Updated: Nov 8, 2018
There is this new wave floating around the internet about self-care.
It is a solid marketing strategy to target tired, overwhelmed, stressed out women. We have rather full work-loads. So when we see an article or ad encouraging us to take a spa day, go get a mani/pedi, indulge ourselves with a massage, or go on a Target shopping spree for an hour- we feel lead to do so — just to get some temporary relief from our responsibilities.
Ladies — this is not self-care.
These are band-aids on bleed outs.
Going to Target and spending more than you should — on shit you don’t need — will not cure your constant feeling of being on the edge of a mental break down. You will go back home — to your chaotic routines, and count the days until you get to have another errand running get-a-way. You’ll just have a pretty shower curtain to look at while you wait.
You know what will ease the emotional stress of every day life?
Making small decisions every single day that are good for your health, your brain, and your soul! You need to make time to genuinely take care of your body and your sanity.
Here are 6 tips that I have found that work for me. Now obviously this is not a one size fits all list. What works for me and my sanity, might not be effective in preserving yours. So just like all advice on the internet, take mine with a grain of salt. By all means adjust, modify & substitute were necessary to fit your life.
Fuel Your Body
Two cups of coffee and a granola bar in the morning, is not going to ease your anxiety for the hours ahead of you. (Full disclosure - typing this out makes me feel like a complete hypocrite. More days than not, I’m rushed out of the door and all I’ve consumed in the 3 hours that my eyes have been open is coffee & water.)
However, when I do take the time to eat a bowl of yogurt with granola and strawberries, and drink a glass of orange juice before 8AM — I honestly feel 90% better about myself and my body totally thanks me. Being the busy mom that I am — I’m also a huge fan of smoothies in the morning. They are perfect for getting my body the nutrients it needs, while also not requiring me to slow down to chew. Win — Win.
Make Time To Be Alone
This one is important. Our lives are so fast pace, that the majority of us never genuinely slow down to sit in silence with just our thoughts. I’ve been getting my toes wet with meditating this past year. It is such a simple concept. Sit down, close your eyes, and think of nothing but your breath. Easy-peasy. Right?
Meditating is not easy. It takes tons of practice to turn your brain off. Especially women. Our brains are constantly on overdrive.
I mean — I cannot be the only one who has to actually tell myself to shut up about my to-do list during sex. It’s not that I’m not having a blast, it is just that hard for women to get out of our own heads.
Nevertheless, it is extremely important for your soul to take the time to learn how to master this simple process. Your entire way of seeing the world, and all of your responsibilities in it, will shift by taking just five minutes in the morning to sit with yourself in silence.
Don’t knock it until you try it. Give yourself about 3–4 weeks of consistently meditating, before you decide that it’s just not your thing. I also really love my meditation app, it has guided meditations for every category of your life. Extremely helpful for beginners & seasoned meditators.
Write Down Your Dreams
This one will fuel your future. A written goal is way more likely to motivate you to achieve it, than if you never took the time to write out exactly what it is, that you want from yourself. Notice I said “from yourself” there. No one else on the planet is responsible to make your dreams come true. Actually — no one else, not even your momma, wants your dreams as much as you do. So you better give a shit, because you are the only one who can make your life what you want it to be.
Talk is cheap. You can tell a hundred people that you plan on losing 20 pounds, but until you put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror that says “drop and give me 50!”, you probably are just going to diet for 7.3 hours and then go eat a cheesecake.
Be Honest With Yourself
You know your limits better than anyone else. You set your own boundaries. So if you make something a new priority in your life, make sure you feel confident in keeping that promise to yourself. If you are currently waking up at 7 AM, don’t get crazy and make a new goal that you will now get up at 5:30 AM every day. Do not BS yourself. Be honest about what you want, and make a realistic plan to get there. Don’t skip the baby steps. People don’t start out running marathons, they started by surviving 10 minutes on a treadmill.
Check Your Circle
If people are not adding real value to your life, start distancing yourself from them. It is so unbelievably true that you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. So if you are spending 60% of your day with lazy Susan — find yourself a new Susan. You want to spend your life with people who get you, who have your back, and who fuel your flames. Be with people that inspire you to become the best version of yourself.
On the other side of the coin — seek out people who are different from you, who challenge your life perspective. When you find them, welcome their differences with an open heart. As long as your circle inspires you, loves you unconditionally, and gives you good vibes daily — keep it. If the people you spend the majority of your time with are not doing those things — find new people. The world is full of them.
Attitude of Gratitude
Having a mindset of gratitude will quickly and significantly improve your life & decrease stress. Which is the ultimate goal of “self-care” right? This one is as simple as buying a 99 cent notebook and writing down one to infinity things, every day that you are grateful for.
These things do not have to be anything deep, so don’t over analyze this. Start with easy things that come to mind, like — “I am so thankful for coffee. I love that I get to take hot showers. I am grateful for my comfy ass bed.” Remember that old saying that goes “if you go looking for something — you will find it”? Same goes for positive things.
When we deliberately choose to find the good in our lives, we find them. What will eventually happen, is that this process will begin to become automatic in your brain. Over time your old habits of complaining will slowly disappear, and without a ton of effort — you will see all the wonderful things around you.
The truth about self-care, is that it doesn’t really cost you a thing. By all means get a pedicure when you need it, and buy new bathroom decor from time to time, but don’t fall for the trap of marketers when they tell you that “you deserve it.”
Self-care is not always pretty to the people around you, but at the end of the day, all we truly have in this world is ourselves. Make sure you like who you are on the inside, and the world will be blessed to know you on the outside.