Self-care is all the hype these days. Photos of matcha, mani/pedis, those perfectly imperfect poses of a beautiful woman tangled up in her bedsheets, and the infamous bubble bath are plastered across Instagram to promote the idea of self-care. Yes, sleeping in every now and then, preparing yourself a frothy matcha, and hunkering down in a bath is quite lovely (and necessary at times), but what about all the other aspects of self-care that are deeper rooted? The shit that takes real work so you can show up for yourself and others on a daily basis? Those actions of really digging deep and figuring out how to truly love and care for yourself? It takes more than a bubble bath to do that.
Below are some ideas of how you can show yourself some lovin' on the inside so you can show up for yourself on the outside.
Go to bed early
Ah, sleep. Something we neglect so easily, but contributes to every piece of our lives. When we sleep, our bodies are working in high gear so we cannot only function the next day, but live longer, healthier lives altogether. A snapshot of the benefits of sleep include: assisting in healing the heart and blood vessels, lowering cortisol levels, protection from cancer, and much more. Additionally, sleep deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Sleep is truly one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It's best to turn off all electronics at least two hours before bed so you can slip into a sound slumber and catch some zzz's. Your body will thank you.
Looking yourself in the mirror and telling yourself you're beautiful/smart/worth it - you know, compliment yourself!
We are constantly telling ourselves we aren't fit enough, our skin isn't clear enough, our boobs are too saggy, or our butts are too flat. We get our hopes up by spending money on quick fixes only to be let down because the issue is actually internal. What a radical idea to look yourself in the mirror and honor your body and soul. Can you imagine what that would feel like if every morning you told yourself you are enough?
Accept yourself for who you are and who you aren't
Basically, don't try to be something or someone you're not. You'll be better off for it and so will everyone else around you because they'll get to enjoy the greatness that you are.
Make your own decisions
Take charge of your life, hold yourself accountable, and learn from your mistakes. Nuff said.
Learn something new
Learning new things comes with all kinds of benefits, including: increased happiness, protection from dementia, changing the brain chemistry, increasing learning speed, and feeling a sense of pride. Plus, it's fun! It can be as simple as taking a new route to work or cooking up a new meal, or something more complex like learning a new language or knitting.
Eat nutritious foods and exercise
I feel like these two speak for themselves. Be mindful of what you consume and move your body, and you'll be off to the races. Garbage in, garbage out...goodness in, greatness out.
Our lives are constantly go, go, go so sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to say "no" to going to that event, hanging with friends, or even cooking dinner. Honor yourself by saying no, curling up with a good book (or Netflix), and zone out.
You work hard. You deserve a break. Go on vacation, go dancing, eat a donut. Reward yourself.
Understand that some days you won't be productive and that's okay
We can't be super(wo)man all the time. There's always tomorrow.
Allowing yourself to rest when needed, work hard when needed, or play when needed
This one kind of goes along with saying no or saying yes. Be mindful of where you're at mentally and physically, and honor that, whatever it may be.
Figure out what respect means to you and show yourself that same respect
Treat yourself as well as you treat everyone else. You have to spend the most time with you after all, and the way you treat yourself will affect every part of your life.
Ridding yourself of toxic people in your life
Toxic people are like a contagious virus: they drain your energy, they don't support you, they're manipulative, and all in all, they're unpleasant. You spend your time with these people only to become bitter and angry, then the people around you, in turn become bitter and angry. Around and around we go. Do yourself and everyone else in your life a favor and dump that toxic person. I came across a couple great quotes regarding toxic people:
"Toxic people attach themselves like cinder blocks tied to your ankles, and then invite you for a swim in their poisoned waters." - John Mark Green
"The more you stay with and/or complain about a toxic person, the more you're merely delaying the important inner work you need to do--to heal your wounds, expand your limiting beliefs, and show yourself far more love and respect." - Karen Salmansohn
Everybody is different and what works for one person may not work for another. Part of the process is learning what works for you and aligning yourself with that by practicing what makes you feel best. I know this is so cliché, but it's also so true -- you have one body and one chance on this planet. Do that deep-rooted digging within yourself and find out how you can truly care for and love yourself. And don't worry, bubble baths are encouraged.
I'd love to hear how you show yourself some lovin'! Comment below! And feel free to share with others.