I was a little skeptical writing “A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Care” post because I am not as consistent in the self-care and self-love department as I would like, but with the number of emails I receive about this and where to begin, I figured why the fuck not. Please keep in mind, self-love and self-care is personal and individually customized. It’s whatever you need it to be to meet your needs of self-compassion, self-celebration, and keeping you in a place of positivity and care. So whatever you see outlined below, be sure to tweak it to your standards and your likings. This is in no way shape or form a rule book.
Do the Basics: Eat Healthy, Be Active, Drink Water, ( and Mind Your Business )
What’s that annoying phrase? “You are what you eat?”
As silly and cliché the above sentence is, it’s incredibly true. If you eat like shit, you will feel like shit. Now, I’m not going to pull a stunt like the authors of “Skinny Bitch” did, where they basically scare you into veganism, but having some what of a healthy diet does help to avoid sluggish days, give your clear skin (which is important to us almost 30-something-yr-olds) and even aid in elevating your moods. A few months ago, I gave up sugar and excessive carbs. My body hated me for the first few week or so, but my energy levels quickly soared after that. Do I have a treat every once in a while? Most definitely! But I try to watch what I consume, simply because certain processed foods make me feel like trash.
(oh, and I’m trying to fit into a bathing suit I bought for an upcoming trip. honesty is the best policy)
Cultivate A Pleasant Environment Both Physically and Mentally.
In your home. At your office. Within your mind. The places you hang out the most should be places that make you feel at peace and safe. So if that means de-cluttering your home and getting your hoarder habits in control, do it. If it means bringing in personal items from home and hanging them throughout your office or cubicle, do that. And if it means, doing the necessary work to drop mean self-deprecating thoughts from entering your mind, by all means, nip that shit in the bud too.
Speaking of self-deprecating thoughts, it’s important you limit your automatic negative thoughts about yourself, your negative thoughts about others, and any negativity you might be surrounded with. Spend less time picking at your thick thighs, and more time appreciating the fact that you have curves. If there are people in your circle that make you feel uncomfortable in any shape or form, reduce the amount of time spent with them. Anything that is blocking your happy needs to be removed entirely. It’s a tedious and sometimes emotionally draining process, but feeling down on yourself is so much worse, and just not worth it.
Affirmations and Gratitude.
If you’ve followed me since my “And So She Writes” days, you know affirmations are my thing, and that I have kind of dubbed myself the affirmation queen. I use affirmations for absolutely everything, and so can you. Positive Affirmations are positive sentences, mantras, or future beliefs spoken to the conscious and subconscious mind, and sometimes to the universe to set greater intentions. You can use positive affirmations to retrain your negative thoughts and beliefs and to motivate you and keep you focused. This coupled with showing gratitude for what you have, or what you’ve experienced, honestly creates a magic within you you’d never want to fade.
Try this for your affirmations: Write down your most frequent negative thoughts and then turn them into positive ones. I have some more detail and examples of doing this within this post , but start small maybe two a week, and repeat the new and improved positive thoughts to yourself every morning and whenever your mind tries to dig up the negative version. Watch how quickly the positive affirmation becomes your new automatic thought!
Try this for practicing thankfulness: Try to find something to be thankful for daily and create a list. And when you feel doubtful of all that you have, take a look over your previous gratitude lists for that reminder you need to remain thankful.
Become Your Own Hype Man
Nobody will root for you the way that you will root for you! Not your mama or your best friend… though both my mother and best friend do come pretty close to it. When loving yourself, and pushing yourself towards goals and greatness, you need to assume the role of being your own cheerleader. Become Diddy to your bad ass self!
How can you do this? Well start by talking yourself into opportunities instead of out them. Strip your inner mean bully of her self-doubt. Next, be the pep talk you need! Speak to yourself how you’d speak to your best friend: with compassion, understanding, and encouragement. You can do this out loud like I do (in the shower), or in your journal, but remember always to speak kindly to yourself.
(And here’s a little secret: this is exactly how “Phenomenal Yetti” came about, and when I sign anything as “Phenomenal Yetti”, I have probably written everything in my best Diddy impression. I ain’t ashamed!)
(Gasp) Disconnect from your social media? Yep. Disconnect that sh*t if:
- You’re ever stuck in a state where you’re constantly comparing yourself to others.
- What you’re consuming from your timeline leaves you constantly feeling anxious, sad, or angry.
- Using social media is distracting you from being good to you (or getting some work done)
I periodically take breaks from all of my social media accounts because… consuming the world’s bullshit gets a little too much for me, especially now that Trump is wreaking havoc in the land of sometimes free. In fact, by the time this is posted, I’ll most likely be on a hiatus from Twitter and Instagram.
For me, disconnecting just means not logging into my accounts. Seeing as I’m a blogger, my social media accounts are my main channels for distributing my posts, so I opt to schedule out my posts and my marketing through CoSchedule, and by-pass logging into my accounts and seeing any feeds. For those of you that are not using social media for work purposes or simple have no self-control, you can temporarily disable your accounts or keep them up and uninstall the apps from your phone. It’s not a permanent goodbye, just a little mental escape to reset and focus on what is important. (That’s you by the way!)
Schedule “Me” Time
Put time on your calendar for some alone time with yourself! It could be meditating, exercising, or curling up with a book. It could be your bi-weekly manicure and pedicure appointment. Make it priority to cater to the alone time your mind and spirit needs.
If you can’t dedicate an entire day, break it up! I used to give myself 30 minutes in the morning to meditate or journal. Something about starting my day with a peaceful intention kept me calm most of the day. And every two week, it’s me, my nails, and the massage chair at my nail spot.
Feel Good Routine
I made this the last one because you can use all the above to do this and it pretty much sums this beginner’s guide to self-care and self-love! I know I’ve touched upon a “Feel Good Routine” a few years ago, but it still works for me today, and hopefully bringing it up again will help someone else too!
A Feel Good Routine, is a method that is composed of all different types of activities you can do (like the above stuff!) that help in making you, well, feel good! The easiest way to begin is to list out everything your like to do that puts you in good spirits (and isn’t promoting any kind of negativity towards you or other people) and then mix and match them for those off days.
I have two go to “Feel Good” routines: one for home and one for when I am out and about. Affirmations are always a part of my routine. I write some out if I am at home or in the office, or repeat a few to myself if I am unable to jot some down. I also include music. For example, I fell in love with the R.Kelly Love Letter Album (don’t ask) in 2013. Something about it makes me happy and calm, so I listen to it from time to time. Or anything Lil Kim, because who doesn’t feel like a bad bitch when belting out Lil Kim lyrics.
You don’t have to publicize this list, it’s made specifically for you. The purpose of this list is so you can feel like the best you possible when physical and emotional grey skies are looming.
And there you have it, a few steps to get you going on your self-care and self-love journey!
What else would you guys include in A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Care?