, make sure you are allowing room to restore not just your physical being. I have hope that our latter will be greater, so let’s begin to restore and refresh. Here’s to taking care of self; mind, body and soul.