It's been a long week.
I hope y'all are stopping to take care of yourselves.
We're running around on empty. That's not how it should be. That's not normative. Society conditions you to keep running and wear exhaustion as a badge of honor. Our culture perpetuates the message that the more "busy" you are, the more obligations you have, photos doing stuff on social media, networking or meeting new people, charitable organizations you volunteer for, work accolades you get, church ministries you get involved with, sports/after school activities your kids do determines your happiness and success.
Being busy doesn't mean you're productive. If anything for alot of us, our busyness is running in place. Going through the motions, even sweating and getting exasperated as we use energy to get things done, while still making no progress.
Being ran down and haggard ain't sexy. You can't pour to refresh yourself and those around you can't drink from an empty cup
Self-care is something that you may see hashtags about, people discussing it on blogs, podcasts, or TV shows. But really, what does it mean?
In speaking at events with Soldiers and their families, I define self-care as any intentional act to preserve your emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing. Intentionality is key. It's the recognition that you deserve the time for yourself you are taking for grounding, renewal, self-compassion, and restoration. I believe that we are holistic beings. We are created with a mind, body, soul, and spirit. And to that end, as we work to take care of each of those parts of ourselves in concert, we begin to experience holistic well-being that is guaranteed to permeate every part of our lives and transform it for the best.
The most important investment we must make is ourselves. You can't drink or pour from an empty cup. You must fill yourself up.
Below are more than 50 ideas of things that you can do for self-care. I'd advise you to try a few. See what works. See what you like. See what after you try it, you crave it. See what things on this list make you feel most calm, at peace, and centered. If you try one and don’t like it, don’t stop caring for yourself. Your quest to find things that relive fear, anxiety, stress, anger, disappointment, challenges, and inconveniences is what self-discovery is all about.
Turn off the TV. Shut off your social media. Put your "do not disturb" on. Light a candle. Pour yourself a drink. Delete his/her number and love yourself. Be still. Go meditate. Don't multitask; do one thing at a time. Pray. Watch your kids play. Play old records/CDs/mix tapes. Kiss your significant other...or try something new. Go to that restaurant you been wanting to try. Practice self-compassion. Go sit in a coffee shop and people watch. Call your friend from home and just say, "Girl...." Take a sick day from work and binge on a new show on Netflix. Cry. Quilt. Make a playlist of your favorite songs and sing as loud as you want...or twerk until you throw your back out. Go drive someone in silence and sit there and listen to your thoughts. Color. Put your kids to bed early. Grab a notebook and write down some goals. Take a bath. Go to the playground and get on the swings. Turn off the lights. Smoke. Type "funny kid videos" in on YouTube and watch them. Try a makeup tutorial and snap some selfies when you're done. Walk your dog(s). Get a cookbook and try something. Have sex on your lunch break. Paint. Download a workout app and try it. Sit down during the worship service and reflect with gratitude how blessed and rich your life is. Get insurance. Do nude yoga in your living room. Look through old photo albums. Go to the ocean, mountains, hills, forest, center of the city, fields, or quiet road. Type your favorite artists name on YouTube followed by "live" or "concert" and get your life. Rearrange the furniture in your house. Go to ITunes you and take a free class. Say "No!". Get a massage. Hydrate. Light some sage. Take a nap. Delete some folks from your phone and social media streams. Stretch. Walk outside and take 10 deep cleansing breaths. Get up early and watch the sunrise. Laugh. Buy yourself some flowers. Ask for help. Go to a 12 step meeting. Knit. Pleasure yourself. Read poetry (my favorites poets right now are Rumi, Nayyirah Waheed, Warsan Shire, and Yrsa Daley-Ward). Call your therapist. Cuddle with your pet. Decorate. Take 10 of your favorite photos from throughout your life with family, friends, work colleagues, etc. and put them around your house. Lay on the ground and let the earth hold you. Cancel plans. Eat some comfort food. Scream, punch a pillow, break a glass, get it out. Connect to your divinity. Remember what matters and makes you come alive.
And if "it" takes away from your sanity, internal sense of calm, or disrupts your spirit, let it go!
In the midst of all the noise and messaging happening around you, remember to refill your cup.
When you look in the mirror tonight before bed or first thing in the morning, remember that YOU are responsible for your happiness.
I'm rooting for you.
Y'all are so beautiful. #selfcare