By Jessica N. Gar
Self-care. You’ve heard about it, read about it, or seen pictures of scented candles and essential oils beside a bathtub when you Google it. Then you start to think, ‘It’s like this self-care thing is for white people.’
No, it is not.
Self-care is everything and anything you do, on purpose, to keep your mental, physical, and emotional being healthy. Self-care is a deliberate, conscious effort on your part to maintain your well-being. It’s as simple as drinking green tea every morning because you know it boosts your immune system, or making sure you get 7 hours of sleep every night to stay alert and on top of your game throughout the day.
Why is Self Care Important?
Self-care is important because if you don’t take care of yourself, who will? If you don’t show yourself some tender loving care, how will you show it to others? There is an adage that says, “Love others as you love yourself”. This implies that self love is as important as loving others. You love yourself by doing good things for yourself, such as exercising, eating right, rewarding yourself, getting a manicure, et cetera.
And if someone tells you that practising self-care means you are selfish, no one has ever been more wrong. You must pay enough attention to your well-being to be able to give your best to others. A healthy, happy, well-rested you will always be a joy to be around. No one wants to be near someone who is always grouchy, complaining, and angry all the time. To avoid being the latter, you need to take care of yourself.
Four Self Care Tips to Be a Better You
- Have a Positive Mindset
Negativity is not the same thing as being realistic. If you always expect the worst, that is what will come. Be more positive. Have a gratitude attitude. Focus on the good. Forgive and let go. Appreciate the littlest of things. The more positively you think, the better your quality of life.
- Don’t Be a People-Pleaser: Say No
A wise person once said that the key to failure is trying to please everyone, and no truer words have been spoken. Saying yes to everything just because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings will leave you stressed out, overworked, fatigued, and even angry. Some of those things you say ‘Yes’ to are things that go against your very nature. Learn to say no, and keep your peace of mind. They will not die.
- Figure Out What Matters to You
- Are you happy where you are?
- Given a choice, would you live in that town or that house?
- Do you want to be friends with Halima and Mwuese?
- What legacy do you want the world to remember you by?
- Is the hustle worth all those ruined relationships?
How you live is determined by what is important to you. Identifying those things gives you purpose, helps you set goals and value systems, and helps you manage your time.
- Exercise More, Sleep Well, Eat Better
Exercise, sleep and eating healthy cannot be overstated, and should not be underrated. These three things are key to a healthy physical, mental, and emotional state; they are at the core of self-care. Find an activity that you love and stick with it. Get at least 6 hours of sleep every night. Eat healthy, nutritious meals as often as possible. Your self will thank you for it.
Self-care is a personal thing, so there is no one-size-fits-all to it. Find what motivates you and commit to it. Hold yourself accountable for your self-care. The same way you wouldn’t back out on a friend is the same way you shouldn’t back out on yourself. Practice self-care, and you’ll be in a better position to help others.