7 Ways To Practice Self-Care When The World Could Care Less
In the email thread I’m included on for a lovely art collective and book club, we send each other messages about the different things we have going on and that are on our minds. One of the young women in the group sent out an email saying she was thinking of everyone after the recent shootings of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, and the protests that followed. A few of the members responded, including one woman whose message struck me: “I’m sending you all back that love. Be ruthless about self care during these times.”
We underestimate just how important it is to look out for ourselves as the world around us becomes increasingly unstable. We are subject to images of our people being gunned down, we’re literally falling ill due to the chaos at our place of work, and we’re also trying to combat negative narratives that claim we aren’t enough of this, while being too much of that. When it feels like no one is looking out for us, we have to take care of ourselves. Self-care is central to good health and well-being, so you need to find a way to make it a priority. If you’re wondering how exactly you can practice self-care, here are a few examples to help you out.
Know When It’s Best to Say No
When we worry about letting people down, many of us end up saying yes to things that we know we really don’t want to do. We’re invited to an for work, and to make a good impression, we agree to check it out though we knew we wanted to do something else that evening. We agree to help a friend with something that we’re already overwhelmed by the idea of. We fit yet another responsibility into our calendar so that we can be everything to everybody. Know when to put yourself first. As one woman once told me, if something suggested for you to take part in “is not a hell yes, it’s a hell no.”
Clean up Your Circle
You can’t practice good self-care if all of the people you surround yourself with leave you stressed and anxious. If the individuals in your life don’t do a good job of bringing some much-needed solace into it, or they can’t even be positive when they’re in your presence, don’t feel bad about distancing yourself from such negativity.
Do Things That Genuinely Make You Feel Good
If you want to stay in your pajamas and watch Disney movies all Saturday afternoon, why not? If you want to paint your nails while listening to the newest Frank Ocean album, go right ahead. If you just want to sleep and restore your system so you can be your best self, make it a priority. Do whatever truly brings you joy so that no matter what, you can find your own little slice of happiness during hectic times.
Treat Yourself to Some Personal Perk
Treat yourself to a massage, some new shoes, an ice cream cone — some kind of treat to celebrate making it through another week. Reward yourself for being the awesome person you are.
Run for Your Life
I know that exercising sounds so cliché and lame, but the endorphins you can release after a good workout will bring about positive feelings and provide you with a reprieve from…well, the bullsh-t. Running six miles always sounds like an overwhelming task for me, but when I finish, I literally feel at my peak on any day.
Talk to Yourself
Talk to yourself, as in, check in with yourself. If something feels off, address it. If you’re feeling exhausted, make sure you carve out time to rest at some point in the day or throughout the weekend. Feeling more stressed than usual at work? Take advantage of those vacation days you let go to waste last year and go on a trip — even if it’s just a trip to your couch for a few days. Take note of how you’re faring and do what it takes to keep yourself from feeling tapped out.
Give yourself a break from the sensory overload that is social media. Log off and learn how to enjoy the moment. Disconnect from the foolishness for a day, or a few days, as it can definitely put your mind at ease.