What’s the first thing you may think about that question? For a long time, the answer to that question for me was – I’m being selfish. As a woman, and Indian that too, I have often found it difficult to cut out the expectations of what I was raised to believe. When growing up, you rely on your parents and the “village” to raise you into a good human being. We often forget or are never told that self care is important and necessary too.
But where is the line drawn from giving you what you need for your physical survival, to imposing questions like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. “Don’t question your elders. When they tell you to do something, just do it”. Or the infamous (in my community, at least) “What will people say?”. Regardless of your culture though, the same narrative still rings for most of us. So if you’re stuck in a similar rut, here are a few tips to start focusing on you right now… and forever more.
1. Spend Time with Yourself
The first thing to do towards self-care is to sit in silence. Sit with yourself and gently observe and absorb the person you are today. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, you love you. Even if you don’t, keep doing that every day and soon you will start feeling it. When you do take time out for you, start from a place of gratitude. Be grateful for where you are today and the person you’ve grown to become. Look at your hands or your eyes or your ears and thank them for helping you accomplish life. Example: You wouldn’t be able to scroll through this post or do anything without your fingers/body. Acknowledge it by thanking that part of the body. Soon enough you will start to see how the body you’ve been given is just a reflection of how well you mentally and emotionally take care of it.
2. Have One Day for You #SelfCareSundays
Take one day of the week and do something for yourself. Classify that day with your own hash tag so its something you look forward to every week. Put a reminder on your phone/planner/calendar that lets you know its time to take care of you. Whatever you find relaxing or rejuvenating is something worth doing. Example: Take a bubble bath, put a face mask on, binge a show, meditate for 5 minutes. Whatever brings you joy, do it. And do it often.
3. Set Boundaries
Boundaries are really important when it comes to being your own unique self. Some people in your life will try to impose or push ideas and beliefs onto you. It is important and your birth right to make sure that what you end up doing or believing is serving your soul’s purpose and not anyone else’s. Boundaries however, can be hard to set. We didn’t learn what they were when we were younger and our brains were more pliable, so it’s only natural to feel resistance or selfish when you think you need to throw up the hypothetical STOP sign.
Start small. Example: when people expect you to be available whenever they need you, take a step back and see if you truly feel happy to be there or you feel drained. If you feel the latter, then its time to make adjustments like letting these people know you are only available to speak at certain times or days. Or that you will get back to them when you can.
4. Become your own Best Friend
If you don’t like you, why should anyone else? That question itself is enough to start to treat yourself with love and kindness. Tell yourself how great of a person you are (no, not in the egoic way, in the compassionate way). Work on becoming your own best friend, and things will start opening up to be more of who you truly are. Self care starts with self love. I wrote an in-depth post about how to love yourself and become your own bestie.
5. Get a Therapist
Big ticket item here. But sometimes we are so stuck in our old ways that we don’t have the courage for change. This is where a therapist can help. One of the best things about therapists is that they are not allowed to literally tell you what to do. They give you suggestive comments, ask you what you think you can do, and better yet, ask you to talk about your past. That’s where the breakthrough happened for me. When you stuff emotions and beliefs from your younger self deep down inside you, you will feel a frustration with moving forward. The sooner you verbalize and let things go, the easier it is to focus on becoming the better version of you.
There are obviously a lot more things that you can do to help focus on you and give yourself the self care it truly deserves. However, starting with a few or all of things above will get you on the trajectory to becoming a better you. At the end of the day, you are worthy, you are important, you are a unique creation, you are loved, and you are love itself. Everything else is just noise. NAMI states that you need to take care of yourself before anything or anyone else. Those who cannot believe that you are being ‘selfish’ are in fact selfish themselves. Show them grace for they do not know what they do. Your true cheerleaders will stick by you through all parts of your journey. Evolution after all, is only natural. And evolution can only begin with you.
Are you being good to yourself? What self-care routines do you practice?
Featured photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Article last updated on September 13th, 2021