A few weeks ago, I shared a little bit about how I began to take the concept of gratitude more seriously and personally due to grief. While part of my emotional healing includes incorporating gratitude into my daily routine, whether that’s letting someone know that I’m thankful for their love and friendship or thanking God and the ancestors for guiding me day-to-day, a huge part that’s been missing was showing myself gratitude. Yes, you read that right. I haven’t fully committed to self care until now.
Last year, I started out with a refreshed version of myself. I felt rested, renewed, full of energy, and the willingness to tackle anything in my path with passion and ferocity. What I didn’t know at the time is that I’d burn myself out in April and then again a few months later suffering from a panic attack, insomnia, and being emotionally drained to the point where I wasn’t quite sure what made me happy anymore since I never took the time to do anything for myself. No manicures, no massages, no silent time, no yoga, no cooking the healthiest meals because I was always running — nothing. After having a real conversation with myself, I was able to discuss the year with the people that had been by my side the whole time and acknowledge the need for more balance, and more importantly, I was able to recognize that I needed to dedicate myself to self care.
Self care is a radical act of love that only you can provide yourself, and as a Black woman in this day and age, my mental and physical health is paramount if I want to live a long life full of joy. And I plan to start the road to having a love affair with myself, joy, health, and gratitude now.
Now, we aren’t all the same, and we all define self care differently because it is truly a customized plan of action. You’ve got to do what’s best for you to become the best version of yourself, and you have to do that unapologetically. Oh, and if someone has something to say about how you’re taking care of yourself, smile, know you’re doing what you have to do to be happy and well, as Beyonce would say, “Twirl on them haters.”
If you’re on your personal path to self care and the best love affair you’ve had with yourself thus far, I’m sharing five things that I’m doing in 2019 to get on track, stay on track, and find my bliss.
Commit to Healthy Eating
I work odd hours sometimes or get so caught up in work that I forget to eat. I am also someone that suffers from food allergies but decides that it is perfectly okay to indulge in foods I should stay away from even though I know better. That stops now. Besides knowing that I need to eat three meals a day, I am also committing myself from eating things that I know my body is sensitive to, and I am also paying closer attention to what certain foods do to my body throughout the month but specifically while I’m menstruating. I know that the more veggie-heavy my diet is, the happier my body is every single day, especially on days when cramps try to stop me from being great. So, it’s all about fresh food and meal prep all 2019 for me.
Commit to Exercising Regularly
If you hate the gym, working out, and sweating, we have something in common. The last place on Earth that I ever want to be is in the gym, but since I’m not 16 anymore with a metabolism quicker than the speed of light, being active physically is no longer optional. I’ve committed myself to getting to a point where I am working out 4-5 days a week. I’ve also committed myself to being less concerned with the types of workouts I see people doing because everything isn’t for everybody or every body. I’m diving in to yoga, because when I’m stressed, I hold tension in my back, shoulders, and neck. So yoga provides a safe space to be aware of that, stretch, focus, and relax. I’ve also discovered Rise Nation which is a workout space that focuses on low impact full-body workouts via the VersaClimber. This works for me, because not only am I burning calories, the class is only 30 minutes long. Although it’s an intense, sweaty workout, I feel good when I’m done, and since it’s low impact, I don’t worry about stressing my feet, ankles, or knees which are sensitive areas for me. Besides having #snatchedgoals, exercising is also keeping me on a schedule, keeping me active, and again assisting in alleviating some of the monthly pains that I endure.
Commit to Getting the Rest I Need
It’s rare that I’m in bed, tucked in, and asleep by 11 pm on any given night. I’m a night owl, but sometimes being a night owl is hard when you realize that you’re up after midnight and need to start your day by 6 am. Staying up late has led me to fatigue in the past accompanied by headaches, and that’s something that can only truly be remedied by sleep. If I’m committing to a better diet and making sure that I’m physically active, the only way that those two work is if I’m getting proper rest, so here’s my newest holy trinity: diet, sweat, and rest.
Listen to My Body
This is a simple one. If my body is telling me things through migraines that aren’t hormone related, fatigue, muscle stiffness, muscle cramps, or anything else that feels abnormal, I’m going to listen. Sometimes we know we’re doing too much but ignore that fact. This year, if my body is telling me to slow down, that’s what I’m going to do without question.
No Guilt Days of Self Care
Despite working hard for years and years and years, one thing I don’t do is treat myself to much. Sure, I’ll go out for a good meal here and there with friends, but I have never gotten in the habit of pampering myself or just taking significant me-time where I’m not too exhausted to enjoy a solo activity. 2019 is going to be different. I’m going to get manis and pedis with some degree of regularity, treat myself to a massage when the budget permits, take a nap when my body is asking me to, find a serene place to journal and reflect, really dedicate time to cooking a good meal that’s new to me, or make sure to dedicate some time to my hobbies. Most importantly, I’m committing myself to doing self care my way, on my time, and without guilt.
Self care means dedication, and although it’ll be a challenge to stay on track and be consistent, I will. Not just because I’m focused on these goals, but because it’s necessary for my health, my growth, and a huge component of self love. I’m committed and so far, I’m loving it, So here’s to health, wealth, focus, and self care all 2019. Let’s get it!