Self-care has become such a hot topic and borders on “trendy” to talk about. When you think self-care, you may think of taking the day to pamper yourself at a salon or spa, shopping, or even a mini vacation. All of those things are nice if you have access to, but they were not the goal when self-care was conceptualized, self-care is creating a life that you don’t have to escape from to recover.
Self-care is rooted in a quest to stay resilient
The concept of self-care was not meant as a luxury and privilege. It was first used in medical facilities that encouraged patients to retain independence. In the 1970’s, the Black Panther Party brought the notion of self-care to the forefront by encouraging Black citizens to take special care of their mental, physical, and emotional health.
This was an essential action so they could maintain their resilience while experiencing systemic and medical racism. Activist, Audre Lourde, wrote in her book, A Burst of Light, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”.
Self-care is about creating connection
When we shift away from the mindset that self-care is synonymous with luxurious pampering, we become aware of its intent to create connections to oneself and community. Only then can we truly access what is meant by practicing self-care.
The intention behind self-care is aimed at improving our overall well-being while building the confidence and resilience needed to self-reflect and work to better the world as a whole. If we can’t connect to one’s own self, we can’t connect to others. And if we don’t connect to others, we can’t acknowledge the essential work that’s needed as a collective.
Ways you can practice self-care
Self-care can still involve things likes massage, going to a hair or nail salon, or getting a facial. However, the real work is beyond that and can only truly be done when we honor our truest self, take time to acknowledge every part of our being, and utilize our growth to contribute to the betterment of the world. Below are some ways to start intentionally practicing self-care.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule to optimize rest, even taking naps when you can
Intentionally choose foods that nourish your body and brain
Be mindful about the social media you’re choosing to let into your feed and set boundaries. Take breaks and give yourself space to sign off.
Give yourself permission to say no when you want or need to. You are not required to take on more than you are able.
Meditate, go outside, maintain an exercise and stretching routine
Connect with family and friends that bring out the light and best in you
Set boundaries for those who drain you, even if they are your family
Don’t abandon your creative outlets or the things that inspire you
Eat the damn cookie!
Be kind with your thoughts by practicing self-compassion. Become aware of the times that you participate in damaging thoughts towards yourself. Notice the triggers and find ways to acknowledge and work through them.
Don’t feel guilty for practicing self-care
If you are feeling guilty for taking time to honor yourself, then the self-care hasn’t truly begun. Women especially often feel guilty for taking time to shower or nourish themselves and seek “permission” from their partner as to not burden or inconvenience.
If you find yourself feeling guilty for not being productive or for simply practicing any self-care, say this affirmation to yourself, “I give myself permission to honor and preserve my own well-being”.