You’ve likely heard the term ‘self-care’ thrown around a lot over the past few years. Women and men everywhere have been waking up to the importance of taking care of their physical, mental, and emotional health.
The most desirable lifestyle is no longer one of simply coping with the stresses of life. Instead we are taking total and complete control over who and what we let into our orbits and filling our own cups before pouring into others’.
Taking care of yourself sounds good, but putting it into action can be a challenge. Some of us have been looking out for everyone else for so long, we have no idea how to start putting ourselves first. Here are ten easy ways to start practicing self-care:
10 Easy Ways To Start Your Self-Care Journey
1. Make your body your temple.
You get out of life what you put into it. The same goes for your body. When we are stressed, we tend to eat the wrong things and neglect exercise. This will only compound your problems.
The first step in starting your self-care journey is to be mindful of how you feed yourself and what your body needs. Eat mostly nutrient-rich foods, stay hydrated, and squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise daily. Nobody’s perfect, but a little bit of change can go a long way.
2. Stay away from negativity.
Negative people are like a virus that spreads fast and furious, infecting everything they come into contact with. If you find yourself around anyone who bring bad vibes, it’s important to distance yourself from that person.
Protecting your peace and sanity requires blocking out any threats. Negativity can also come be way of news, social media, gossip blogs, and other mediums. Limit your exposure to anything and everything that does not enhance your positive energy.
3. Incorporate peace into your life.
There are several things that can be done to enhance your sense of inner peace. Meditation is the practice of using mindfulness to focus and achieve mental clarity. Calm and Headspace can help you learn to meditate.
Other activities such as journaling, yoga, or walking can help to maintain your mental and emotional wellbeing. You don’t have to walk alone. GirlTrek is an organization aimed at getting Black women moving together. There are also a number of yogis on YouTube to follow and learn from.
4. Take a break.
Sometimes you have to take a step back and recalibrate. The hustle and grind culture that so many of us have subscribed to has taken a big toll on our mental health. Gone are the days when you ignore your intuition and keep pushing.
Life can get overwhelming and it’s important that we know how to just say no. Take a day off from work or log out of your social media accounts. It’s okay to forego some of your obligations and pull yourself together. As long as you communicate your intentions, chill and heal.
5. Do what makes you happy.
We spend so much time doing what we have to do but so little time doing the things that we are most passionate about. Make time to do things that you truly enjoy.
Studies have shown that people who do what they love have lower stress levels, blood pressure, and heart rates, and are able to better regulate their moods. So doing whatever you please isn’t just about preference, your life literally depends on it.
6. Talk sexy to yourself.
One of the worst things you can do to yourself is engage in negative self-talk. It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you make a mistake or act in a way you wish you hadn’t. That hurtful conversation that is playing in your head will do more harm than good.
You are your own best and biggest advocate, so be accountable for your actions but forgive yourself quickly. Let go of guilt and other toxic emotions that do you no good and can manifest as self-doubt.
Instead, use inspirational and uplifting words that make you feel good when addressing or referencing yourself. If you don’t love you, why should anyone else?
7. Learn to let go.
Hanging on to feelings like guilt, hurt, and anger can be detrimental to you. It does no one any good to walk around in turmoil because of things that they don’t have the power to change.
We can’t control out pasts, nor can we foresee anything that will happen in the future. What we can do is live in the present, learning from our mistakes, letting go of ill will, and taking actions that will make our chances of success and happiness better.
8. Find your tribe and stay connected.
Surrounding yourself with authentic people who love and support you is imperative to the self-care process. While being a lone wolf might make you feel strong and empowered, being lonely can cause serious issues.
Social isolation has been linked to early death, depression, anxiety, an increased risk of dementia, and even suicide. The ‘no new friends’ era was ill-advised and is dying out, thankfully. Step outside of your comfort zone and meet new people who share your newfound zest for life.
9. Don’t compromise your boundaries or values.
A key aspect of self-care is setting boundaries and making sure that anyone you choose to have in your presence knows what they are and adheres to them. You have to be willing to let anyone who does not respect those limitations go.
Compromising the morals and values that are within you will definitely lead to regret, guilt, and even anger at yourself and the violator. Stick to your guns no matter who doesn’t like it. You’ll be happy you did.
10. Acknowledge and master your emotions.
Burying your feelings breeds toxicity, negativity, and dysfunction. Fear, anger, sadness, and other emotions are a part of life. It’s healthy to process them and express them in ways that benefit you. Every experience in life is a blessing or a lesson.
When you have sentiments that you’d rather avoid come up, let them out, analyze how you’re feeling by asking why, determine what actions you can take to overcome them, and let them go.
If you find that you are simply unable to move past those paralyzing feelings, seek help from a mental health professional. It is okay to not be okay. I am a strong believer in every person participating in continuous therapy because we all need a little tune-up once in a while.
Learning how to take care of yourself takes practice, especially if you are the go-to person that is everything to everybody. Prioritizing self may be a struggle at first, but as the weight of the world lifts off of your shoulders, you will become more and more comfortable and confident in loving yourself first.