For many of us, the never-ending cycle of the rat race leaves us physically and emotionally exhausted. The world we live in today is filled with so much to do. It is so busy and the “fomo” (fear of missing out) is just too great. We drain ourselves, and GO, GO, GO without stopping to notice that we have forgotten to fill ourselves back up. That’s where self-care and self-love come in.
But, there is a misconception that self-care and self-love are selfish. NOT true! How can you be good to others, if you are not good to yourself! You owe it to yourself to take care of yourself and to love yourself.
Self-care: the actions that we take to take care of ourselves physically and spiritually.
Self-love: the actions that we take to take care of our emotional well-being.
Neither self-care nor self-love should have a negative connotation; it is not selfish to place a priority on our physical and mental health. Both are necessary to achieve a happy and well-balanced life. But, what’s the difference? Well,:
Self-care is “taking the time to genuinely take care of ourselves (nourishing our bodies, moving our bodies, taking a nap, getting a mani/pedi, shopping, etc.).”
Self-love is “TRULY and genuinely accepting and loving who you are. Loving your entire self – regardless of your income, relationship status, where you live, your weight, number of followers, etc. It’s a deep love and appreciation for yourself from the inside. Not based on anything exterior from yourself.”
And of course the two are linked! Self-care is the first step to loving and embracing ourselves. In order to properly practice self-care, we have to learn to listen to ourselves and be in tuned with our bodies. Did last week’s project tire you out? Was yesterday’s work more stressful than usual? After recognizing the challenges and obstacles that we have faced and overcame, reward ourselves with a break and understand that it is well deserved. Activities like walking around the neighborhood, taking bubble baths, eating a balanced diet, and sleeping well all fall under this category. Every day, we should take a moment out of our busy lives to recognize our accomplishments and be proud of ourselves. We should celebrate even the tiny wins and thank ourselves for a job-well-done!
Aside from caring for our physical well-being, our mental and emotional well-being is also extremely important, although they often get neglected. Here are some ways to practice self-care in our daily lives to fuel our self-love & self-gratitude:
1. Give ourselves daily affirmations
By speaking aloud positive affirmation to ourselves, we become more confident and optimistic in nature. As with Keen, we are rewiring our brains to think differently and are simultaneously removing negative thought from our minds. Here are a few examples to start with:
And here are two videos with positive affirmations to bookmark:
2. Listen to our emotions
We should let our hearts and bodies react in a situation. Don’t ignore or suppress the emotions. Simply observe them and acknowledge the emotions, whether positive or negative. By staying and acknowledging the emotions that we feel, we are understanding the reasons behind each expressed emotion and reconnecting our hearts and minds. Letting emotions take control sometimes can feel scary and daunting, but it can also be seen as a part of our bodies’ process to self-heal and love.
3. Learn to forgive ourselves
To begin, we need to acknowledge the situation and our actions. Accept the guilt that comes with our actions but don’t wallow in guilt. By forcing ourselves to suffer as a form of self-punishment, we are also forcing those around us to suffer as a result. We need to change our mindset and stop telling ourselves that we should do this or be that. Instead of focusing on the single wrong thing that we did, put everything in perspective and think of the right things that happened. We shouldn’t let one wrong action define us. Striving for perfectionism begins a vicious cycle of exhaustion and dissatisfaction. After understanding and reflecting on the situation, we need to decide on our plan of action, whether that is a change in our behaviors, an apology to others, or stop reliving memories of past faults. From there, we should recognize our progress from self-blame to making an effort to prevent future occurrences.
4. Be comfortable with ourselves
For many of us, being comfortable in our own skin remains difficult regardless of how old we are. Social media has created unrealistic images of how we are suppose look, act, and be. We never feel satisfied with ourselves and constantly try to attain perfection. Nonetheless, the longest relationship that we will ever have is the relationship with ourselves; therefore, it should be a happy and healthy relationship, not a toxic one.
Changing our mindsets is like running a marathon. It’s a long and enduring process, but with every little step we take, we are one step closer to the finish line. To start, try to find 10 minutes each day to incorporate little ways to practice self-care, whether it is repeating positive mantras to ourselves at the mirror or taking a stroll around the neighborhood. With self-care and self-awareness, we become closer to our inner selves and fill ourselves with love and gratitude.
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