A Broke Girl's Guide to Self-Care
For quite some time, I've equated self-care with shopping trips, makeup tutorials, Sunday brunches, and binge watching my favorite Netflix shows. And while those are valid self-care practices, I've learned that self-care is more than the "treating yo self" ethos. It's more than a reward. Self-care involves being safe and secure in yourself. It's about self-awareness and prioritizing your physical and emotional health over anything else.
I've treated self-care as some kind of reward and after a while, I forgot what it really meant to take care of myself and really get myself the help I needed. Listed below are a few things I've learned over the years on my journey to learn to love and care for myself.
The news nowadays can get horrific, the negative comments and political mess can be disheartening, and sometimes the state of the world makes me want to crawl into bed and cry. Unlike before, we receive all this news and negativity as its happening, with updates coming in every few seconds through every social media app and every device. Shooting in Vegas, California fires, North Korea's threats of nuclear war, ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, Trump's Twitter tirades, Duterte's war on drug. They just keep coming and it's overwhelming.
Remind yourself that we aren't made to process so much suffering all at once and you're allowed to give yourself time away from all that pain and negativity. Turn off your phone for an hour. Close your laptop and grab a book. Turn off the TV and talk a walk. Remind yourself that there is good and beauty in the world.
Acknowledge & Process What You're Feeling
At my previous job, I was terrified of making even the smallest mistake. When I did, I worked through it, stressed myself out even more, rushed and fumbled my way to the end then spent far too much time beating myself up for being a failure. I didn't give myself time to breathe and process what I was feeling. I jumped straight to the conclusion that I was a failure and my default response was to be apologetic.
When you're feeling stress, anxious, rundown, or stretched far too thin, take a moment to breathe and process what you're feeling and why.
Schedule a date with yourself and don't cancel
We prioritize things that we consider important. You shouldn't be an exception. Make time and learn to prioritize yourself. I used to to make so many plans and promises for myself. New years resolutions, promises to not fall back into unhealthy cycles or behavior, and commitments to the gym or a new hobby. It's funny how easy it was for me to break promises to myself while I beat myself up for breaking any promises I made to others.
Schedule a date with yourself. Take yourself out to that movie you've been wanting to see but have no one to go with. Eat at that Italian restaurant you've been wanting to try but feel awkward going to alone. Try that yoga class that you've had your eye on. Learn to enjoy your own company. Take a few minutes, an hour, a day, or even a few days to yourself, to take care of yourself. The world will still be there when you get back.
A little at a time
Last year, my self-care routine involved spending a day or two every month to shop, walk around, visit the museum, and spend a day all to myself. I now realize that it would have been better if I made it a daily habit, if I set aside 10-15 minutes to focus and do something for myself. Self-care should be a habit, something built into your life and as routine as brushing your teeth.
Take baby steps instead of large leaps.
Cut out the toxic people in your life
Some of the best decisions I ever made for my emotional health were cutting toxic people out of my life. In college, I struggled with toxic friends who made me feel small and drained me emotionally. I would call my mother in tears, I lost some weight, and my grades began to slip. It took a while but I finally decided to cut them off and focus on myself, my growth, and my true friends. Everything changed and thankfully, all for the better.
Never apologize for cutting toxic people out of your life and prioritizing your health and happiness.
Don't lie to yourself
Know when you're not fine and when you need help. Be honest with yourself. Take a look at yourself and ask if your behavior, your lifestyle, and your relationships are good for you and are pushing you to be better or if they're self-destructive and unhealthy.