October 7th, 2021
I’m pretty certain that you’ve heard the term “self care” before and at first glance, it’s meaning seems to be kinda common sense. Self care is taking care of yourself. Seems simple enough right?
Self care is more than just a hashtag
Research shows that that self-care isn’t a priority for consumers because 44 percent believe self-care is only possible for people with enough time, and 35 percent believe self-care is only possible for those with enough money. It has also been proven that many mistake self improvement with self care. While both seem to be on the positive side, the idea of self improvement alone comes from a place of perfectionism which is birthed from the narrative. “I am not good enough.”
So, to clarify, self care involves nurturing yourself, much like you would a baby, consistently and over a continuous amount of time. Think small changes that can contribute to the overall feeling of joy. Yes joy…and showing up as our best selves. If you are the best version of yourself, you will have more to give and to contribute to the world.
When we feel good about ourselves, we are kinder to ourselves and others. Self care isn’t reserved just for people who have hours of down time, or lots of money to spend on luxury items, expensive massages, and pedicures. You don’t have to put off self care until your life is less busy. Self care means being fully present and engaged in your life; the opposite of retreating from the world, ignoring your needs, and being depleted. Self care will energize and recharge you. There will always be demands on your time and energy, but you are deserving of a little time and energy; just as much as anyone else around you. Self care isn’t about completely overhauling your life. It’s about meeting yourself where you are right now instead of where you think you should be, and thinking about the small steps you can take to care for yourself better. A few small steps can be transformative. Here are a few self care hacks to get you started.
Self Care Hack #1: Create an at home spa
Getting to the spa can prove to be challenging when life calls. Between managing children, working, and adulting, it can be darn near impossible. Then there’s the fact that spas can be a bit pricey. I encourage you to create your own spa in your own home. There are so many black owned businesses who provide body butters, scrubs, cleansers and moisturizers. I’ll tag a few of my favorites on my social media pages (@grayspacecounseling on IG and FB). Support small businesses and pamper yourself at the same time.
Another inexpensive hack is to add essential oils in the corner of your shower or in your bath water. My favorites scents are grapefruit, lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass. Another addition to your shower than can prove to be beneficial is live eucalyptus. I’m told you can purchase the plant from Trader Joes. I have yet to try this hack, but trust me, it’s on my to do list.
Self Care Hack #2: Create a mental hygiene routine
While attending a forum recently, I was struck by a statement of one of my fellow colleagues in the mental health field. She asked, “What is your mental hygiene routine?” Mental hygiene is not a term that is often used. However, if I say physical hygiene, you know exactly what I’m talking about. All of us have a routine that we follow when we wake to groom our bodies. A mental hygiene routine is the same concept; a routine that you follow daily to groom or cleanse your mind.
If you’re any thing like the other 89.768732546% of the world, you’re first instinct when you wake up in the morning is to grab your phone (…as much as I hate to admit it, I’m guilty). Instead of grabbing your phone first thing, take a few moments while you’re still in bed to acknowledge how you’re feeling. This will definitely decrease the myriad of emotions that you experience while scrolling social media and increase your intentionality for the day. You will find that It can make a difference with how you deal with those who you encounter in your household and on job. Many of the hacks I share on this post can be a part of your mental hygiene routine.
Self Care Hack #3: Positive Self Talk and Affirmations
Positive self talk and affirmations can be powerful tools for increasing self confidence, countering negative emotions, and lifting your overall mood. People who manage to master positive self talk are thought to be more confident, motivated, and productive. Furthermore, having a optimistic outlook can have an impact on your overall health including, better cardiovascular health, improved immune function, and get this….reduced risk for death! Lissen, I’ve done you a favor by taking the liberty to list a few affirmations below to get you started on your journey to a happier and healthier you. You can thank me later for adding years to your life.
I am valuable. My value is not determined by my output. I am valuable just because I exist.
I embrace my authenticity. I will not allow others’ expectations and opinions pf me mask my identity. I am authentically DOPE!
I honor my feelings. My feelings matter. I matter. I give myself permission to emote unapologetically. Crying is not a form of weakness, but of strength and increased self awareness as I morph into my higher self.
Self Care Hack #4: Laugh
They say laughter is the best medicine — and it’s true! According to the Mayo Clinic, laughing helps to cool down your body’s stress response while stimulating circulation and aiding muscle relaxation. Laughing also releases endorphins.
I get my daily dose of laughs in various ways. My brother is the source of much of my entertainment. Then there’s my children who are natural comedians. No, like really. My day is typically filled with random text messages, Korean and K Pop references, and teenaged humor. There’s never a dull moment in my house. Then there’s TikTok. Listen, it provides me with HOURS of hilarity and that little app never fails me. Lastly, there’s my friend group chat. Whew. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you the things that are shared there. You know what? Nevermind. I don’t want to incriminate myself. Just know that most of my good belly laughs come from those closet to me.
So, with that said, go ahead and turn out your favorite comedy or watch a funny video on YouTube — it’s good for you.
If self care is something that you struggle with, we are here at GraySpace Counseling Group waiting to help you. Email me at email@example.com to schedule a session, or simply click here.