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Self-love is a very important part of daily life, but for many it gets skipped over. Sometimes it gets brushed off due to a lack of time, because there are other priorities like kids, work and chores. Sometimes it’s a “money thing.” Sometimes we are stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts that tell us “You aren’t worth it.” “You don’t need to take time for yourself, that’s selfish.” Sometimes we just don’t feel like getting out of bed to take that shower or walk around the block, even if we know we really should or want to.
Not taking care of yourself can lead to or make those negative thoughts worsen and lead to depression, severe anxiety, or other mental health issues. Many of us already may deal with these issues on a daily basis and it’s a struggle to get out of bed and function as it is. Not taking care of yourself can also lead to physical issues that nobody really enjoys, but those things do occur as the days go by. These things include dental issues from a lack of brushing teeth (yes, brushing your teeth is self-care, as simple as it sounds), hair issues (from not caring for your hair), to other issues, like not taking daily medications can lead to serious issues. This does happen.
Everyone is worth caring for. Not everyone believes that they are worth the work, however. Self-esteem and self-worth are hard things to build up, but it can be done. These things aren’t built up overnight and have to be worked on daily. This isn’t a “3-week fix” and your life is magically wonderful kind of thing. I’ve spent two years in therapy and I still work on myself daily on this topic. I have to remind myself sometimes that I am worth all of the work I have done for myself.
I will confess, keeping up a self-care routine is not easy. I got off track with my routine, which includes mediation and yoga. I’m not exactly sure how this happened, but I was not happy with it. I’ve become a lot crankier lately and discussed it with my therapist. We worked out a simple plan to get me back on track. If you’re in that situation, it’s okay. It happens, just start small. Five minutes of mediation three times a week, for example, may not be what you did to begin with, but it beats nothing.
Tips for self-care:
- Find something calming that you enjoy. Some people prefer something sports related (not me), some people refer artistic things, (me! Coloring books are my thing) whatever it is, find and do it.
- Make time! This is hard for moms, but it must be done. I take out 15 minutes a day for myself and kick all of my kids out of my room. If your kids are younger, this is a hard one, and you may have to wait until they are asleep.
- It doesn’t have to be something expensive. My coloring books are usually under $5, and even sitting in your backyard in the quiet is free. So is a long, hot bath.
- Taking time for yourself is NOT SELFISH. I repeat: TAKING TIME FOR YOURSELF IS NOT SELFISH. If you don’t take care of yourself, who will take care of you? My therapist and I had a long talk on this one.
- Be easy on yourself. Unless you’re wearing a cape and getting paid millions to be in a movie, you’re not Superwoman. This is also not an easy one. This takes a lot of time but toss those “to do” cleaning lists and just let the mess sit.
- Don’t try to please everyone. You’re not a jar of Nutella or a large pizza. Some people will not be happy, no matter how hard you try, and that is not your fault. That’s on them.
- If you do need to talk to someone, do it. There is no shame in it, and there are so many wonderful therapists out there. There’s even apps for therapy now.
- Try yoga and/or meditation. Whatever gets you moving and works for you. Exercise gets chemicals going in your brain that makes you feel great and that’s always good.
- Remember, you’re worth it!
The importance of self-care cannot be discussed enough. Find what works for you and go for it! You will love the results.
Wrae Sanders is a parenting/mental health blogger in Louisville, KY. She has a BA in Clinical Psychology and a decade in mental health work experience. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, true crime podcasts, and movies. She is married and has three children.
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