I think we all can agree that this year has been absolutely crazy. Everytime I think things can’t get any crazier, I continue to get proven wrong. The world is full of so much uncertainty and confusion right now, and it is draining. As I’m sitting here typing, I’m literally sitting at the edge of my seat anticipating the election results. I keep telling myself to wait for the results , but I can’t help but to look. Not to mention the holiday season is now in full swing and I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around what going to look like for us. Virtual Thanksgiving? Virtual Christmas? That doesn’t put me in the holiday spirit at all. I have just reached the point where I’m starting to think this might be our new norm for a while until we can get things back on track. I’m just hopeful that we will at least get to finish this year out on a high note .
In the midst of all this craziness, I can say that the one thing has kept me sane since the start of the pandemic , and that is my weekly self-care day. During my undergrad I had a professor who required us to implement some form of self-care into our routine. Since then, I have realized the importance of taking the time to take care of yourself. Throughout our week we spend so much time switching between the various roles in our lives and making sure we show up for others, but it is as equally important for us to show up for ourselves as well. Self-care is a saving grace to our mental health, to our stress levels, and our overall well being. I have also found ,that most people know they need a self-care day, but they just don’t know how to disconnect for a moment and relax, or they just don’t know where to begin. So, today I’m going to share with you 10 ways to have the best self-care day ever and some of the products and tools I use to go along with them.
1. Prayer / Meditation
Prayer and meditation is the perfect way to begin and end any self-care day. I personally love to start the day with prayer because it sets the intention for the day. Through prayer I am able to release all my worries, frustrations, and stressors and achieve personal peace. I have also found that when I set aside this time to pray and have bible study, it allows me to have a more intentional prayer than the typical prayer that I would say any other time. By setting aside the time to really have a conversation with God I feel like my faith and relationship with God gets stronger. A tool that I have been using a to help guide me in my prayer and bible study is, The Bible in 52 Weeks: A Yearlong Bible Study for Women. This bible study breaks the bible down into smaller sections ,that you read daily , and then you reflect on the lesson for the week through a series of questions. I have found that the questions are very thought provoking and it really helps draw the connection between the themes I experience in my own life and the themes in the bible.
Meditation works in the same way that prayer does for me. Setting aside that time to sit alone and just focus in on the present is so fulfilling. In that moment, I’m not worried about anything in the past nor the future, I’m just focused on the now and my own inner peace. Meditation makes me feel so much more emotionally calm and mentally clear. By the time I’m done meditating I always feel so much lighter as if a burden has been lifted from me. There are also a lot of great resources on youtube that you can use for meditation.
When is the last time you had the chance to sit down and just enjoy a good book? If I had to guess I would probably say it’s been a while. That’s why reading as a form of self-care is so important to me. As a child, I always had a book in my hand and I could finish a book in one day. Reading was like soul food to me, I just couldn’t get enough. As I got older, reading became more about just reading for the purposes of a class or test and it became less enjoyable. However, in the back of my mind I never forgot how it use to make me feel and that’s why I decided to start implementing the books that I enjoy into my self-care routine. Even if I’m only able to read for an hour or 30 minutes , I make sure I do so. There is just something about reading a good book that just transports you somewhere else for a moment and you forget about everything. These days I get so much more enjoyment being immersed in a book rather than endlessly scrolling through social media.
The book I’m currently reading is, All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks . I highly, highly recommend this book. It will literally change your whole perception about love. It wasn’t until I read this book that I realized that I a lot of misconceptions about relationships, and I have a lot of unlearning I need to do because some of those misconceptions are a little problematic. I enjoy the fact that it doesn’t feel preachy.The tone of it is like your sitting with a friend and having an honest and real conversation. I’m actually going to touch on more of this book in a future blog so I don’t want to go on a tangent. But, until then read this book, or any book of your choosing and getting some much needed reading into your self-care. You will not regret it.
3. Have a Spa Day
I know for the majority of us we are still quarantining and social distancing, so you may not feel comfortable going to an actual spa. However, an at home spa day is just as good and you can save a ton of money. I like to start my spa day with a good face mask. My go to face mask is the Freeman’s Purifying Avocado and Oatmeal Clay Mask. I like a very simple skincare routine because my skin is very sensitive, so I swear by this face mask. I have been using Freeman’s since high school and have never encountered any problems. They also have a few other face mask under this skin care line. The polishing charcoal mask is a bit harsh on my face, but as a body scrub it is amazing. I would recommend any face mask from this line.
In addition to the face mask, a mani/pedi is always a plus. I really enjoy a good a pedicure. I’m always trying to find a new product to help my feet out,especially in the winter time, because they get so dry and cracked. I recently discovered these foot mask and I am thoroughly impressed with them. You just throw on these plastic booties for an hour and over the course of the next few days your your skin will begin to peeling. On that last day of the peeling it will literally look like you have new feet. My feet have never felt softer. After doing my skin care and mani/pedi. I usually finish my spa day with a warm bath. I throw in some bubble bath, a bath bomb, lavender bath salt, and I just soak and relax . This is also the perfect time for me to read as well.
