Why Self Care is So Important & My Tips on How to Practice it.

In our lives, it’s so easy (and very common) to get wrapped up in trying to appease others. While sometimes seeking praise from an employer or significant other or our parents can be good for us and our self-esteem, constantly striving to please others can lead us to feel unsatisfied with ourselves, which is incredibly dangerous for our mental health and self-image.

We never slow down, never take the time to smell the roses and breathe. We’re always on the move for the next thing that we can do to impress others. While striving for improvement is important as it helps us to learn new things and grow in ways we never could imagine, we need to be making these changes for ourselves and not others. There is a thing called working too much or pushing yourself too hard. I know, for some of you that will be a shock. It was for me too, but eventually (especially in the last 3-4 months), I’ve had to learn to take life as it comes, rather than trying to control every aspect of it and then getting anxious and scared when things take a wrong turn.

About 5-6 months back (as mentioned in my previous post), I was sexually assaulted. This event made me force myself to take time off, so I could heal and move past what had happened to me, and so as anyone would (or should) I left work. At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do, and in my heart and soul, I know it was. But due to the economy, finding a job after taking the time off for my mental health was impossible. I’ve worked since I was 13 years old, and have had a job ever since, so this new period of not working made me feel like a failure. To make matters worse, my boyfriend and I have a lease on an apartment, and all the financial responsibility had/has fallen onto him.

The anxiety and stress from this had taken a toll on me. My hair started falling out, I started breaking out all over, I cried every single day due to the frustration and I could never figure out how to express myself properly. Because of all this, major tension arose in my relationships. Everything was falling apart, and I had no idea what to do to fix it. I applied for jobs every single day, applied to become a nanny, sold some of my belongings, and nothing really made a difference. Any small amount of abundance I received went back into the apartment because it couldn’t go to anything else. I felt hopeless.

I’ve finally started to make peace with my situation, and I wanted to share with you how I did that. Things still aren’t perfect; I still have yet to find employment, I don’t really have a source of income, and things are still stressful, but little by little I’m learning to accept the present moment and where I am now. I never really knew how to take care of myself in times of stress and turmoil, so I’d resort to anger and frustration because that’s the only way I knew to cope. All I was doing at the time was picking out the terrible things that were happening in my life, rather than trying to focus on the good that is here right now, and the good that I know will come. This goes back to the Law of Attraction, a law that I truly believe in and try to practice whenever I can (even though it’s not always easy). Due to my situation, self-care has been a crucial part of recovery so that I don’t continue to cope negatively with the hand I’ve been dealt.

So, without further a due, here are some things I’ve been doing to take care of myself and make the most out of now.

Channeling creative energy into art

Lately, all I’ve wanted to do is create. I want to paint, write, read poetry and do anything I can to channel my stress into something positive. I think everybody should have a creative outlet, something that they can do to keep their mind off of the outside stressors. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I’m not really the best artist, but being good at art isn’t the point of why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’ll post a picture of 2 of the first paintings I’ve done, but this is something that’s helped me so much! If it’s sunny out, I’ll sit on my porch and soak in some vitamin D, set out all my supplies and just paint. I never go into it with a plan of what I want to create, I just start to paint and then something ends up on the canvas. Know that you don’t HAVE to paint to channel your energy into something creative, you can do whatever you want. Painting, pottery, writing, drawing, singing, even doing a silly dance in your living room, the opportunities for creative expression are endless.

sunsetpainting

lotusflowerpainting

Taking a bath/shower

This is something that is so simple, but so effective. Since I was 14-15, taking showers to cure my bad mood has been a staple in my life. I’ll turn the water on nice and hot, sit on the shower floor, and just think about life. I’ll cry in there too if I need it, and the steam opens up your pores so you get good skin while taking some much needed me time. Nowadays, I prefer to take a hot bubble bath with candles and rose petals to make myself feel a little more luxurious. Because money is so tight at the moment, the little things you do for yourself you tend to appreciate more.

Yoga

I love to do an intense yoga workout when I’m stressed. I don’t really enjoy doing passive yoga in times of turmoil because I like to burn calories and sweat as much as I can to release endorphins when I’m feeling anxious. It calms me down and I know I’m doing something good for my mind and body which instantly puts me in a better mood. If you’re not into yoga, that’s completely fine! You can go for a run, do your normal workout routine, or even just go for a nice stroll outdoors alone or with a loved one.

Meditation

Lately, my go-to stress reliever has been mediation, because it really helps to center both my mind and body. I use the app Headspace on my phone, and they offer tons of meditation and mindfulness exercises. It’s so easy to do a quick 5-minute meditation with an app or just practicing it alone, to really allow your thoughts to be background noise and focus on your inner self. Again, this goes back to stopping and smelling the roses. It’s important to cut through the traffic of the mind once in awhile and allow yourself to just be.

There are so many things you can do to care for yourself, but it’s important to look up and try tons of different things and find one or a few coping skills that work with what you need. Self-care isn’t just important, it’s an essential part of coping with life’s curveballs. We as humans are not built to carry all this stress within ourselves with no ability to release it, so please don’t ever feel guilty about needing to take some time for yourself, because every single person needs that once in awhile. Try to do something you love today, and allow yourself to enjoy it and not feel guilty. You’re worth kindness, and you should be as kind to yourself as possible, whenever you can.

All my love,

Shelby.

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