The first exposure I had to the idea of “self-care” was during my freshman year of college, at the first dormitory hall meeting. At the meeting, our Resident Advisor told us to make a list of how we most enjoy taking care of ourselves—our preferred self-care practices—and post them on our bedroom doors so that our hallmates could learn more about our essence, about how we find inner peace.
Maybe right now, you’re feeling like I did in that moment as I looked around the room at a loss. Self-care? Emotional intelligence and self-awareness? These were all things I didn’t know the names of yet, things I didn’t understand the significance of yet and things I hadn’t made space for before—something that would become painfully obvious to me in the succeeding months.
But I learned this: self-care looks different for everyone. Whether it’s routine, tangible practices—like yoga, journaling, reading, slowing down to sip hot tea in the morning, cooking an exciting meal for yourself, walking your dog—or ideas and mantras that you meditate on during the day, self-care is a worthy investment of our time. Too often, we live into a mentality of scarcity, saying ourselves, “I don’t have enough time to do (fill in the blank) for myself and my health.”
When in reality, we don’t have time not to pay attention to self-care.
Our effectiveness in the workplace, our ability to relate with compassion to other humans, our motivation to pursue our long-dreamt-of creative projects and simple things like our quality of sleep and body functionality all depend on how well we know ourselves. Because learning about ourselves allows us to consciously move through life, gifting us with strength of character to conquer unforeseen obstacles that often arise—a reality which life seems to enjoy consistently proving to be true.
We go through seasons when we’re better at it than other times. Sometimes, our pace of life just naturally slows down and we are able to breathe a little deeper and observe our surroundings with a little more genuine appreciation than usual. But what about when it picks back up?
The healthy patterns of self-care we establish during the slower moments will sustain us to endure seasons of high pressure with enthusiasm and resilience.
Since sitting in that oh-so-tiny common area of the second floor east wing, I’ve learned that I value self-friendship—acknowledging and accepting myself exactly as I am—and a way I partake in this is by going on long walks; I’ve learned that, sometimes, a stroll around a used bookstore, or leisurely meandering down aisles of a grocery store are all I need to remind myself of my love of writing and the force inside of me that longs to be vibrant, strong and loved. Seems silly, but it’s my truth.
So, what about you? What’s your truth?
Take some time to be alone and ask yourself the question my freshman RA asked me: how do you find inner peace? How do you rejuvenate? When you come to the end of the day and realize you probably haven’t breathed deeply even once, how do you find your breath again?
Find the tangible things you can partake in daily, weekly and monthly to incorporate as rituals of self-care into your life. And then think about integrating these 12 steps toward positivity and health into the fabric of this new year:
- If it feels wrong, don’t do it.
- Say exactly what you mean.
- Don’t be a people pleaser.
- Trust your instincts.
- Never speak bad about yourself.
- Never give up on your dreams.
- Don’t be afraid to say no.
- Don’t be afraid to say yes.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Let go of what you can’t control.
- Stay away from drama and negativity.
STUCK IN AN EMOTIONAL RUT? GET OUT BY REWIRING YOUR BRAIN
If you’re feeling like you’ve been in a state of negativity recently or a rut, let’s train your brain to see more beauty and good in the tasks of everyday life.