This is to all my millennials that find themselves skimming through self-help books.
This is for all my peers living a hybrid culture fused with traditional beliefs and new-world oppression.
This is, also, for everybody who claims that self care is selfish.
To that I say that I, too, don’t know the difference between self care and selfishness. With that, I will continue to selfishly take care of myself in order to reduce my stress so I can deal with your hating-ass bitterness.
Self-care looks different for everyone. While I may need more alone time, someone else may nurture themselves through the company of others. We’ve all said it after a draining 2016, 2017 will be our year.
This year, like many of you, I am focused on reclaiming myself. I am learning from last year to build my new year the way I want. Even when I’m a long way from my goal(s), utilizing my new and reformed skill set will ensure I get there on my own terms. Here’s what I mean:
Schedule me time in your calendar, literally.
And share it with everyone. If you’re like me and live a lifestyle where you have to inform your family about an event you will be attending weeks in advance, me time becomes nonexistent. What I mean is, any availability for free time in your schedule is inevitably filled with errands to run, family to visit, etc. A lifestyle as such has only proven to leave me feeling drained at the end of every day.
Now, I am learning to create an hour long event daily for myself in my calendar. Because this event is up to me, I can make it once a week or once a day. Whether I am napping, watching a movie on Netflix, or writing a new poem, my friends and family are now aware that, for an hour a day, I am unavailable to them – unless for absolute emergencies, of course.
Know when to say no.
Or at least set boundaries. I mean, no one enjoys babysitting their siblings every day for long periods of time. Sometimes I simply cannot say no to my parents. I understand that saying no to them may be perceived as a big, negative change in my behavior. Moments like these are when I remember it is important to set my boundaries as to what I am okay with.
While this conversation may be hard to initiate, it is essential I remember that, in the end, both parties can negotiate a compromise to where I am babysitting three, maybe four days out of the week. Team work makes the dream work, baby.
The times when we seem to be allergic to the word no are the times we must remember our boundaries the most. Write them down. Even more importantly, learn how to say no. Don’t let anyone guilt you into compromising yourself and what you want/are comfortable with.
Know when to say yes.
This is for when I need a break but can’t afford to accidentally nap for hours. This form of self-care is simply unwinding from my own task at hand to help someone else with theirs. When I find myself facing writer’s block on a research paper I can offer to edit a friend’s resume. When I am falling asleep studying for my next exam I can ask my neighbor(s) if they’d like someone to walk their dog. Sometimes, saying yes to do something can be self-beneficial -just make sure you have the time and resources for it.
Get yourself the support you need.
I don’t mean that friend that backs you up on whatever decision you make. I mean find yourself that one support system that gives you a break from consciousness. We live our lives constantly dodging danger and fighting against oppression of many forms. Surround yourself with someone that makes joy feel tangible. It is vital for your mental health to feel free and supported.
Control your expectations.
Control yourself and how you react to a situation. We can’t expect someone to understand, let alone change their behavior. What we can do is turn the responsibility to ourselves and take control of our response. With no expectation for others you can understand and be able to better control yourself. Since, like you, I look forward to struggling with this, I want to share a mantra from Shine that assists in helping me focus my control.
“I understand I’m trying to control this situation; it’s what I’ve always done. I also realize that it’ not working for me anymore, causing me pain and driving unwanted behaviors. I am choosing to give this situation up to you dear Universe, with all the trust I have right now – however small that may be – that you will create a better outcome than I can. Take it. Thank you.”
And while I continue my attempt to live a lifestyle of self-care, I want to remind myself, along with my lovely readers, that it is okay to struggle in doing so. How are we supposed to master something we were never taught? It is not okay, however, to neglect yourself in order to satisfy someone else’s needs.
I leave you all with a hope of well-being and a blessing for tranquility. Now that you know what I’m working on in this new year to reclaim myself, I would love to read in the comments what practices some of y’all are adopting to ensure your sanity.