Self-care is all the rage these days. And rightly so, it’s wildly important to take care of your physical, mental, and emotion well-being. My relationship with self-care has always been on and off. Mostly because I hate the stereotypical ideas for self-care that are typically projected into the world.
They feel so corny and cringy and typically feel pretty directed towards women as if men don’t need self-care, too. I also think the phrase itself is a little ehhh. Self-care makes me feel like I am a baby in need of help.
Nah. I’m not a baby in need of care. I’m a badass bitch from hell who handles herself and her shit. (Most of the time. It’s not always easy. Sometimes the handling doesn’t go well. Whateva!)
If you know me, you probably know that I would describe my current chapter of life as “straight hustling”. I work a full-time job, I am a part-time, online grad student, I teach swim lessons and Bodypump, I am training for an ultramarathon, and I volunteer with CASA.
Now, I know that your level of busy and stressed is a status symbol in life right now, for whatever weird reason. So I don’t say that to boast or garner pity.
After all, I literally signed myself up for all of it. What it does mean, however, is that my time is limited and precious and that I am typically on the go quite a bit. It also means that I have become pretty good at focusing on my task at hand so that I can try to commit fully to whatever I am doing in that moment.
I am definitely not perfect at that. Some things are more time-sensitive than others or are just higher on my priority list. I make exceptions when I need to. For example, when my brain is fried from school, I make the decision to not cram a new Bodypump release into my brain, I just teach an older one.
ANYWAY, in the midst of all this stuff, it can be easy for me to forget to handle my own self. Except, it’s also impossible for me to forget. Mostly because I’ve realized in the last year that when I am not handling myself, I can’t do anything else well.
Unintentionally I developed some practices that I utilize almost daily to ensure that my physical, mental, and emotional well-beings are in tip top shape. Or at least solid enough for me move on!
How I Handle Myself
A non-comprehensive, personal list of “self-care” practices I engage in that work well enough for me and might be useful for you but also maybe not I am not a psychic:
- Movement. Unless I am feeling tired or ill, movement of some sort always helps me out. This is walking, running, bodypumping, moving around in the pool while teaching a swim lesson, dancing to Woman by Kesha in the kitchen while doing dishes. Anything to get the blood flowing and my brain calmer. This is why I am able to run so much, lol. It’s a solid amount of fresh air, away from my house and it keeps me sane.
- Being a savage on social media. Let me explain. A couple months ago I went on a massive unfollowing spree. I basically went down my following list on Insta and decided if I knew that person well enough to care about their day to day or if they inspired me. If the answer to either of those questions was ‘no’, I unfollowed. I also have a relatively (again, not perfect at this) zero-tolerance policy. So if someone irritates me or rubs me the wrong way, I unfollow. I have enough to think about, so someone dumb on social media should not be taking up my mental capacity.
- Eating what I want to eat. And not caring about it. It took me a while to foster a healthy relationship with food – and I don’t mean it took me a while to start eating “healthy” food. My healthy relationship with food means I eat what I want, when I want and there is no mental commentary or battle at all. If I am craving two glasses of OJ to chug this morning, I am going to chug two glasses of OJ. If I feel like I want some solid nutrients in my life, I’ll have a salad with cheese on it, for sure. A donut from HEB at 8:30pm? I’m into it. Sure, the calories give me energy to do all my stuff, but no energy is wasted on an emotional war in my head about what I choose to eat.
- Being my own hype woman. When’s the last time you looked in your mirror and just high-key complimented yourself out loud. You are a beautiful powerful creature and you deserve to hear it. I like saying things out loud to myself because I am never wrong. 😉 So if I say I’m looking fly today and I can do literally anything, I can.
- Being honest. I could go on all day about this. At first it seems a little intimidating because vulnerability is hard for many of us and seems like it can come with consequences, but it is worth it. If I tell people I trust that I am having a hard day or am exhausted or completely frazzled, they know what to expect and how to react. If I don’t, they might be totally shocked by my attitude, which is sucky to them. It is also sucky for me, if I don’t tell them the truth, because then I play the stupid mind game of “oh did I upset them? Are they mad at me?” It also works in the reverse. Yesterday Patrick hurt my feelings. I straight up told him that he hurt my feelings and I did not like it. And guess what? We handled it and went home and ate our chilaquiles together pleasantly. No more emotional or mental taxation.
- Enjoying what I want to enjoy. And not caring what other people say about it. Right now, this means all things fall-related. It also means never shutting up about my social work coursework. Loving the things you love makes life way more fun, even if they aren’t the “cool things”. Be like this guy.
- Drinking a lot of water. I get gnarly headaches when I am even slightly dehydrated, so this one matters a lot. I also have a tiny bladder, so sometimes the water is an issue but it’s still worth it.
- Being organized. I love my phone calendar. It is colored and organized and detailed and, when everything else feels like a mess, at least I know what’s coming up in the next day or week. It allows me to prioritize what needs to get done and what things I should prepare for myself moving forward.
- Taking a break. For school stuff, I work for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break. Sometimes in that 5 minutes I hang out with Patrick, sometimes I do the dishes, sometimes I do other work, and sometimes I sit on the couch with the dogs. This also means that I try my hardest not to do anything work-related after 5pm. If I feel fatigued or just not in the mood, I reschedule runs. Cut yourself some slack. Draw some boundaries.
- Read a book. This is not a new concept, but it is new to me. Typically, when I read, I read very quickly and I read like 15 books in two months. And then I get burnt out and don’t read for another year. I recently started reading, at minimum, two chapters of a book right before bed. It helps me control how quickly I read, stay off my phone before I go to sleep, and it helps me sleep better. I also have chosen books that are interesting and help me learn more about myself and the world.
Those are 10 things I could identify as I sat here in front of my laptop, but they are invaluable to me.
P.S. When is Trader Joe’s going to release all of the pumpkin stuff? Asking for ME!!!!