Self-Care Ain’t Chocolate, Wine, and Retail Therapy

Self-Care Ain’t Chocolate, Wine, and Retail Therapy
By: Ryan D. Daniels

Chocolate, a whole bottle of red wine, and a trip to the mall are so often classified as “self-care”. However, they are not the only way to take care of yourself and to treat yourself well. Here are a few more ways we may not consider when it comes to living our best lives.

1) Eating Well and Exercise: If you really love yourself you are going to take care of your temple. No, you don’t have to be Teyana Taylor fit nor do you have to eat carrots and lettuce all day but you do need to take care of your body. Loving ourselves means loving our body. That means eating unhealthy foods in moderation, drinking alcohol in moderation, taking care of our reproductive health (safe sex, pap smears, and healthy sexual relationships) , and getting physically active a few times a week.

   2) Being Financially Responsible: I used to go in Victoria Secret’s and spend $300 because “I deserved it”. I might have just avoided cussing someone out that week but I always found reasons to splurge and would cry when my credit card statement came or an unexpected expense popped up. Spending money frivolously, not maintaining a budget, and not spending our money wisely are self-sabotaging behaviors that can cause mentally damaging stress. How are we loving ourselves if we are not ensuring that we have the financial means to do not take care of our financial health? No, I’m not saying be a spendthrift or super cheap. However, set spending limits and be financially responsible. Create a budget, see where your money goes, cut back on unnecessary expenses, and build financial restraint and discipline. Your car needs tires, why are you in Sephora? 

   3) Cutting Off Toxic People: Over the past few months, I started cutting off people who were killing me on a mental level, sometimes unintentionally on their part (they were holding me up in my own toxic behaviors and okaying me making poor or harmful decisions). Toxic people are those who are standing in the way of you achieving your goals, intentionally or unintentionally. They are negative, they are jealous, they may hold you up in your toxic behaviors or poor decisions, or they may just be someone who straight up just makes you feel crappy. Learn how to be okay with cutting people off who do not have your best interest at heart. You can't love yourself if you're allowing people who don't actually love you be in your circle.

    4)   Limiting Social Media: Jasmine just posted about getting a new job. Meanwhile, you are still working at TJ Maxx while trying to find something full time with your degree. Keisha just posted a picture of she and Derek on baecation in Jamaica. Meanwhile, you can’t even get a text back. Ashley just posted about getting that new Benz. Meanwhile, you’re still driving your 2004 Hyundai. Now you’re sitting there looking at your timeline in your feelings. I don’t give a damn what anyone says constantly being on social media wrecks havoc on your mental wellbeing especially if you are not where you want to be in life. Love yourself enough to know when to log out and take a break.

5)   Practice Time Management: Loving yourself means keeping a calendar and prioritizing your time in a manner that does not stress you out or add extra stress to your already hectic schedule. Learn how to say no to events or time commitments, temporary or long term, that will inconvenience you or put added stress on you. Take time out to rest and just do nothing. Plan your time use so you don’t feel like you’re always behind the eight ball.

Change Your Self-Talk: “Ugh, I’m so stupid.” “I’m so fat.” “No one likes me.” “I’m going to be single forever.” No one else said this about you, you said this about yourself. How do you expect others to see the best in you when you don’t see it in yourself? Changing your self-talk is not easy and it takes time. For me, it has taken A LOT of time but hey, I'm working on it. Create a mantra, write it on a post-it note, put it somewhere that you will have to see it every morning first thing in the morning. Say it until you wholeheartedly believe it! Taking care of yourself means fully loving yourself by being patient and kind to and with yourself. You are allowed to simultaneously be a work in progress and a masterpiece. 

    7)   Set SMART Goals: It is so easy to beat up on ourselves if we are not accomplishing our goals. However, are we actually setting goals or just saying we want to do something? How are we working to actually achieve those goals? You wanted a summer body, what did you do to achieve it? You wanted an A in that class, what did you do to achieve it? Goal setting isn't freestyling things until something happens, no goal setting and achieving is INTENTIONAL. A real goal should be SPECIFIC (what do you actually want to accomplish?), MEASURABLE (what are tangible or visible ways you can tell you’re achieving your goals?), ACHIEVABLE (is my goal realistic?), RELEVANT (does this goal actually make me a better person? does this goal contribute to my betterment?), and TIMELY (what is the timeframe for this goal? how long will it take for me to achieve it?



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