After all of the craziness that’s been taking place over the past few years in our country, the word self-care has become often used in everyone’s vocabulary. The term self-care is well…self-explanatory. It simply means isolating some time away from everything else in life and caring for yourself. Sounds simple enough right? Wrong.
As you grow older finding time for yourself becomes more of an challenge. With the freedom that comes with becoming an adult so does careers, bills, friendship circles, and love-lives. Before you know it you won’t have any real time for yourself, leaving you feeling over-whelmed and downright stressed-out.
When I turned 26 back in September I began to realize just how burned-out I was. As a young woman working intensely hard to turn her dreams into reality, you can say I don’t have much down-time. I normally work between 10-12 hour days, 5-6 days per week, and still attempt to maintain a social life. I was pretty much tired all the time, but thanks to concealer you would never know it. It wasn’t until one day my body decided to crash and I literally couldn’t get out of the bed because of how fatigued I was. I realized at that very moment I needed to slow the hell down. I made a promise from that day forward, that I would begin to take at least 2 hours for myself each day to do absolutely nothing, and take at least one weekend a month for myself.
Taking wellness days per week began to help a tad, but I still found myself feeling cluttered even when I was alone. After contemplating on why my days off still wasn’t contributing to me feeling well, it finally occurred to me I had never given the state of my mental health much thought (which is odd seeing that I have a BA in Psychology). As a black person, much less a black woman, these last few years have been incredibly emotional, and I realized it weighed heavier on my spirit than I thought. I wasn’t protecting my spirit, and I had begun to allow the outside influences of my day-to-day to affect me mentally and spiritually.
It was the norm for me to just ignore the negative things that were taking place around me, but avoiding the problems of the world only made me more numb to them, not forget them. So once I was alone, I was forced to deal with my inner-thoughts and they were LOUD. I realized in that moment that in order for me to begin to truly practice wellness, I would have to learn how to deal.
I gave myself permission to feel, and to express whatever I was feeling about a particular topic in that present moment. Unfortunately, when you’re an expressive black woman you often get labeled as angry, and no one wants to be labeled as something they simply are not. I guess deep-down I was censoring myself, because I didn’t want to be misunderstood. However, my mental health is way more important than any person’s opinion of me.
Once I fully committed to making the art of self-care a routine practice, I actually began to see improvements within myself. My skin glowed more, I became much more calm, and noticibly happier. I’ve grown into this person whose level of chill is so high, people around me often have to tell me when I should feel “some type of way.”
Now that I’ve got the art of self-care down to a tee, I just want to encourage others to do the same. It is perfectly fine to be a little selfish. Nothing in life should be more important than the state of your mental health. Be kinder to yourself. Take some real time to invest in you and your needs. I promise that once you do, you’ll begin to see your life change for the better. Remember a happy soul equates to a happy life.
P.S. Be on the lookout for two blog posts “8 Ways I Practice Self-Care,” and “The Self-Care Playlist” coming soon.