When you think of self-care, what does it mean to you? Do you think of going to the spa or getting a manicure? Most of the time self-care is simply sleeping in an extra hour or journaling - allowing your mind to release on what it is holding onto. Whatever self-care is to you, please do it.
Over the past two years, I have had my ups and downs and finding balance has always been a struggle for me. I always end up getting super focused on work and ignore everything else in life. I stop eating well, I forget that I have people who care about me, and I stop doing all things that fulfill me.
We’ve all had times like that in our life. Is that a life worth living? Getting consumed by work and things that stress us? There is this balancing act we are all trying to find between work and life but we also cling onto our past. That’s where small acts of self-care and self-love come into play. It doesn’t take much. I used to think it was leaving a whole day for myself once a week to do these things (which I still try to do every month to refocus myself) but with two jobs, it’s not realistic.
One of the most important parts of self-care is realizing the need for it and why you deserve it. Self-love comes first. What does that mean? Well, it’s different for everyone. One thing that changed my perspective of myself was self-affirmations. I began writing down everything that I struggled with when I looked in the mirror and what I thought about myself. It was always the same thing. “Too bulky, too strong for a girl, too much fat, not girly enough, not smart enough…” the list went on. So what did I do? I made a list of what I truly am. “I AM… strong, smart, independent, caring, loving, worthy, etc.” I read that to myself every morning. And it made me believe that I was worth it. I was worthy of self-care. This made the self-care process so much easier. Why? Because I knew I truly deserved it.
Why hate yourself when you are all you have? You have one life. One body.
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL CARE
Physical self-care is important but mental and emotional self-care is something that some people miss. Being so busy, sometimes you forget to stop and acknowledge your emotions and allow them to come through. We tend to hold things inside because we need to keep going on with our busy lives. We use distractions to hide these feelings whether it is finding comfort within others or social media. This truly is one of the most toxic things you can do to yourself. “Holding on to toxic emotions is like eating the most toxic food you can think of and storing it in your muscles.”
Journal your thoughts.
Talk to a loved one.
When we think about telling others our feelings, we tend to feel vulnerable and most of us hate the feeling of being vulnerable but I can’t stress enough the importance of emotional release and communication. I won’t lie, this part is the hardest for me. I tend to hold in my emotions but I finally acknowledged my issue of holding onto pain and finding distractions. I used to brush things off as if they won't find a way back into my mind.
Through meditation, I finally acknowledged them for what they were. It's one of the hardest but most rewarding things you can do. Making the process easier, I began using Headspace, a meditation app that walks you through a timed meditation working on focusing your thoughts and allowing them to come through as well as calming the mind. Even a 5 minute meditation is worth doing - you will feel a little more at ease.
Remember, your emotions are yours. Do not demonize them if you can't understand them sometimes. Do not let other people demonize them and tell you that you are wrong in feeling that way. What we can do is learn how to control them and make sense of them.
Eating well and exercising is important but if you are holding onto toxic emotions and not taking care of yourself, deeper issues can arise causing further health problems. Again, whatever self-care means to you, do it. Please.
Take time for yourself today. Listen to what your body needs. Do not ignore your overworked body. If you need to take a nap, do it. If you need to stay in this weekend and organize your thoughts and life, do it.
20 Ideas for self-care
Write in a journal
Take a hike in nature
Throw on a face mask
Take a hot bath
Read a book or poetry
Sleep in an extra hour
Watch the sunset / sunset
Detox from social media
Rub coconut oil on your entire body (oh, so soft)
Call an old friend
Write a letter to someone you love
Plan your week/month ahead
Set goals and intentions
Meditate and write gratitude
Take yourself out on a date
Cook your favorite meal
Exercise in any way
Organize one cluttered spot
let us know your favorite ways to practice self care
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach