Last year, I realized that I lived 44 years around the sun without truly prioritizing my full wellness. Out of self-preservation, I would commonly respond to the question, “How are you doing?” with, “I can’t complain”, “I’m good”, or “I’m blessed and highly favored” but truly on the inside I was broken, sad, stressed and full of anxiety. I was like a luxury boutique on the outside but the inside was a thrift shop. No, negative vibes to thrift shopping because I occasionally shop there, but hopefully you can get the picture. I was known to have a stack of resiliency cards in my hand and I would often play them to avoid looking like I didn’t have it all together and quite honestly I began to believe the hype. This strategy worked for almost a year until I was diagnosed with stress induced shingles. For my 45th birthday, I started a 31 day self-care journey while making the proclamation that I was going to prioritize my wellness point forward and finally slow down and put on my own oxygen mask first before helping anyone else
Self-care is not selfish. It’s about doing things you initially don’t want to do and making the choice to do what’s uncomfortable. Self-care, as the word itself suggests, is what we do to take care of ourselves. We often associate self-care with indulgences, like a pedicure or a glass of wine after a long day. But self-care is about more than treating yourself. Self-care is the set of deliberate steps you take to maintain your physical, emotional, and mental health. It includes things like nutrition, personal hygiene, exercise, relationships, and how we spend our leisure time. It’s intentional, and it’s important.
It does not require an elaborate plan; it can be as simple as taking a deep breath when you notice you are becoming stressed. By maintaining your physical and mental health, you will likely be better equipped to handle the stressors that come along with supporting someone you care about. Developing a self-care routine is a simple but powerful way to invest in your mental and emotional health so you can continue to do the things that matter most. When we get stressed out, we tend to ignore the very things that might make us feel better, so it is important to find time to take care of yourself. It begins with accepting your personal failures then deciding to re-strategize them. It’s not about giving in to your immediate urges when that means giving up on a long-term goal. It’s about forgiving, letting go, and accepting what you can’t change. It’s also about being willing to let people down and even saying goodbye to some of them.
So what’s the bottom line? So what’s the takeaway here? Genuine self-care involves recognizing and accepting your imperfections, while also finding ways to improve yourself—compassionately. It also often means making compromises and recognizing that no compromise is perfect
For me, my self-care journey started with a prayer then moved into taking some a few intentional steps.
Like any other skill, self-care requires finding a routine that works.
Here are a few kick-starters to start your own personal self-care journey, today!
- Acknowledge things are hard but you don’t have to master it all in one day.
- Scale back, it is ok to say NO to some things and people!
- Make time for the things you love that makes you smile.
- Control the “controllables”
- Daily prioritize your mind, body and soul.
Lord, lift me up for your blessings today.
I pray that you will anoint me with strength and self- care today, tomorrow and always. I pray that you will grace me with patience and wisdom. I pray that you will encourage me throughout the day to take the correct steps to walk proudly, and behave well. I pray for all of these things in your name!