The Sacred Practice of Self Care

10 Tips for implementing self care in turbulent timesself-care

Self care is not selfish.  In fact, according to Audre Lourde, “self care is not about self indulgence, its about self preservation.”  And self preservation is never more important than in turbulent times that cause us to double our consciousness, to divide ourselves in two, and to see ourselves through the eyes of a world that would rather we present the normalized version of ourselves, wiped clean of nuance, untarnished, and undistorted by the realities that besiege our beings.  However, this double consciousness, this donning of a narrative that is written for us, at a point becomes beyond bearable and unsustainable.  My beloveds, my BEaUtistas, before you reach the point where you can no longer bear the unbearable, please stop and take some time to incorporate these sacred acts of self care into your daily routines.

1. practice gratitude

The practice of gratitude is the fastest way to remind yourself of all the things in your life that are going well.  Particularly when written, it is the single most powerful tool to help you realize how blessed you truly are.  And when you’re focusing on the things for which you’re grateful you have less energy and mental space to focus on the negative, the things you cannot change, and the things over which you have zero control. The easiest way to implement this habit is to place a journal at your bedside and pen your gratitude before going to bed or upon rising in the morning

2. repeat positive affirmations upon rising

Nothing helps change a mindset more than the conversation going on in your head.  If the conversation is negative, then all you will see around you throughout the day is negativity. Not to mention you might just plain miss the positive aspects of your day because you’re so focused on negativity.  So combat the negative self talk with positive affirmations.  Upon rising, sit in solitude and spend at least a minute, or even five, breathing in positivity with full belly breaths through your nose.  Some of of my favorite affirmations are:

“I breathe in peace, and breathe out love.”

“I am me. I am enough.”

“I am full of light and love.  Today I walk in my purpose.”

3. exercise

Getting out all your emo on a good run, or the squat rack, or better yet a punching bag in a good kickboxing class can do wonders for your state of mind. The benefits of exercise, even as few as 10 minutes worth of high intensity, are endless.  Regular exercise has been shown to improve mood, sleep, immune function, and reduce stress.  With regard to mood exercise releases endorphins and other brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine that not only reduce pereception of pain, but also induce a feeling of euphoria by interacting with the brain’s dopamine receptors, which are the reward receptors in the brain responsible for the happy feelings we experience as a result of pleasant activities such as eating, drinking and having sex.

4. unplug from social media

In this day and age where we all have smart phones and the 24 hour news cycle is constantly available, we can start to suffer from information overload.  In that instance, uplugging from all media, including social media can be extremely helpful to improving one’s mental state.  It is particularly important to step away from one’s social media accounts, because lets face it, 90% of our social media interactions are people who are just as emotionally exhausted, angry,and  frustrated as we are.  While the support we may feel from like-minded people may allow us to vent, the feelings they express in turn may only serve to reinforce your negative feelings, and thus perpetuate a never ending loop of negative emotion. So instead pick up a good book and,

5. read

Whether it’s self-help, personal development, non-fiction or fantasy, reading is fitness for the mind.

6. practice mindfulness

This is one of the most difficult things to put into practice.  What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the ability to stay in the present, whether you’re eating, driving, or simply sitting and looking out the window.  When we approach each moment with a spirit of mindfulness, we find that we are able to slow down long enough to be aware of ourselves, how we are feeling, how we are breathing, and how we feel about the thoughts we are having.

7. pray

Different from meditation, prayer can be a very helpful practice in helping to visualize our hopes for the future.  It is a chance to request for things as we wish them to be instead of how they currently are. It is a chance to reinforce hope.  And the act of having faith in something we cannot see has a powerful effect on our well-being, as it connects us to the heart of God, and the result of that connection is pure joy.

8. practice grace

The world is not perfect.  So why place the expectation of perfection upon yourself?  Instead of pursuing perfection, pursue progress. Forgive yourself for the unrealistic expectations you have placed upon yourself and extend grace unto yourself, your younger self, and the self you have yet to become.

9. spend time alone

In addition to unplugging from social media, don’t be afraid to spend some time alone. Go for a walk. Take a hot bath. Go for a scenic drive. Attend some open houses and go house hunting in your dream neighborhood. And when necessary, be sure to let your loved ones know that you’ve set aside some time for yourself and would appreciate their respect of your alone time.

10. treat yourself to the best

Put on the outfit that makes you feel your best.  Wear your fancy lingerie and matching bra and panties just because you’re fine and you know it!  Use the good china without guests. Why save your best for special occasions?  You are a queen, so treat yourself like royalty all the time.
BEaUtistas, Be fit. Be Fearless. Be Free. BE U.
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