dreamy young african american woman resting in bamboo armchair leaning on hand

How Do You Self-Care?

By now, I’m sure you are aware that September is Self-Care Awareness Month. But did you know that self-care doesn’t have to be limited to bubble baths, manicures, wine, and other more lavish activities like that? (Or limited to one month) Sometimes self-care is as simple as recognizing when your wants, needs, and mental health need to be put first.  I loved this sentence from the National Calendar Day’s post about Self-Care Awareness Month

“Self-care knows no boundaries……It’s about paying attention to how you feel in each moment, communicating clearly, speaking up for yourself, and saying yes or no… guilt-free.”

Self-care is really simple and doesn’t have to cost a penny unless you want it to. Self-care is what you want it to be and no one can tell you how you should observe it. 

Lately, I’ve been feeling out of place at home, in my relationship, at work, and just everywhere in general. 

I felt like I needed to plant my feet back on the ground and quit floating from place to place mentally and physically. So I decided to go back to my roots and revisit the activities and things that brought me peace before life flipped upside down. 

I can’t tell you how to practice self-care but I can share what I have been trying to do and hopefully give you some inspiration for your own self-care journey. Here is how I am observing self-care this month and in the future. 

I’m Journaling. 

In the past, I used to journal daily. Every time I had a lot of thoughts or even if I didn’t have much to say, I would pick up my journal. It kept my mind free and helped me keep the anxiety at bay.

Well, last month, I was invited to a Sister Circle meeting and the host gave each of us a journal to start using. We passed this journal around to the other women who were attending and allowed them to write us words of encouragement on the first pages of the journal. These women were complete strangers and had only known me for about 45 minutes but they each wrote words that spoke to me. The common theme was: make time to do the things YOU love. 

So reading these journal entries actually led me to write this blog post because it is filled with the things I used to love but lost time for. I have begun journaling my thoughts again when I can’t find the words to say out loud or when I just don’t want to speak them out loud. When I journal, I enjoy writing after my nighttime shower right before bed. I am most relaxed and my mind is settled from the activities of the day. It gives me time to reflect on my feelings from that day and also think about the future. It is even how I choose to spend my time with God. 

I’m Spending Time With God.

I know for some of you reading this, this is second nature for you. But for me, this is someone and something I have let fall to the back burner. I have not been a good steward of my time and because of that excuse, I have not made a way to prioritize spending time with God. Now, I am making an effort, even if I can only fit ten minutes of quiet time and conversation into my day, I spend it with God.

Since I have been trying to incorporate journaling into my schedule, I use this journaling time as a time to talk with Him. Many, if not all, of my journal entries actually end up being prayers. Having this time clears my mind and my heart and gives me the needed reassurance that everything is going to be okay. 

empty book on table with candles
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I’m Reading.

I used to be a consistent reader before life got busy. Now my life has been consumed by electronics. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the internet, on Pinterest, on Youtube, Netflix, and everything else. On top of mindless scrolling through my phone. All of that constant intake of information can be draining and we don’t even realize it. 

So, I wanted a change. A more peaceful hobby so that I can take a break from the world and travel somewhere else without even moving. And I remembered how much I enjoyed reading. All of my books are boxed up in storage and to save money and space, I registered for a library card and checked out some fiction books to read. And I have enjoyed it so much. As an adult, it’s so easy to lose your imagination but for me, reading keeps my imagination alive. And this ultimately keeps my creativity alive.

I’m Resting. 

This is simple but I’m sure you can agree that as we get older and get more responsibilities it’s hard to remember to rest. I have always lived a fast-paced life, especially due to my work schedule being a little erratic. I have always had to use my off time to catch up on things people normally do every weekend they’re off.

So now, I am no longer allowing the fast life to serve me. I want a slower-paced life so I can fully enjoy every moment. So that I can take a moment to breathe and rest without being on a schedule. So I can think without there being a due date for my decision or work. I am taking the naps. I am having quiet time. I am not making plans. I am staying in the house. I am relaxing in comfortable pajamas and playing my music loud. I am doing all the things that rejuvenate me. No longer will I be burnt out. 

laptop on bed near the balcony
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I Put The Phone Down. 

If you’re like me then you have an iPhone that sends you weekly updates with your screen usage. That number can be alarming, can’t it? How much time are you spending looking at your phone? With all of the social media apps, it’s inevitable that you are spending several hours a day scrolling away. I have been trying to put the phone away and give my brain and eyes a moment to rest. Taking in constant information (even if it’s entertainment) can be draining because your brain is always working and receiving stimulation. Sometimes it is okay to just put the phone down and take a break. 

I’m Decluttering and Reorganizing. 

This one has been a lot tougher to do than I thought. Being that I have a much smaller area of personal space, I have found that decluttering and reorganizing the space I do have can give me some comfort and a refreshing feeling. I am constantly taking note of the things I have not touched or used in months or weeks and throwing them away when I notice that they haven’t been used. This frees up more space making everything feel larger, brighter, and new. Decluttering my physical space also declutters my mental space.

ethnic woman wrapped in towel preparing for washing
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

I’m Taking Longer Showers 

In the past, showers only served the purpose of getting me clean and washing the day off. Now showers mean so much more. It’s the reset. It’s the healer. It’s prayer time. It’s reflection time. My shower routine has turned into an experience. I have invested in different products that enhance my shower routine. My shower routine somewhat resembles a skincare routine. I have two cleansers that serve different purposes. I have an exfoliator. And I have a moisturizer and oil to finish the deal. Like I said, my shower routine is an experience. Just thinking about it makes me want to go take a shower now. 

These are only a few ways that I have been prioritizing self-care this month and I will continue to do these things every month. Self-care is not limited to a month and instead should be practiced daily.

We all have people in our lives that we love to do nice things for and show them how much we care about them but how often do we do those things for ourselves.

How well do you know yourself and the things you enjoy or the things you dislike?

Do you know what to do to make and keep yourself happy?

Think about it. Actually, write it down and save it so you’ll never forget. 

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