We’ve all heard this line — Self-care is the best care. But what does that mean? Let’s start here. Self-care is the on-going practice of protecting your body and it can be accomplished in different ways depending on the person.
There are 6 types of self-care:
Why do you want to practice self-care? Two words burn out! Have you ever felt unbalanced, overwhelmed, easily distracted, angry, unsure about simple things, or unable to make easy decisions?
These were all the signs I experienced in late 2016 after losing my mama. I threw myself into work because I didn’t want to let my team down and work was the only thing I could control.
By March 2017, I resigned from my job as Marketing Director of Radio One because I was mentally exhausted. I was fighting a battle that I didn’t have to fight. Looking back, I could have prevented this had I listened to my body and implemented a self-care routine. But you live and you learn.
In speaking with Marko, he experienced something similar which he talked about candidly in our first Soul Substance Live. After he lost his mom, he coped by working. He was able to hold things together until one day his oldest sister asked a family member to check on him and he had a breakdown.
Self-care comes in many forms.
· Asking for help
· Going to the doctor
· Hiring help
· Using a babysitter
· Social media detox
· Taking breaks at work
The key to self-care is it’s a daily commitment to your well-being. We as humans have this need to help others before we help ourselves and that mindset will eventually flip. You come first! It’s a gradual process because you’re now changing how you’ve operated your entire life.
I started the self-care process by cleansing my living space. I vividly remember decluttering. I went through my closet and sold majority of the items on Poshmark. I realized at that moment I was hoping tangible items would make me feel better and it didn’t. Every handbag, shoe, and dress I sold; I became a little lighter.
Marko’s self-care routine includes:
· Morning prayer and meditation: spiritual self-care
· Exercise: physical self-care
· Reading books: mental self-care
· Listening to positive podcasts: mental self-care
· Being intentional with his actions: mental self-care
· Spending quality time with his daughter: social self-care
My self-care routine includes:
· Morning prayer: spiritual self-care
· Exercise: physical self-care
· Therapy: emotional self-care
· Being in nature: spiritual self-care
· Traveling: physical self-care
· Journaling: emotional self-care
· Listening to music: emotional self-care
Everyone’s routine will be different, but Marko and I share other similar routines. Here are a few more.
1. Receiving adequate sleep.Yes sleep! Marko talked about his inability to shut his brain off and I knew exactly what he was referring to. Your body is tired, but your mind will not shut down. It reminds you what you forgot to do mixed with random thoughts. This is stress. Our advice is to keep a notebook on your night stand or write your thoughts in your phone notes. This will allow you to go back to sleep when it occurs.
2. Not sleeping with the television on. We discovered we’re both light sleepers so sleeping with the television on isn’t an option. Marko plays mediation music with his headphones on to fall asleep. I just need a quiet, cool, and dark room. This will help you start getting adequate sleep.
3. Being comfortable alone.Being home on the weekends would have bothered me but now I look forward to it. In order to understand yourself, you need some alone time. It’s during these times Marko and I started to become self-aware. The alone time made us able to answer the question, who am I?
4. Setting boundaries. Establishing healthy personal boundaries with people you love is hard but necessary. The saying, you have to teach people how to treat you is true. It’s not easy saying no but you can’t keep saying yes to everything.
a. Something that helped me set boundaries is when someone asked me to do something for them, I wouldn’t respond immediately. I would really think about if I’m able to commit to their request and then I responded appropriately.
b. When you have to initiate the conversation to set boundaries, stick with the facts. It’s less about how that person made you feel but more about what their actions are doing to you.
I hope some of these suggestions help. What’s your self-care routine?