You’ve likely heard the term before: self-care. Maybe you’ve hummed along to “Borderline (An Ode to Self-Care)” on Solange’s life-giving album, A Seat at the Table. Have you wondered what self-care is, whether it’s another passing trend, and why it matters? Let’s deal with those first two questions.
What is self-care? According to Psych Central, self-care “is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.”
Is it a passing trend? Real talk, I definitely side-eye new things/trends that quickly come and quickly go. (Squiggly eyebrows, anyone?) However, I’m sure you’d agree that there’s no expiration date for finding a sense of peace within yourself by taking the time to re-fuel and re-energize. So, nope, this is not a passing trend.
Why does self-care matter? Here are three reasons:
Honestly, as women and as women of color, especially, we carry a whole lot on our shoulders, our backs, our minds. Work, stress, family, anxiety. And because we’re masters of multi-tasking, we tend to load more and more of life on ourselves without realizing that sadly, we’re slowly sinking. Self-care is how we rejuvenate and recharge our mind, body and spirit.
As women, it’s part of our makeup to take care of the people around us and in our lives first. Whether it’s your partner, your children or your good friend, most of us don’t hesitate to reach out to others to support and soothe. But have you ever nurtured yourself? The same devotion and attention we give to others can belong to us, as well.
“An empty lantern provides no light.
Self-Care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.”
Ever wonder why you’re making your way through life just fine and then suddenly you burst into tears while driving to the grocery store? Or is it just me? It’s very easy to let our feelings build up until we reach our breaking points as women. Self-care allows you to use dedicated time to ask yourself how you’re really doing, to truly examine those emotions, and to deal with the honest answers that will come.
What are some specific ways to practice self-care?
Well, as with most things in the 21st century, there’s an app for that. Massage magazine provides a list of 21 apps devoted to self-care. Some of my favorites are the Gratitude Journal app, where each day, you write down five things you’re grateful for, and Happify, an app that “suggests simple, happiness-boosting activities.” These apps are generally compatible with iOS and Android devices, so start downloading! And did you know that there’s an entire website devoted to helping women of color achieve self-care? The tag line for NoireCare, created by Tina Shoulders, is “what have you done for you lately?” It’s worth checking out, ladies. An entire platform dedicated to how to take care of you is a pretty amazing thing. (Read about what inspired Ms. Shoulders to start the website here.)
With our busy schedules, will it be easy to carve out the time for self-care? Quite honestly, no. Nevertheless, when we’re talking about emotional, physical, and mental health, it’s absolutely worth making the time as our mental and physical health depends on it.
Thanks for reading! How do you practice self-care? I’d love to hear your input in the comments below.
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