My definition of self care is pretty simple. Self care is simply loving on yourself, showing care and concern for your mind, body, and soul. Self care isn’t selfish, it’s necessary. In our homes and on our jobs we’re constantly considering and taking care of everything and everyone. While caught up in all the hustle and bustle it’s so easy to neglect our needs and desires. Amongst many things, self care is a defense against being taking over (or under) by the many stressors of simply living life. Self care allows us to slow down, take a breath, redirect our thinking, re-channel our attention away from fear and worry, and focus on the positive. For these reasons alone, self care is essential for all of us.
- Exercise : It just feels good! Well…let me clarify. Dance fitness feels really good. Twerking and whining while clearing my head and releasing the day’s stressors, in a Zumba or Just Dance class is so refreshing! I leave feeling light and encouraged. The health and fitness benefits are just a bonuses. Then there’s the not so fun exercise–toning, strength training, wogging (walk-jog). In the moment, it rarely feels like self care. More like self torture. In the moment, I’m focused on pacing myself and breathing properly, lifting a weight effectively, stretching; not a to do or to pay or to call list. I’m on break and for that I’m grateful. Plus, afterwards, I find myself feeling stronger and more confident. As a result, I keep these not so fun activities in rotation. They’re worth the torture.
- Reading: Leisure reading. Diving into well written stories, connecting with characters, eagerly waiting to learn how their stories will unfold is pure joy. Reading a good book is like going on a mini vacation without the hassle of packing. And it truly feels like a get away. It also feels like I’m turning the hustle and bustle button off and freezing time when I’m curled up with a good book.
- Plants: This summer plants have definitely been placed in my Self Care rotation. Why? Simply put, they make me smile. This may also be a sign that I’m getting old–er. I love how beautiful and resilient plants are. I wake up each morning, check their leaves and the soil, water them if need be, place some outside a couple days a week, move the curtains aside so the others can get the sunlight they need. Then I take a step back, admire my efforts, and… feeling like the king of this house I think, “It is good”. I also think, Girl…you’re about to turn into The Plant Lady!
- Inspirational Messages: Listening to words that inspire me is definitely a part of self care for me. Whether it’s an audio book like The Four Agreements or Devon Franklin or T.D. Jakes or Oprah Winfrey. Their words, messages, and advice inspire and uplift my soul. Such a welcoming shift from the negativity we’re constantly bombarded with on a daily basis.
- Music: In the mornings, or when I’m cleaning the house, or while taking a walk, or driving to work, or on lunch breaks, or whenever, I’m usually tuned in and dancing along to one of my favorite Pandora stations. Music just makes me feel happy and free and light.
- Alone Time: Being alone is so essential for my overall well being and happiness. I need time, on a daily basis, to just be–whether it’s to be quite and still, dancing around the house being goofy (“Keke, do you love me?” ), being contemplative, or whatever. Alone time is golden.
- Tea: The day can’t start without a cup of tea. Turmeric, chamomile, sweet rose, yerba matte, green…you name it. I love hot tea with agave. I’m certain I’m probably overdoing it on the agave. I’m also certain I don’t care. Lol. Sipping tea is so relaxing, kind of like a mediation of its own.
- Looking My Best: This may be shallow and superficial to some, but I don’t care. Lol. Looking my best–soft/healthy skin, healthy/fit weight, healthy and fluffy twists, eyebrows drawn on to precision, clean/well put together fits–brings so much joy to my heart. When I look my best I feel like what I am…a well taken care of and loved soul.
- Laughing and Spending Time With My Peeps : I need laughter like I need air. I crack my own jokes (corny jokes but jokes nonetheless) and make myself laugh.I watch silly shows and funny movies, listen to comedians, spend time with people who make me laugh. It is not lost on me that every time I’m in the presence of those who love and care about me (family/friends/tribe) laughter is inevitable. For that I am extremely grateful.
- Spending Time With God: Praying. Showing gratitude. Asking for help/guidance/strength. Venting. Crying. Confiding in. This summer I decided to be way more intentional about praying, spending time with God, and writing in a gratitude journal. I’ve noticed feeling even lighter and freer. I have a little area I like to call our Kick It room. There have been some mornings where I don’t say anything. I just sit in the Kick It room and I can feel the comfort of His presence. It’s wild…in a good way.
Well enough about me! I’d love to learn about some of your self care favorites! How often do you engage in self care? How do you benefit from self care?