August 1, 2023

How I Practice Self-Care

This topic of self-care bubbles up a (lack of) self-worth mindset that I have spent a lot of my adult life overcoming. Growing up, I didn’t see any deliberate actions from my parents that promoted showing love to oneself. I knew I didn't want to perpetuate that. Who wants to go through life not showing care for oneself? It can end up manifesting in some pretty foul behavior, and the people around you would rather you take the time to care for yourself rather than fester in self-pity or martyrdom. Caring for myself has become a big priority, perhaps because I didn’t feel genuinely seen growing up. Not in a complete way, anyway. Feeling like a kid who deserves to be loved just because…did not happen in my house, which is why I have developed many ways to take care of myself. Because I practice in self-care, I am able to give more to those around me. Some of my favorite practices are below.

My Pace After a Massage

Massage with a Happy Ending

What massage doesn’t end happily? Stop thinking dirty. Massages are not only enjoyable, the body needs a good rubdown every now and then. It doesn’t have to involve a fluffy white robe and fancy flip flops from the spa, either. In fact, I prefer not go to spas like that. My preference is a quick and (not so) dirty spa near my house. I can typically call the morning of and book my hour long massage for that evening. Ideally, I have the night to myself and plan on a cuddle puddle afterwards with my pets. Wine may also be involved after copious amounts of water. I try to make this a monthly occurrence; however, every 6 weeks is more realistic. Because I work out a lot, my muscles can use a break. Feeling too selfish? Tell yourself it's necessary for body workout recovery. I would, however, encourage you to actively practice self-care and get to a point of being ok with gifting yourself a massage. Even if it’s once every year, it’s something wonderful to do for yourself.

Trading Downward Dog for a Real Dog and a Bike Ride

Work It Out

Since I mentioned working out in relation to a massage, let’s jump right into that. How is working out part of how I practice self-care? Let me count the ways. First, I am actively making time for my health. And I’m not just talking physical health. I’m talking about my mental health too. This here broad can get real negative sometimes. My regular work outs alleviate some of that anxiety and depressiveness that I once in a while experience due to…life. Have you ever thought after a workout “Instead of working out, I wish I would’ve scrolled on my phone on the couch?” No. You feel strong and healthy and good. And you know what that does? Spreads happiness. You’ll pass that good mood right along to someone else, and that makes a better world. You’re simply paying it forward by taking the time to pump that iron. Or in my case, do that plank or downward dog. Let no one get in the way of this practice. You have one body in this life. Everyone around you will feel the positive change it makes in you.

Taking Afternoon Tea in Paris

Who Says Tea Time is Only in England?

Tea time is a thing in my house. In the 3 o’clock range, I stop what I’m doing and go downstairs to make myself tea. There is a particular chair I sit in (unless the weather is nice and then I’m outside) that I take my tea and crumpets. I don’t have crumpets. It sounded so scrumptious and posh, though. My ideal cup is made with Earl Grey. Unfortunately I have no other tea types to recommend because I don’t venture out at all. Earl Grey is my go-to, and I buy it everywhere I go. I digress. Taking tea each day is a way for me to practice self-care and intentionality. It’s a nice break in my day, as I work from home and could end up in my office for days where no one but my pets would find me. My husband might, but sometimes I wonder. My dog sits beside me on our designated chair and we relax and have tea. Even on the hottest of days, I am drinking it. I don’t discriminate with outside temperature, and I live in air conditioning. It makes sense to me and is a daily practice of loving myself.

Freshly Pedicured Toes

Mani/Pedi Madness

Every two weeks, friends. Maybe three if I really have a conflict. Like if I shave my legs (which only happens every few days) I won’t go that day. Normally, my butt is in that chair enjoying a quiet hour of getting my nails done. My toes always get some fun color, except for the couple times per year I let them breathe. My fingernails only get buffed. I’ve stopped putting nail polish on them because it chips, and those other chemicals make them even worse. The ladies at the salon know I want to sit there and quietly read my kindle while enjoying my mani and pedi. There is nothing wrong with that, either. I read somewhere that if you do want silence during your treatment, it’s perfectly fine and not wildly offensive. It's ok to want to just disconnect for a little bit. This advice has stuck with me to this day, and I absolutely make no apologies regarding this. We all need to disconnect, and we are responsible for making that happen. If you depend on someone else making it happen for you, good luck. You’ll be waiting…forever.

My Self-Care Books (Some of Them)

I Read to Succeed

Let’s segue into reading books now. I mentioned reading when I go to the nail salon, but when else do I read? Every single day. More frequently than not, I am reading two books at a time. My morning book is usually some kind of self-improvement book. There is no better way for me to practice self-care than reading about and doing the hard work suggested in these books. Reading years of knowledge and experience from others inside a single book helps me become more objective in my daily operations. Perspective is gained. Starting a book club with some like-minded individuals could help in your growth. For fun, in the evenings, I read other styles of books. Much of what I read is historical fiction about WWII on the Europe side, and now I’m into murder mysteries. Having these two types of books going at the same time eliminates a lot of nonsense, watching mindless TV, and online shopping. While I do love a good movie, I’m mostly opting to read. It’s definitely become a way to practice self-care for the past few years.

Basking in My Solo Trip Solitude

Take the Damn Solo Trip

Last, but definitely not least (and in fact the most), a solo trip is my style of the optimal way to practice self-care. I’ve met people who love taking them, people wish they had the nerve to take them, and others who think it’s bonkers. Because I’ve gone on so many solo trips, I’m here to tell you that it’s absolutely and utterly magical. There is nothing like striking that chord of independence and showing yourself how awesome you are to be with. Solitude doesn't mean loneliness, and  being alone isn’t pathetic. It’s empowering and badass. Challenging my limits has always been an area I’ve embraced. Some days I’m braver than others, but overall you will catch me booking a couple of trips per year, big or small, alone. I’d challenge you to go somewhere, anywhere, alone. Even if it’s one night, you’ll come back a little different. A little more confident. Hell, it just shows you that you give a shit about yourself. And what, I ask, is: wrong with that? I’m waiting….

Take Five (Minutes, Hours, Days)…

I don’t know if any of these self-care treatments resonate with you. Maybe you’re in a martyr mentality right now. You think that if you take one minute to yourself that you’re abandoning your family. What I know is that if you are doing that, it shows and we all know it. We wish you would take five and do something awesome for yourself. If you practice self-care, it isn’t selfish. It’s taking care of a person that no one else will care for in the same way. You’ll get to know yourself more so you can help others care for you better. By not doing things for yourself, you’re doing a disservice to yourself, your close people, and your community. Kindness to yourself bleeds into kindness to others. It’s time, my friends. Schedule that time and your yourself into something good. Just for you. I’m dying to know what it is.

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