4. Adult Coloring Books
I’m so glad that coloring books are not a distant memory of our childhood because coloring is such an underrated relaxation technique. I could color all day, it never gets old to me. Just picture a nice breezy day sitting outside enjoying the fresh air and coloring, or imagine finding a nice , quiet and comfortable area of your home and coloring. It is so soothing. I am a big over thinker, but I promise you when I am coloring I become so focused, I forget about everything else.
One of my favorite coloring books right now is the Stress Relieving Animal Designs coloring books. I’m not sure if it’s because of the intricate designs, but this coloring book does what it says and it instantly relieves your stress. I highly recommend adult coloring books if not for the relaxation factor, definitely for the nostalgia factor because either way it puts you in such a positive headspace.
5. Enjoy Nature
I will admit that I’m not the most outdoorsy person, but I do recognize the positive benefits that nature can have on us. There is something about being out there in the sun, taking in the fresh air, and walking amongst the tree that really puts you in a good mood. My favorite outdoor activity is hiking. It’s so peaceful and when you have someone else there with you sparking up a good conversation it just feels like it can go on forever. There is something about nature that just makes you feels grounded and balanced. I know during the fall and winter it’s a little bit harder to get outside and do outdoor activities , but I recommend taking advantage of the warmer days and taking in as much sun as you can. Vitamin D is very important for us, it’s a natural mood booster and I think we could all use that boost right about now.
6. Give Your Electronics and Social Media a Rest.
I know we live in a digital and social media driven society but sometimes it is necessary to turn off the blue screens, take a break, and just live in the moment. I am just as guilty of scrolling through social media or being on my phone and laptop all day. However, since giving birth to my son I’ve been using my social media and tech a lot less. Since I’ve been less connected and plugged in, I have begun to notice more positive changes. I feel less overwhelmed because I don’t have a lot of stimulus going on around me all the time. I’ve also noticed that I’m making deeper connections and having more meaningful conversation with those around me. So while technology and social media are not bad things, it is important to have a balance and treat yourself to a tech free day once in a while.
7. Pick Up a New Hobby
Is there new hobby you’ve been wanting to try, but you just haven’t had the time to do so? Why not set aside some time during your self-care day to do it. Since I was kid I have always had some sort of hobby whether it be knitting, jewelry making, writing, or painting. Having a hobby is so therapeutic because it allows you to focus your energy into doing or creating something amazing. A hobby of mine that i’m starting to get back into is drawing and painting. I love art because I’m able to take my frustrations, worries, and negative feelings and channel it into something beautiful and positive. Plus, we are in the middle of a pandemic, so now is the perfect time to try anything you have been putting off. We literally have nothing but time on our hands.
8. Clean and Organize
Cleaning and organizing is so calming to me because I’m the type of person who can not function when everything around me is completely out of order. Not to mention, the feeling you get when your finished cleaning is so gratify because you know that you get to just sit back, relax , and enjoy your work. I also enjoy the feelings of nostalgia when I’m going through my items and re-organizing them, and I start to remember the memories attached to items. Lastly, I look forward to the moment when I’m completely done and I light a candle. The fragrance just fills the room and instantly relaxes me. Cleaning and organizing is a very underrated part of self-care.
9. Listen to Music or a Podcast
This is something that I do all day every day, especially since I started working from home. Music is an instant mood booster for me, it just make me feel good. Also, as I mentioned before, the nostalgia is what gets me every time. I love when I can hear a song and it takes me back to my childhood, high school, the holidays, a family reunion, etc. I also believe music is just very healing in general. There is always a song that just perfectly describes how you feel in the moment. Most of the time You can be feeling the lowest of the lows when you start a playlist, but I can guarantee by the time you are finished there will be a smile on your face.
I also enjoy listening to podcast because there is literally a podcast for everything. A lot of them are very informative and funny. My top three podcast are The Friend Zone, The Read, and Therapy for Black girls. A lot of the subject matter of these podcast is about mental health and wellness ,which is a plus for me, but they also talk about other very relatable topics and the twist and turns of adulting that they experience. Podcast are just a great way to hear what other people think about topics going on around us.
10. Spend Time with Family and Friends
Spending time with family and friends is self-care to me because I enjoy the lighthearted moments I spend with them. Often when we think about self-care, we think that it has to be just by ourselves. However, I believe the best self-care for me is being around others sometimes and pouring positivity and happiness into each other. There is this misconception that we always have to isolate ourselves to care for ourselves properly, and granted sometimes that is necessary. But, I feel like when you are amongst those who have the same positive intentions and mind set as yourself, you are not draining each other but helping uplift each other. Sometimes ,it’s not that we need to isolate to re-charge, but we need to change where and who we are pouring all our energy into. So, feel free to video chat friends and family, or have a socially distant gathering. It may be the much needed boost you are looking for.
I hope you all have enjoyed my ten ways to have the best self-care day ever. In the comments below let me know what you do for self-care. Once again thanks for reading, and I will see you all next week.
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