Hey y’all! You know your girl is BIG on self-care. So, let’s talk about it. One of the biggest misconceptions around self-care is that a lot of time is required. I know you’ve heard people say “I just haven’t had enough time”, “I’ve been super busy” or “As soon as things slow down, I’m going to do that” in reference to making time for their own self-care. It’s as if we’re waiting for our lives to make room for our self-care when, in all actuality, WE should be making room for self-care. According to an article from Psych Central, self-care is deliberate. This means it is to be done consciously and intentionally. Translation…MAKE IT HAPPEN! But how? Trust me, it’s much easier than you may think. There are ways to implement self-care into our daily lives that don’t require much planning or time. In fact, you don’t even have to leave your house. That’s right! Check out my list of effective and efficient self-care tips that are SURE to help.
Self-Care Tip #1: Essential Oils
Essential oils are my favorite! I use my peppermint oil to relieve headaches and lavender oil to help my son sleep. Below is a list of various essential oils and the ways in which they are effective.
- Orange – uplifting
- Lavender – heightens relaxation
- Rosemary – eases anxiety
- Peppermint – improves concentration
- Basil – fights mental fatigue
- Helichrysum – clarifying and grounding
And there are so many more essential oils out there. I even found a good Black owned essential oil brand on We Buy Black! I encourage you to do some research and find the ones that you feel would be most helpful to you. And be sure to purchase a diffuser while you’re at it. Click here for a list of specific ways that you can use essential oils to promote self-care.
Self-Care Tip #2: Exercise
Exercise is bigger than just making us look good. It also helps us feel good. Exercise increases your level of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. When we exercise, endorphins are released that can help improve your mood, help you feel more relaxed, and as a result, help you deal with stress and reduce the risk of depression. Exercise can also improve your sleep by helping you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
And you don’t have to devote hours of sweating buckets in the gym to your day. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is all you need. You can even break it into two 15-minute workouts if that’s easier. If 30 minutes doesn’t seem doable for you right now, start with 5-10 minute exercise sessions and gradually increase your time.
Self-Care Tip #3: Feed your Spirit
My relationship with God is a major part of my life. I’ve been through some really dark times where I know that if it had not been for my faith, I would not have made it out with my sanity. Taking time to feed your spirit gives you a level of fortitude that you can’t find anywhere else. Here are a few ways that you can feed your spirit in order to keep yourself grounded and strong enough to combat the enemy.
1. Read a Devotional
Some people start their day with it while others end their day with it. For me, I’ve found it most effective to read my devotion in the morning. This allows me to start me day on the right foot with God at the center and better prepares me to respond in a more productive manner to the stresses that come. The YouVersion Bible App has a plethora of devotionals to choose from, and they are organized by topic. So if you want to actually read a devotional that will help with anxiety and stress, it’s there. You can find a devotional to cover just about any topic within the app.
2. Read the Bible
Sometimes you may find yourself in a place where you just need to go straight to The Book. I have yet to face a challenge or season in my life that stumped the Bible. There’s always been a scripture that I’ve been able to apply to my situation and find comfort and encouragement in. My pastor always says when you open your Bible, God opens your mouth. Make time for God to speak to you. Don’t rush it. Be sure to take time to hear him clearly through his Word.
Make your requests known to God. Yes, he knows everything, but all relationships thrive off of effective communication. Even our relationship with The Father. Talk with him just like you would talk with a friend. Share with him the desires of your heart, your worries and anxieties, your dreams and aspirations. Then ask him for wisdom, guidance, and clarity. You will feel so much lighter once you do!
Self-Care Tip #4: Music
Music is a language that we all speak, no matter our race, ethnicity, background or upbringing. It heals the soul in ways that nothing else can. Here are some ways you can incorporate music into your life as a form of self-care.
1. Create Various Playlists
When you create your own playlist, you know you won’t have to skip many songs (if any) because they’ve all been handpicked by you! Having a set of playlists that will bring the vibe that you may need on any given day is a game changer. For example, I have a chill playlist that I listen to when I want to feel relaxed. I have a few gospel playlists that I use when I either want to feel close to God or I just want to jam out to something that’s edifying. I’ve also created a neo soul, a jazz, a love song, and a plain old ratchet playlist. No matter what mood I’m in or want to get to, I have music that will get the job done.
2. Add Music to the Mundane
The basic, boring tasks of life don’t HAVE to be basic and boring. Literally throwing some music on as you do it makes a world of difference. I LOVE to play music while I cook. Although cooking in and of itself is a form of self-care for me, that’s not the case for everyone. So try throwing on one of your playlists as you cook. The same thing goes for working out. You may find yourself going harder and working out for longer when you have good music playing. Washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, taking a shower or bath, the list goes on and on. Start adding music to the mundane and I bet you money that you will feel the difference!
3. Relaxation Playlists
For me, Spotify is my place for all things music. Not only do I use it to create my own playlists, but I absolutely love their pre-made playlists for relaxation. They have everything from actual music to nature sounds, and they have playlists for babies and even some for dogs! I advise you to check it out.
Self-Care Tip #5: Just Breathe
There are various breathing exercises for relaxation and stress management, but my go to is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Simply put, you breathe in for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, then exhale for 8 counts. “The 4-7-8 technique forces the mind and body to focus on regulating the breath, rather than replaying your worries when you lie down at night. Proponents claim it can soothe a racing heart or calm frazzled nerves. Dr. Weil, a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, has even described it as a ‘natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.’”
While this is a short list of ways to practice self-care, you can click here for a more comprehensive list. This link consists of 151 self-care ideas to increase mindfulness and avoid burnout. I implore you to explore the article and take note of 2-3 things you will vow to implement in your life. Write them down and make a promise to yourself. Remember, don’t wait for life to make room for your self-care. YOU take charge of your life and make it happen for YOU! There’s only one you in the world and she is loved and needed. Take care of you!
I love you and I mean it,
Coach Jo AKA Lady Grace