December 17, 2016

What Have You Done For YOU Lately?

Photo by CreateHerStock

At the beginning of the year I made a pact with myself to be more intentional about practicing self-care. It's an absolute necessity not only for my physical well-being, but more importantly for my mental health.

There is the obvious narrative of those who work too hard - women, millennials, under employed, over worked, underpaid, never a moment to catch a breath etcetera etcetera. The physical tolls of hard labor, long work hours, little to no sleep, poor diet, and sometimes completely forgetting to eat. We are clear on the physical tolls the desire to survive takes on the body. And while we are becoming more open about the invisible strain that is often par for the course, I believe we still have a long way to go with how we receive and react to openness about mental health issues and struggles in certain communities.

This is not a finger pointing post, and I intend to go into more detail about my own personal experiences at some other time. My intent for this post (and others to follow) in #theselfcareseries is to share small rituals or practices that help restore me either physically, mentally, spiritually or some other -ly. Lol.

The hardest bit is being consistent with the practice of self care. I certainly haven't been consistent, but I can give myself credit for being more conscious of when the need to take a moment to reset, restore, remove myself, or recuperate was necessary.

For some of us it's about too little time or too little energy after the exhaustion of a work week. But for all of us it's ultimately about seeing ourselves as worth the time and effort. It's about valuing ourselves enough to say, "I need to pour into me so that I can give my best self to my life, my work, my family... myself."

What I hope resonates over time with this series is that acts of self care are a way to practice and build self-love. And self-love isn't always about some grand expensive gesture like a spa day or vacation ( ballin' on a budget, anyone?) Sometimes it's as simple as reading your favorite book again for the umpteenth time, locking the bathroom door so your toddlers can't interrupt your few precious minutes of solitude while taking a shit, or netflix and chillin' by yoself in yo robe with your favorite beverage.

As I'm laying here typing this I'm struggling with feeling like I haven't been treating myself well. It's the end of the year and my diet has been shit the past few weeks, I've been battling with insomnia for over a month, there's a tangled and matted afro at the base of my locs, my anxiety is too damn high, and I really need to do some laundry. 

So today, I'm going to rededicate my Saturday to grooming: I'm tackling my hair and my really involved skin care regimen (yes, even more involved than the one I just posted). 

At this point I want to offer to you, whoever needs the reminder, that you don't need to feel guilty for feeling better when you think you look better. Society sends conflicting messages, asking us to "always look our best" in order for people to take us seriously, or respect us, while calling us vain, shallow or self involved for dedicating time to our looks, aesthetic, or physical presentation, and deriving any pleasure or sense of self from the aforementioned. You can't win, so I say fuck em and do what nourishes your wholeness.

It's currently 5:45 am as I type. I've been up since 3:20 am because insomnia. So I'm going to go ahead and carpe my diem by tackling this mess on my head, and in my head. Join me. 

What are you going to do today to take care of yourself? What have you done for *you* lately?

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