Self-Care…what does it mean?
4 min read

Self-Care…what does it mean?

Self-Care…what does it mean?
Photo by Brandy Kennedy / Unsplash

Lately, we hear a lot about this idea of self-care, and I am a huge advocate for it. We get so caught up in things we are doing and happening around us that we forget to take care of ourselves. Self-care comes in different ways, that is why I added the image above because it highlights the many ways you can practice it. Just saying no…is a form of self-care!

Self-care is not restricted to eating well or exercising, it also means looking around you and making adjustments to the things that are not helping with your progress and being conscious of your mental health. This aspect of self-care is often pushed under the rug.

For most people, if they are okay physically, then everything else is okay. Your self-care does not have to be the same as someone else's. Some people need to go to the spa to relax and rejuvenate, for others, it’s being in bed all day and doing nothing and for others it's asking for help or setting boundaries. All of that is okay, as long as you are taking the steps to make you happy.

Taking care of myself doesn't mean “me first”, it means "me too.”  — L.R. Knosts

With my sickle cell condition, I am constantly navigating this idea of “me too” because my pain can easily be triggered by stress, so I need to constantly check myself and do what I can to protect myself. So far, I am working on eating a balanced meal, and exercising often (I never thought I would feel bad for not exercising…my people, this is how far the Lord has brought me oo). These past few weeks I neglected other forms of self-care like journaling, reading or just relaxing in bed, but I am working my way back to doing those things that I LOVE to do.

One new form of self-care I currently practice is—not responding to situations immediately. When I receive an email, text or message in any form, I am so quick to respond.  I noticed that it was becoming a burden because I began to feel guilty and panic if I didn't respond on time or immediately. But one day I saw a post that said, “Don't feel guilty of not responding immediately. You don't have to be accessible to everyone at all times.” That message was for ME!!! So now, I respond when I can ... I am not completely there, but I am working on it. That just gives me my peace of mind.

When it comes to my mental health, it's still a work in progress. What I have started to do is to have honest conversations with myself—that is actually one of the difficult conversations to have? — at least for me, it is. In these moments, I am forced to address whatever is bothering me or reflect on what I am going through. I actually ask myself questions and try to find my own answers. For instance, if someone said something that I believe offended me, here are some questions I would ask myself: 1. How did you feel about what the person said? 2. Why does it make you feel this way? 3. What are the steps you can take to make you feel better? I answer these questions loudly and honestly to myself, and I have found that I end up feeling better.                    I am no therapist and if you can, please see a therapist…that is my next goal. But let's not joke with our mental health…It is a whole conversation we should have, but for now, this is what I do.

Lastly, I am learning and accepting that I do not always have to have it all together…that is self-care for me. I am learning to ask for help and not be the superwoman constantly. I think we are fed into the belief that if you can do 10, O00 things at the same time then you are a champion, woman warrior, boss lady and I believed in that for so long that when I started crumbling under the pressure, I felt my self-worth vanishing with it. So, I had to take a step back and realize that my worth is not tied to my multitasking abilities. I am much more than that. I began to identify what I can achieve in a day, work on it and then give myself a pat on the back when I am done…Abaaa... I cannot come and kill myself. If I can't clean, cook, work on the various projects I have at work, do my homework..etc. all in one day, then I simply can't. I make my list according to my priorities for the day, pick three things I want to achieve and then go for it…when I am done, I continue but if all I could do were those three things, then so be it…and I am STILL a boss babe!

I am learning that it’s okay not to have it all together all the time

What does self-care look like for you? What are you learning and unlearning? Share some of your tips so we can all continue to improve on ourselves, so we can become the best version of ourselves. And remember, self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity.