It is a beautiful rainy end of August day today that is giving me all the Taylor Swift Folklore vibes. I’ve already made maple glazed pears, scrolled fall aesthetic pinterest boards and made some maple brown sugar coffee. I’m wearing my Old Navy lounge set and have a delicious fall diffuser blend pumping through the house. Its safe to say the vibe over here is: cozy. Its a self care filled weekend which makes it the perfect time to write this much requested post all about self care!
The practice of self care and self love are gaining rapid popularity and I am here for it, butttttt I would love to see more conversation around the not so Pinterest worthy acts of self care. Self care is sometimes doing the things you don’t want to do now so that future you will benefit. While they do have a place, face masks, bubble baths and bottomless mimosas are not the most important parts of self care. Self care is about balance and knowing when a night in with a bottle of bubbly and a tub of bubbles is needed vs. when a night of self reflection or a date with the budget is in order. I think it is incredible that we are shifting away the narrative that doing things for ourselves is selfish. Overworking ourselves and overextending ourselves is not a right of passage and it does not make us more worthy or likable. In fact if you are constantly pouring from an empty cup in the name of taking care of people you love, it will stop feeling like an act of kindness and start to feel like resentment. Especially if those acts of kindness aren’t reciprocated. So grab a glass of your favorite tea or coffee or wine and settle in for some self care real talk.
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Setting Boundaries with others
This is a hard one for a lot of people. Especially us people pleasers. Fellow recovering people pleasers raise your hand! There are going to be people in your life that get pissed off when you start setting boundaries. Some people may even leave. LET THEM GO. Someone that gets pissed off when you start setting boundaries to better yourself and your mental health is not someone you want in your corner I promise. When you start healing yourself and making yourself a priority, your life is going to change. At first it may seem all bad because its not what you are used to, but in the end it is all for the better. Eventually you will find a circle that respects you and your boundaries. The people that get mad when you start prioritizing yourself are the ones that are used to benefitting from you overextending yourself and giving more than you have to give. Most likely these are the same people that would not be willing to go to even a fraction of the lengths you go to for them. Setting boundaries is crucial for you to protect your mental health. Your boundaries shouldn’t kick in once you are already feeling a certain way, they should be a line in the sand before your get to a point where you are feeling stressed, unappreciated or even have a trauma response. Boundaries can be for all sorts of things big and small. That’s the thing about boundaries. They are yours to decide how and when you place them.
Setting Boundaries with ourselves
Okay, so now we understand why setting boundaries with other people is so important, let’s move on to setting boundaries with ourselves which are also crucial for a healthy life. Self boundaries are a way of keeping ourselves in line so to speak. It can be as simple as putting the phone away after one episode of a show and getting to bed at a reasonable time so you aren’t tired the next day. Or it can look like saying no to a 3rd cookie because too much sugar makes you feel sluggish and bloated. It can also be cutting off relationships that don’t make us feel good even if they are fun to be around sometimes. Setting boundaries with ourselves is a way to keep us on track to feel our best and reach our goals. Just this morning I set a boundary with myself that I could only have my coffee if I drank a big glass of water first and another boundary that I could only watch TikTok for 10 minutes and then I was going to do the dishes.
Here we go again with boundaries. Do I sound like a broken record yet? I feel like Oprah “You get some boundaries! You get some boundaries!” Oh well, boundaries are crucial for self care and that’s what this post is about so let’s talk boundaries with electronics. Have you ever sat on TikTok scrolling mindlessly and then looked at the time and realized an hour has gone by? I don’t know about you but I usually walk away from a scroll session like this feeling sluggish, unmotivated and overall just bad. This is when I know it’s time to turn off the electronics. Turning off electronics when they stop feeling good is truly an act of love. There are tons of studies that show the negative and addictive side of electronics, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid them at all costs. You just have to learn when to turn them off. It’s all about balance and moderation. Try to start your morning and end your day without screens for at least an hour.
In addition to limiting time spent on electronics its beneficial to limit the content you are consuming. If you are watching the news all day every day and feeling like there is no hope in the world its time to switch up what you are consuming. If you follow someone that only gets on social media to complain, hit that unfollow button. If there is someone you follow that makes you feel bad about yourself because you find yourself comparing yourself to them hit that unfollow button. Mindful consuming is your new best friend.
The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.MARIE KONDO
Cleaning is often dreaded and looked at as a chore. I certainly am guilty of this way of thinking 90% of the time. I have been working hard on shifting my mindset around cleaning this year though. Now, I don’t clean because I have to, I clean because I deserve a clean environment. I deserve the peace that comes with a clean and clutter free environment. I deserve to wake up in the morning to a clean kitchen, and to go to bed in a nicely made bed. I deserve clutter free counters, a sink free of toothpaste, laundry that is neatly folded and a floor free of toys. I deserve a clean home and so do you!
Decluttering your space is also a way to care for yourself. Less clutter = less stress. The less items you have to clean, the less time it takes to clean them and the more time you have to spend on the things you enjoy. This is an entire topic on its own and I intend to write an entire post on this concept. Basically take the Marie Kondo approach and if it doesn’t spark joy or serve a purpose, toss it. Don’t let any items occupy space in your home, your mind or your life that don’t benefit you or bring you joy. Life is to short for that!
When shifting the narrative around cleaning, I also remind myself that cleaning is a luxury. I have the luxury of a home to clean while others are homeless. I have dirty dishes because my family is fed while others are struggling to put food on the table. Some people don’t even have a hygienic place to use the bathroom so yes I even have the luxury of scrubbing a toilet. (Check out who gives a crap if you want to support a company that provides clean toilets for those without access to one with the purchase of your toilet paper.) Shifting to this perspective helps to keep myself in check when I’m throwing a pity party about having to clean again.
I also use the reverse perspective to allow myself to relax even if the cleaning isn’t done. It’s ok if the laundry doesn’t always get folded and put away immediately after the dryer buzzes. I’m grateful that I have clean clothes even if the basket sits unfolded for a few extra hours (or days). Its ok if guests come over and there are dishes in my sink, I’m grateful for those dirty dishes because I was able to feed my family. You get the point. Basically its all about perspective and prioritizing. You deserve a clean home, but as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of your mental health and doesn’t take up ALL of your time. (and if cleaning is taking up too much of your time consider setting up some systems to make it less time consuming.)
Checking in with finances
Checking in with your finances once a week or once a month can be a huge act of self care. When you take the time to check in with your finances frequently, you ease the stress of wondering if you are spending more than you are earning for the month, potentially over drafting your account or even just going over the budget you set for yourself therefore prolonging something you are saving for. Making it a priority to save money each month is also one of the most important acts of self care. You can give yourself a strong sense of safety and security by keeping an emergency savings account. It may not feel like a huge deal now, but it will definitely save you future stress over time when you need it. Instead of having to borrow money from friends and family or max out a credit card to pay for an unexpected expense such as a car or home repair or a medical bill, you can breathe easy knowing that you are prepared for this. I know budgeting isn’t the most fun thing you could be spending your time doing, so make a routine out of it and treat it like a date with yourself. Every Sunday morning take yourself to a local coffee shop, get yourself a muffin and sit down in the cozy coffee shop atmosphere to check with your bank accounts. Or maybe every Wednesday night after the kids are in bed take an hour to grab a glass of wine or a cup of tea and do a quick budget check in. If you take the time each week to make sure things are on track for the month it will be less overwhelming.
Eat Nutritious Food & Move your body
When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.Ayurvedic proverb
What you eat is literally what you become, you are either eating for heath or eating for illness. Prioritize yourself by eating nutrient dense foods that support your body, while also being mindful of your mental health. When approaching “healthy eating” we don’t do diets, we do lifestyle changes. We eat “healthy” foods to feel good not to fit into a certain size or look a certain way or meet a number on the scale. We eat foods the make us feel good and we also eat foods that taste good because good tasting food is essential! Let’s face it eating bland food is no way to live. Food is supposed to taste good, so make sure you don’t deprive yourself of yummy food because of diet culture’s misrepresentation of what healthy eating looks like. Instead get creative in the kitchen and make it fun by adding spices and fresh herbs, trying new recipes or a vegetable you’ve never heard of, or even starting your own garden.
Make sure you are prioritizing moving your body even if its just a 15 minutes dance party or a short walk around the block. Moving your body in one way or another is essential for self care. Even the smallest amount of exercise can increase your mood. I tend to rebel against anything I tell myself I have to do so I don’t “work out” or “exercise” because I know my defiant brain will have me running the opposite direction. Instead I find ways to incorporate physical activity into my daily life. This usually consists of many dance parties with my toddler while getting ready, making breakfast, or just because. Sometimes its going for a walk or running around the back yard chasing a laughing toddler with our dog Jack trying to herd us. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate work out plan for it to be beneficial so get out there and shake your booty or walk around the block and let those endorphins flow.
Get Your 8 Hours
As a mom of a tiny human that boycotted sleep and naps until she was two I am very familiar with the impact poor sleep can have on your mental and physical health. I know that getting adequate sleep isn’t always easy. I used to roll my eyes at every self improvement book or article that talked about getting a full 8 hours. Didn’t they realize that not everyone has that luxury? Even before a restless infant kept me awake I would struggle with difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. When I did drift off I would often toss and turn with nightmares. Nonetheless, here I am telling you to get your beauty sleep.
Somethings that have been game changers for me in the sleep department are making my space ideal for restful sleep, essentials oils, a nighttime routine, reducing sugar/caffeine in the afternoon/ evening, and sleep meditations. For me an ideal sleep environment means cozy bedding, a supportive pillow, covering any lights on alarm clocks or air conditioners etc, setting up an air purifier for white noise and to keep me cool, and reducing any noises that would be distracting. Your ideal sleep environment may be different than mine. Next up essential oils. They made a huge difference for me when it came to falling asleep and staying asleep. The first night I set up a diffuser with frankincense and lavender I couldn’t believe how deeply I slept. Some other oils I love for sleep are vetiver, roman chamomile, sleepyize and cedarwood. (Grab your oils here.) For me my night time routine mostly means no screens an hour before bed. I can make another post going in more detail of my nighttime routine, but basically I wind down with a book (I share my current reads on my Instagram and good reads) fill my diffuser, stretch and do some breathwork. The one thing that has been the most impactful for sleep over the last few years has been incorporating sleep meditations or sleep hypnosis. I love Michael Sealey and these chakra music videos the most.
Some other ways you can practice self care:
Turn off the sad music if its making you feel bad.
See a therapist regularly.
Set clear goals, make a vision board, make a plan to execute your goals. I love the Start Today Journal.
Hopefully this post was helpful! I’d love to hear in the comments how you practice self care!
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