In the midst of school, work, family drama, depression, anxiety, and life in general, it seems silly that one of the things we forget to do the most is take care of ourselves.
I realized that the premise of every sleep-over party I had as a child was rooted in acts of self care: Painting our nails, watching our favorite movies, eating a delicious snack we all enjoyed, spending time with friends, and generally just carving out time to have fun.
The very things I used to do because they seemed better than anything else have seemed to go by the wayside, in favor of running errands, doing homework, and being busy for the sake of being busy- and what I used to view as fun and relaxing has over time become more like a chore.
The thought of exercising or spending a day in the kitchen can feel like some impending task that I need to accomplish, rather than a thing I participate in because I wholeheartedly enjoy it.
In working towards dealing with my depression, I’ve found that it has been more difficult to tell myself to relax and enjoy something, than to keep going going going until I feel like stress itself will rip me apart.
I’ve had to make an active effort and sometimes involve friends for some encouragement, but I’m finally at a place where I can identify the types of self care that I enjoy and that I try to do at least one of on any given day.
The root of all productivity is to give ourselves a better, more successful life- to be as happy as possible- so why do we fail to take stops along the way and allow ourselves to be happy and relaxed, here and now?
Of course, moderation is key to anything so doing these things all day long and neglecting responsibilities is never a great idea- but if you are an anxiety ridden, type-A, perfectionist like myself, then you will find the challenge lies in doing what feels like “nothing.”
Here are some of my favorite ways to practice self care:
- Go for a hike, alone or with friends
- Pick a recipe, and make a home-cooked meal that involves more than two ingredients- no microwave allowed!
- Get my nails done (or DIY that shit!)
- Get a massage (Self massage is good too!)
- Journal- bullet journal, regular journal, any kind of writing and self reflection. Writing a daily gratitude log is a great place to start.
- Watch my favorite show- if Netflix asks, ‘if you’re still watching’ then you might be overdoing it a little.
- Take a nap!
- Go to my favorite bar, sober, and alone and dance.
- Take myself on a date: movies, dinner, hot tub, sleep.
- Art- I prefer painting or collaging
- Ted Talks! [Recently discussed with some friends how if Ted were personified he’d be the ideal life partner]
- Drink a cup of warm, calming tea
- Put a nice scent in my essential oil diffuser
- Do my makeup for no one but me
- Read a new book, or an old favorite
- Thrift shopping
- Walking outside with a dope playlist
- Sweating it out in the sauna
- Yoga [or what I think resembles yoga]
- Drinking green juice
- Rubbing Aveda ‘Stress Relief’ all over and inhaling deeply
- Adult coloring books
- Spending time with uplifting friends
- Meditation [Still figuring this out]
- Foam rolling
- Face masks
- Using LUSH bath products
- Do a daily emotional check in- written or otherwise
- Counseling! It’s the best
- Repeating a mantra that makes me feel grounded and confident.