I’m awful at self-care and I write these posts as much of a thought out reminder to myself as well hoping they help someone else out there. Self-care was something I thought I knew about in most of my 20s, but something I didn’t actually implement for myself until chronic illness made me slow down and start listening to my body. Well, it turns out, my body has quite a bit to say! When I allow myself to have too much stress, I feel it very physically now with autoimmune flare ups that can last a pretty good amount of time. Self-care has become a really important part of my life that I am still figuring out and I have found there are many types of self-care that are often forgotten; here are some that I really enjoy. 👇👇
1 | TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST
This was the hardest lesson for me to learn with my autoimmune illness. I was used to being busy, busy, busy and I felt like I was semi-decent at it. However, I started becoming so tired that after 16 hours of a sleep a day, I was still a zombie. I was chronically fatigued, I ate foot in between naps, and here I was still trying to push myself to do things for others.
I’ve become a lot better, but a lot of times it just means I have to say no. I have a life long history of putting myself last and I’m still figuring this out. For the last few weeks, I’ve really done very little socially outside of walking and church functions.. I’ve spent a lot of time by myself processing and figuring out potential solutions to what my mind + heart have been telling me, getting my blog ready for my relaunch (which was a lot more work than I had estimated), and cleaning our house. In the past, I would have pushed myself to be more social, be more emotionally available, and right now I just realize I’m running on empty and that’s okay.
2 | CLEAN
If you had told me this a few months ago, I would have raised by eyebrows at you and said cleaning doesn’t feel like self-care. Well, you know what? I’ve never felt depressed about my house being clean. Having a clean home changes the way everyone feels in it and there is nothing more than I love than listening to a good podcast and figuring out how much I can clean in that amount of time. It clears my head from my current concerns, I feel like I’m learning something from listening, and I end up seeing a very physical result of the time I spent and it makes me feel good. Cleaning is most definitely self-care.
3 | PURGE
The more I’ve learned about cleaning, the more I’ve realized that cleaning, organizing, and purging are all separate processes. Having too much stuff stresses me out. The easiest solution? I start going through and getting rid of stuff that I’m tired of cleaning around, don’t need, or don’t wear. In the last year, I’ve taken about 8 bags of our collective clothing to the thrift store and I have no regrets. In fact, it helped me have space for a closet and clothes I actually love.
4 | PET AN ANIMAL
I get it. Everyone is not an animal person, but there is nothing more that I love than being able to cozy up with an animal and just love on them. I find it so relaxing and calming to be able to just snuggle with an animal. I recently started fostering bunnies because I realized that my bird prefers to have our interactions be much more limited than that. 😂. Being able to earn the trust of the bunnies and be able to pet them has felt so incredibly special to me. I have really looked forward to seeing what progress I have made with them everyday!
5 | MAKE SOCIAL MEDIA QUIETER
Social media can be something that makes me laugh hysterically, but it can also bring the opposite effect. I don’t think social media interaction is an entitlement, I think it is a privilege. I simply don’t want to share my life with everyone and I don’t want to know every detail about a person’s day. If social media is feeling too noisy for my mind or is making me feel consistently negative, I begin evaluating:
- Is it specific content that people are sharing that is draining me?
- Is it a certain person that shares content that is draining me?
- Do I just need to unfollow or unfriend this person to not interact with this material?
- Do I need to take a certain app off of my phone?
- Do I just need to turn my phone off and do something else?
Honestly, I’ve asked myself all of these questions multiple times before evaluating what I do and I’ve allowed myself to stop feeling guilty about what I end up choose as well. I’ve had months where I haven’t had certain apps on my phone and that’s totally okay.
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6 | DO SOMETHING YOU’VE BEEN PUTTING OFF
I feel like life is full of a million adult things you do, but fun things that you put off. I’ve had several posts where people say: I love that you read, I don’t have any time for that. Actually, you probably do, you’re just prioritizing other things more. When I was in grad school and working, I decided I had to give up Netflix if I wanted to have any time to read books. I also started waking up earlier to take public transit on many days so I could read books. I highly value sleep and I really like TV that makes me laugh, but I chose and you can too.
Where’s the book you’ve been wanting to read for a while? What is the meal you’ve been craving to make? Is there something nice you’ve thought about telling someone, but you’ve just never verbalized it? Well, do it.
7 | CHANGE YOUR SELF-CARE BASED ON THE SEASON
While there are definitely beauty habits that change based on the season due to your skin having more or less moisture, let’s talk about emotional health. Every fall and winter, I get walloped emotionally with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I began noticing it in college that I was a lot more emotional when there was less light outside, but I really had no idea what it was. Honestly, it isn’t a coincidence that I started becoming medicated with SSRIs during the winter.
Instead of being surprised by SAD every year though, I’m proactive and plan ahead. I’ve been walking about five miles multiple times a week and it isn’t coincidence. I need the endorphins + sunshine desperately!
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8 | DEVELOP A NEW HABIT
For the last few months, I’ve been working on something that I have been historically awful at. What’s that you ask? Oh, sleeping at regular times like an adult. We go to bed at a consistent time and I wake up around 8 am every morning now. It has been such an improvement on the hours we used to pull. I go to bed now whether Devin is still working or if I still want to finish a TV show. When I saw I’m going to bed, I’m showing up for myself and just doing it now. I used to think too much about it and I just made it pretty simple: I want to sleep and I’m going to.
- What is something you’ve been wanting to improve?
- How do you plan on achieving it?
- How can you make your new habit as simple as possible?
- Do you need someone to check on your accountability?
9 | BRING FLOWERS INTO YOUR HOME
Fresh flowers always make me feel so incredibly happy, the ones I get at the store are incredibly cheap, and yet I forget to do this basic thing for myself when I’m needing a little love. Maybe your thing isn’t flowers, but instead a bottle of fingernail polish or a hair mask. Find something small within your budget and treat yo self! I’ve never regretted buying flowers for myself instead of a fast food meal when I don’t feel like cooking.
This life thing can be a little hard to navigate sometimes, but taking care of yourself makes it a million times easier. I’ve found that when I remember to nurture myself first that I’m able to collectively contribute to others outside of my home better. I know there are a lot of types of self-care that are often forgotten and I’d love to her your favorite types.