The journey to self-care and healing is easier for some folks.
Some people are mindful, pay attention to signage and there is a linear path through the barrage of distractions our modernity throws at us.
Some people are aware enough to navigate through the day. Reflection is an afterthought. Action towards self-improvement is a second plate a la ‘maybe after I’ve performed this emotional labor for xyz I’ll be able to focus on myself’.
Well, I’m the latter.
& I’m here to tell you: I will not be able to take care of my son, to the best of my abilities, if I do not tend to myself.
Too many times I’ve wanted to write, but the fear of not making a perfect article or being relatable puts me off to the entire process…, I have to appreciate the process, just as much as I appreciate the destination or end goal.
I’m trying to cut corners and create a perfect article or craft project and I, simply, haven’t put in the leg work or research to do these meaningful tasks. It gets even worse when I think about how I expect relationships to be perfect when I can barely commit to being present or use my sense to actively listen to the people I care about. 😳😒 — just acknowledging some flaws in the way that I’ve been moving about situations.
Here are my tips to self-care:
- Understand your needs and create space for yourself. This is a good article explaining the concept of ‘holding space’. I share this because we NEED to be our own best advocate. Support your dreams. Work at them at least for an hour a day. By doing a little here and there (Planning, organizing, execution, etc.), you’ll be able to notice results in the long run. It’s hard with your baby and EVERYTHING ELSE you have to do, but be there for yourself. – also, be kind to yourself & know that your needs today will differ from your needs tomorrow and that is OK!
- You are what you consume, your body affects your abstract sense of self. Anything you put into your body will affect your psyche, eating a well balanced diet that works for your physiological needs (depression, autoimmune diseases, breastfeeding, etc) is the best thing you can do for yourself. & stay away from drugs! I’m a firm believer that substance abuse, specifically artificial substances block normal bodily functioning which in turn will have a negative impact on your emotional regulation.
- Nourish yourself intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. This is dependent on #1 because you can cover the gamut in a single day. Maybe you really need to read NPR, maybe you need to find good memes, maybe you need a good conversation… maybe you can only fit in texts because your baby’s really sensitive like my son. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs gives an example of what he believed was the foundation to self fulfillment and is something I think about from time to time. I don’t endorse it, because I think it could go in a different order depending on your circumstances, but it makes assumptions on the checkpoints that most normal people take to making their dreams come true.
- Make sure your information input is equal to your output. Journal. Craft. Create. Do whatever you have to do to find balance in the amount of listening and interpreting you do in a day. This is an active attempt at finding balance in this microcosm (day) of your life.
- Create a network of supportive friends and family. Reach out to your resources. Understand different perspectives and use this to inform your decisions. & not everything is about you, learn to be a good friend to others. A part of this process is also identifying toxic people in your life. (As an aside: Don’t have your head so far up your ass, you don’t hear yourself when you say stupid shit like ‘Let’s take a selfie, you’ll make me look better’ bc you’d be lucky if your friend doesn’t slap your raggedy ass 🤣)
- Shoo away negative thoughts. Change your inner dialogue. If you notice you are putting yourself down or are consistently going through the worst case scenario, CHECK YOURSELF. You are not your thoughts! Be mindful of them and remain positive, despite your environment.
- Meditate. This is a practice in focus. You are teaching your brain discipline by redirecting your brain to your breath or your intention. Before I had my son, I would squeeze in 20 minutes a couple days out of the week. Now that I HAVE baby, I wish I would have taken more advantage of time to myself because my meditations are sporadic and the only real time I have for myself is in the shower where I can’t stop hearing cries that aren’t there. *sigh*
I compiled this list because self-care has been heavy on my mind with the advent of a familial shift and finding out about the ‘peaceful parenting philosophy‘. This is something that I’m actively approaching as an ongoing solution to breaking the cycle of intergenerational violence and pain (apparently, it’s a millennial thing).
Im always open to ideas and comments. Let me know how you practice self-care!