Self Care is defined as "the powerful commitment to constantly choose activities and situations that make you feel healthy and good about yourself”. It's a very simple concept in theory, yet for some reason it's very difficult to put into practice for many of us.
Well for starters, let's take into account how much time we spend at work, time spent supporting family + friends, time wasted on social media, time committing to our side hustles, time trying to make relationships work, trying to get 2.5 meals in per day, the list goes on and on. And we haven't even started talking about how hard it is just surviving being a Black man every day. That's a full time job with no days off in itself.
With all that being said, self care is extremely important. It's not a luxury, it's a NECESSITY for our emotional, physical psychological, and spiritual health. It's also not something to feel selfish about.
So for the next hour, we break down what self care looks like for us and provide some easy ways to implement self care into our lives today.
It's no one's responsibility to heal you, except for you. So start with some self care today to make this life thing a little easier.
A list of resources mentioned in this week's episode:
- Self Care: A Help Guide by Harley Therapy
- You Feel Like Shit - An Interactive Self Care Guide
- All About Love by bell hooks
- The Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden
- 31 Day Self Care Calendar by Bashea Williams
Meditate. Take a moment every day to practice mindfulness. You can practice this on your own, or even download a meditation app. Breathe. Count to ten. Staying focused on your breath removes distractions, worries, and restlessness from the mind. Being in touch with your soul and inner emotions helps you feel more connected to the world and is a perfect way to relieve the burdens of activism and the daily stresses of everyday life.
Make a list of all of all the things that you’re grateful for. It’s important to cultivate a spirit of gratitude. Focusing on the things you’re grateful for each day will help you feel happier, more centered and more self-confident. It’s as simple as saying, “I’m grateful for…” and naming things, people and events that have occured in your life on a daily basis. You woke up this morning — that’s a gift to be thankful for in inself. Keeping a gratitude journal and writing in it each day can help you consciously give thanks for the things that make your life better.
Exercise. Of course, there are the physical benefits that come with working out, such as a better physique, but other benefits of exercise include mood improvement, stress reduction, better sleep, and a happier spirit. Incorporating just 30 minutes of exercise each day can make all the difference in not just your physical health, but your mental health.
Make room for joy. In the midst of our day-to-day activities, it can be easy to forget to make space for things that fill you will joy. Laugh. Listen to your favorite podcast. Dance (or twerk) like no one is watching. Color in an adult coloring book for 15 minutes. It can be anything that renews your spirit throughout the day.
Say no. Don’t want to go to lunch with Susan today? Don’t have time to make your famous lasagna as a favor to your friend? Then don’t. In fact, make it a priority to say “no” to any requests to your time, energy and resources that don’t align with your wants or needs. It’s necessary to preserve your sanity. C’mon, do you really think you can please everyone?
Dedicate one day out of the week as your own personal day. Set aside one day per week as “you” time. No work, no obligations — just a day to spend time with yourself doing whatever you want to do. That can be spent cleaning, reading, taking in a movie, going to dinner with your tribe — anything you want. Just make sure you’re the priority that day.
Incorporate healthy habits. Are you getting enough sleep? Find yourself drinking a lot during the week? Spend more time eating junk than clean eating? Small changes will make a big difference. Something as simple as drinking more water (and minding your business) will have you hydrated, healthy and happy.
Try something new. When was the last time you’ve tried something for the first time? Join a sports club, take yourself on a date, journal, try a dating app. It’s time to get creative! The benefits of regularly engaging in a creative activity can help make you a better problem solver, expand your sense of time, improve your self-awareness and reduce your urge to buy compulsively.