To Learning the True Value of Self-Care
Self care tip #1: Remember to hit save from time-to-time so your entire draft isn't deleted — making you screech like a pterodactyl, curse at the Gods, and want to give up on writing altogether for three days. *Rant over* Okay, take two:
Today, we're talking self-care, baby! More specifically, how un-plugging long enough to data-dump can clear the mental fog swirling around our heads. Taking a little me-time isn't just for the stay-at-home mommies in search of thirty seconds of peace for a quick glass of a red blend and maybe a Twizzler or two — although, they're probably the most-deserving. This time should be built into everyone's schedule, because, "Mental strife, shitty life!" (Yeah, not even I think that one will stick. 👀)
As an introvert, I have zero qualms in staying-in on Friday nights (especially after a long week), electing to Netflix and chill solo, or shutting the world out for a given period of time — and I've grown quite fond of the Irish exit. To me, these are just a few of the staples in my self-care regimen. But self-care is more than few minutes of solitude here and there, or in my case, 23/7.
It's important to understand three things about self-care:
1. What does it all mean?! But seriously, what is it?
While self-care looks different to everyone, the thought behind it is the same: to do something for yourself that will, not only make you happy, but assist in a recharge as well. Thing about it this way: in a typical day you commute to the office, crank through reports for your boss, dash to meetings, and so on. After work, you may meet up with friends for Happy Hour at your favorite spot, go for a run to burn off some shitty energy, or most importantly, sleep. These activities, are all examples of self-care. Blowing off steam will look different from person to person, but so long as you're making the time for it, you're ahead of the game.
2. The value in taking the time for yourself
At the end of the day, or after a long workout, what do you do? Rest! So why not treat our mental health and well-being the same way we treat our physical bodies? If we're not giving ourselves a mental break on occasion, all of the muck, worry and stress is going to begin to consume us, and guess what, screw with our physical being. Have you ever been so stressed you made yourself sick? It's real, it blows, and it's avoidable. Some time set aside each week will help in letting go of what seems to be an issue, but is actually just clutter.
3. The necessity (and art) of scheduling self-care time
There's a huge chunk of people that find it difficult to take time to think about their wants wants and needs, let alone address them. Take a look at your planner or calendar app, I'm sure your week looks like a clusterfuck too, but it's not just important, it's necessary to carve out time for yourself. You can't help anyone if you've run yourself into the ground from being overworked, overstimulated and overly committed. This week, set a goal to schedule time for yourself. Start small, and work your way up to what feels right. It may be a little awkward at first, but you'll come to love these moments.
What are some of the ways people achieve this?
As stated, it's a little different for everyone. Some of my go-to's include reading sad books, taking excessively hot baths, cinnamon rolls from Cinnabon (when I cheat and eat gluten), and binge watching a season or three of something good on Netflix. In addition to now listing why I am, and probably will be forever, alone. Here are my five favorite self-care activities:
Switching on 'Do not disturb' mode
If I could marry this button on my iPhone, I would — hands down, no pre-nup necessary. I think the addition of this feature is gold. Sure, I could shut my phone off, but there are times where I want to still be connected to the world, but not reachable. Make sense? Often, when I write for the blog, or am taking some me-time, I turn on the do not disturb mode to be just far enough out of reach to give myself the distraction-free time I need.
Absorbing the beauty of nature
Nature is extremely therapeutic. Don't believe me? Google it, and you'll find a zillion quotes about the beauty of nature and how cleansing it is for our soul. I'm not much of a runner, but I've heard that outdoor runs are a great way to process things that are weighing you down, or to give yourself a mental break completely. My ideal version is a little less physical — shocking, and includes laying in the sun. That warm and cozy feeling you get is only comparable to the first extended stretch in the morning... you know the one, so good you could scream. 😂
Redecorating (likely for the tenth time that week)
I am self-proclaimed home decor whore. I have storage bins full of trinkets and pillows galore to swap out at any given time. While I generally stick to season changes, if I'm feeling particularly stressed, I'll start moving things around until the energy feels better. There's something within me, and Joanna Gaines probably, that makes me feel rejuvenated after overhauling my space. It makes me feel like I can do anything. Pro tip: Changing up your bedding will make you feel like a million bucks. And, in the event it doesn't, that means you need more pillows on your bed... and a chic throw blanket for aesthetic purposes only.
writing (for me)
I obviously love writing. You have to at least enjoy it to have a blog — even a blog you do a horrible job at keeping up with. 😅 But writing for my blog, while therapeutic for the most part, can also feel like work, because it kind of is. Writing still acts as an outlet for me, and fulfills my self-care bucket, but it looks different than it does on the blog. Writing handwritten letters and using my collection of stamps, seals, tapes and embosser from Paper Source is one form, while journaling is another.
One of my favorite accounts belongs to Charles Chen, a chef featured on a variety of programs. His posts are motivational (and make you hungry), but I reached out the other day in particular, because I've seen him post pictures of this journal that he uses to list daily gratitudes and affirmations. Turns out, it's the Five Minute Journal, and they have an app! I've been using the app for the past few days, and love that I set my intentions in the morning, and follow up in the evening, in just a few minutes.
Carpool karaoke and solo dance parties
I am a singer, guys. Taylor, Bieber, Nicki, Mariah, Puth and anything 80s and 90s. I'm there. Unfortunately, because I'm a cross between a tone-deaf songbird and a hungry cow, I can only sing in the car. I have to crank the stereo to drown out my shrieks, but it doesn't take me long to get into it. Follow it up with some terribly timed dance moves, and these sessions are my jam, literally. The silliness makes even the biggest worries melt away. I laugh to myself, (and at myself, along with the people next to me) on a regular basis. Another subtle reminder that everything is fixable in some way, and sometimes it takes a little karaoke to Britney or little Robyn to remind yourself of that.