Happy Friday, my friends! I am officially another year older today. And while birthdays have always been fun – balloons, gifts and affection from many, it’s a little hard embracing the number. I remember those milestone birthdays – 10th, 21st, and 30th .. and while I understand turning 38 isn’t a milestone, it does inch me closer to a number I really am not ready for. That big 4-0 gets closer and closer every year. But instead of fearing the ‘not yet traveled’ or questioning my reason for denial, I must embrace the celebration. Celebrate the journey I am on and all the experiences a long the way. Celebrate who I’ve become and what I’ve learned necessary to achieve the very best version of me; I must practice self care. Further, I must view each day a stepping stone towards self discovery, and each year a mark of maturity.
I’ve learned quite a bit about myself this past year – my level of determination, set expectations, relationships, and balance. But one of the things I’ve really come to value and prioritize in my life is self care. The expression ‘You cannot pour from an empty cup’ is entirely true. I am constantly on the go – from 6am to sometimes midnight – running a household, errands, planning posts, filming videos, and even the share of my everyday. I understand I am the one setting expectations. I realize working from home, I call the shots. But I enjoy the fast pace. It’s in my nature to always be ‘on’. If it gets too much tho, if I start to play the comparison game or more so – start to devalue my worth, I must step back and regroup. I must force the ‘relax’. I must fill my cup to maintain proficiency and manifest my best self.
Often when we hear ‘self care’ we think a hot bubble bath, manis, pedis and chocolate cake. While these do make my list – we must acknowledge self care as more than that. Self care shouldn’t be a resort from exhaustion. While my re-group at times is forced, I try to prevent myself from getting to a point of a mandatory life halt. Self care then becomes an act of escape. And running from the issues that I let exhaust me – comparison, social acceptance, financial strain even – isn’t the answer. Nor is pouring a glass of wine or running a bubble bath (no matter how indulgent it may be). I must find a way to solve the issues that forced the halt in the first place. That is the act of self care. “It has little to do with “treating yourself” and more to do with making choices for your long-term wellness.” [efn_note]https://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2017/11/this-is-what-self-care-really-means-because-its-not-all-salt-baths-and-chocolate-cake/[/efn_note]
How I practice self care
Do the dirty work // I recently read a great article stating, “True self care is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from and that often involves doing things we don’t always want to do.” [efn_note]https://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2017/11/this-is-what-self-care-really-means-because-its-not-all-salt-baths-and-chocolate-cake/[/efn_note] The hard things. The messy things. Again, self care has more to do with making choices for your long-term wellness. Those choices are hard. At least for me.
My messy involves evaluating my relationships on a regular basis. Taking a real hard look at my actions, my words, and my loyalty. Are they in any way jeopardizing? Am I playing my role as a friend, wife, or even acquaintance in the best way? If not, my messy involves an apology and commitment to change. Second, and probably most difficult – I must remove toxic people from my life. From the simple act of unfollowing people on Instagram to cutting off immediate family. If individuals fail to accept or inspire, intentionally make me feel less than, are takers but never givers – I must confront them and Let. Them. Go.
The hard work could be standing up for yourself or voicing your opinion even if it’s an unpopular one. Maybe it’s cutting back on your spending and re-prioritizing a budget. Or the literal ‘messy’ – one often practiced – could be sweating it out on the bike or going for a run. I choose to work out, not because our society tells me I need to look a certain way to be enough, but because I’ve chosen true health for myself, mind and body.
Do the dirty work. Tackle what you’ve put off for so long. Because if you don’t, you may reach a boiling point or worse – boil over. Every action has a reaction. If you boil over, you’re not only at the risk of hurting yourself, but at the risk of hurting others. Doing the dirty work, even tho it’s down right hard, renders stability and self acceptance.
Unplug // Let’s go back to that mandatory life halt. I get to that point when I put too much on my plate. Signs are clear when I take the card in the comparison game. I scroll social media, compare numbers, strategy – her level of ‘on’ always renders an eye roll. I question how she does it all and settle on the idea that her plate must be bigger than mine. She’s a better influencer, woman, wife, and the gut punch – Mom. In comes doubt, I question my own abilities, thoughts of giving up settle, shit hits the fan and I am done. I break. And that’s the worst feeling. I hate when I get to the mandatory halt. Don’t we all?
So to prevent that snowball effect – I unplug. I put the phone down. I try and schedule these breaks weekly. I’ll turn it off, put it in a drawer and walk away. Whether the unplug is forced from a halt or by appointment, it allows me to be present. Present in my relationships, my conversations, and my thoughts. It forces reality in and distortion out. I then see my accomplishments more clearly and acknowledge my pace in my business. I am reminded of my two blessings – their play, livelihood, curiosity – I am 100% there for. More so, I am filled with gratitude – quoted (and proven) as a direct way out of comparison. The simple switch off is my way of self care. It helps rid any negativity and reminds me what I am doing is enough.
I can then enjoy the things that make me happy. A good yoga session or walk around the neighborhood with Rebel. A funny sitcom, a meal around the table with my family, or a DIY facial. These things aren’t enjoyed by way of escape. But more so the reward for self prioritizing.
Strive for imperfection // This really has a lot to do with my personality. I am very type A – rarely spontaneous, high strung and very insistent on order. I like things tidy, put up, and organized. While I enjoy my way of run, expectations are set. They’re often so high that when I find myself not meeting the mark – I beat myself up and start to believe I am not enough. I convince myself I am not a good Mom because the laundry isn’t done. I disvalue my consistency and role as an influencer if I fail to post on Instagram everyday. If the playroom looks as if a tornado stormed thru, dishes sit in the sink, and I forgot my friend’s birthday – I’ve a list of failures, not mishaps. Even if you’re more lax in your ways, we all disfavor the mess up. We can then choose to listen to the negative talk or allow ourselves a little grace. As simple as it sounds, no one is perfect. When I let myself be normal, more unexceptional – I am more at peace. When I strive for imperfection, I ironically find the balance I was searching for in the first place.
To conclude: self care is so important. I’ve learned this past year I am a better Mom, wife, friend and person because of the way I am choosing to build my life. It’s messy, requires disconnect, and most certainly lacks perfection. But discovering my best and most happiest self is worth it. And so are You.