Life Check: Extreme Self Care
I take my self care seriously. If I’m feeling drained, agitated, uninspired, or experiencing any other emotions that don’t sit right with me, I know I’m slacking on my self care game. Those feelings are a result of constantly being self-less, rather than self-full (a positive spin on being selfish). More often than not, I’m guilty of this. I’ve run myself into exhaustion and fatigue. I’ve put people’s feelings before my own. I’ve waited for others to change instead of changing the narrative myself. I’m working to put all of that in my past and it’s not selfish to put myself first. The steps I’m taking to be more self-full will actually make me a better person for those around me too and that sounds wonderful to me.
I love a good face mask, online shopping, and a day of relaxation, but most of the time those are temporary fixes for deeper issues. I want to develop habits that will make me feel good now and for the long term. Here are some self-care acts I’m focusing on right now:
Moving. I’ve been slow to start my fitness journey, but have found it beneficial to move in other ways. In January, we moved to a different neighborhood across town and closer to the beach. The location of our new apartment is awesome and we try to explore by foot as much as possible. We’re trying to make it a weekly tradition to walk to a nearby park to toss around a football and on Sundays check out our local farmers market for fresh goods and good eats. Working in an office five days a week and rarely stepping away from my desk really has me feeling sun deprived , so I’m cherishing any opportunity to get out in the sun, even during this oddly cold LA winter.
Stay Home. On the flip side of being out and about, I’ve learned the value of staying in. I used to never be home. I was always out shopping, at a show, meeting someone for coffee or staying out way too late. It was the FOMO that kept me out. I was always chasing “what if” moments and connections that usually didn’t happen or last very long. Now I seriously love being in my own world with my fiancé Vadym (pictured below) at home, whether it’s just the two of us or we’re hosting a dinner with friends. It gives me more time and space to focus on things that give me peace, such as keeping a tidy space, practicing beauty self-care rituals, stretching, writing, reading, and enjoying moments of calm. Also, I might as well be putting my rent checks and online decor purchases to use, right?
Read daily. Vadym reads 50+ books a year and has motivated me to get back in touch with my love for reading. Reading pulls me away from stressful thoughts by focusing my attention on stories. That has done wonders for my mental health. I aim to read between 20 to 30 pages every day, usually in bed before I go to sleep. We’re two months into 2019 and I’m on my fifth book of the year already. When I created my Good Reads account, I set my reading challenge goal as 10 books in one year. Seeing what I’m capable of, I’m determined to surpass that original goal.
Hydration. I downloaded the Plant Nanny app, which allows me to take care of a cartoon plant by watering it every time I drink water. The app helps determine how much water I should drink each day and sends reminders if I get off track. If I start slacking on my water intake, my plant starts to wilt. If I’m really dehydrating myself, which usually happens on the weekend, the plant risks death. The app might sound silly, but psychologically, it has helped me keep a habit of drinking water.
Pep talks and gratitude. I start every morning with Shine Text, an app that sends daily messages of motivation, affirmations, and research-backed advice. It also has audio tracks focused on self-improvement. Every day I look forward to reading the digestible articles and typing in my answers to the two daily questions: “What are you grateful today?” and “What are you doing to feel good today?” It makes me feel more grounded.
Seven to eight hours of sleep. You hear this one all the time, I’m sure, so I’ll keep it short. Eight hours of sleep literally makes me feel like a brand new human. I haven’t mastered this one yet, but I’m appreciating sleep more and working on making more sleep a habit.
Jumping. I’ll leave you with this one. I’ve been jumping a lot lately. Jumping away from toxic environments and people. Jumping through exciting opportunities. Jumping into new habits. It can be scary and risky, but so necessary. One day I decided to stop pitying myself and actually start living my life the way I want to live it. I don’t feel confident, energized, or powerful with my decisions every day, but I feel more on track than ever before.