Lately, I have found myself in discussions that revolve around self-care. From these conversations, I have compiled tips – shared by me and other people – on how to take care of one’s self. Here they are:
If you do not put yourself first, who will? It is okay to be selfish, to put your needs before another person’s wants. The important thing is that we are not harming another person in the process, one way or another.
Stay away from social media for a while
It could be for three days or three month. Whatever works for you is fine. You save time staying off interactive social media platforms. This gives you time to do other edifying things. Also, you don’t get to see updates that would hurt your feelings.
Read a book
Reading exercises the mind. It improves memory, concentration, and vocabulary. You also build your ability to imagine and visualise.
Start a personal project
Anything that contributes to your personal growth is a project, in this context. It is advised that you give yourself a time frame. Your project might be to learn a skill. Cultivating a new positive habit counts as a project, too. Did you know that when you do something consistently for three to four weeks, it starts becoming part of you?
Treat your personal space as Holy Ground
This means that you do not allow nonsense into your life. Inner Peace should not be on the negotiating table. When you prioritise your peace of mind and sanity, you would only want to banish things that pose as a threat to your general wellbeing. You would avoid psychic vampires, too. As Anton Lavey put it in The Satanic Bible, “Psychic vampires are individuals who drain others of their vital energy. This type of person can be found in all avenues of society. They fill no useful purpose in our lives, and are neither love objects nor true friends. Yet we feel responsible to the psychic vampire without knowing why.”
(If you do not believe in a higher power, kindly ignore this. Thanks.) In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Anything that makes you feel connected to The Higher Power (whatever it is) counts as prayer. Prayer has a way of giving you a sense of serenity. Meditation works, too. Feeling that something or someone bigger than you has got your back has a way of easing emotional burden. Prayer could be a simple sentence or a lengthy monologue. Connecting with That Higher Energy is spirituality. Spirituality transcends religion.
Listen to your instincts
Most times, we know how things would pan out before we venture into them. How often do we listen to our instincts? Life seems better when we listen to The Inner Voice.
Find things that make you laugh. Tell yourself jokes. The jokes we tell ourselves in our heads, the ones we do not share, happen to be the funniest. Remember things from the past and laugh. It helps to lighten the mood. It is another way to connect with yourself. If people use a little humour to lighten up the mood in a place, imagine the wonders humouring one’s self could do.
Conserve your energy for important things
Here, “conserve your energy” is an euphemism for “mind your business”. Energy is currency. You will not spend your money on things that do not matter to you, aye?
Do healthy things
Drink enough water. Drink tea, coffee, or both. Take deep, cleansing breaths. Eat healthy food. Move your body, exercise, and do anything that makes you sweat. Be around nature, if it helps you clear your thoughts. Listen to music, if it works for you.
Taking care of one’s self comes from a place of self-love. It involves forgiving ourselves for not being the ideal selves we have in our minds. We forgive who we love.
“Self-care is also addressing your own problematic thoughts and behaviours; removing toxic (not just challenging) people/situations from your life; holding yourself accountable for what you do and say (and apologising authentically); doing your own self-work to be emotionally literate.”
Many of us have gone through traumatic experiences. A crucial part of loving ourselves is trying to fix ourselves, undo certain damages done unto us. It is unfair to burden another person with the onerous task of piecing back the broken parts of us in the name of a romantic (or even platonic) relationship.
Self-care is a summation of things we can do to make us find Inner Peace, Contentment, and Love within ourselves. Just as the Buddha put it, “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” Really, if you don’t take care of yourself, who will?
P.S. On the issue of toxicity: I like to think everyone is toxic. We all have that one behavioural trait that rubs off on people the wrong way. The important thing is to find people who can cope with your kind of toxic and be happy together. E.g., an extroverted person might mistake an introvert’s calmness for aloofness. Conversely, an introvert might mistake an extrovert’s over-friendliness for shallowness. One would think the other as toxic. But with the right person, the story would change. The point is this: be with the kind of toxic you can cope with.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime