I’ve been wanting to do a “2017 Reflection” post for a while now, and as I was in the midst of writing a long post about what I learned in 2017 and what I’m going to apply to the new year, I found myself continuously going back to one idea: self-care. So I decided that instead of doing a cumulative post on the previous year/new year, I wanted to focus on something that drastically changed the way that I see myself, carry myself, and interact with the people around me. Before you close this tab and stop reading because you think you’re just reading another blog post by some twenty-something hippie, you kind of are, BUT HEAR ME OUT.
About a year ago, I had a close friend say to me, “Chloe I think you need to take better care of yourself.” I felt this weird tension between being offended but not feeling quite justified in my offense. Lots went through my mind as I processed what she had said. I shower every day, I even use a clean towel every other shower. I don’t physically harm myself, I have regular check-ups at the doctor, I am not blatantly turning away from the Lord. But do those things define “taking care of yourself”? Maybe. But maybe there’s more. What is taking care of yourself, self-care?
I always thought that self-care was limited to the simple, generic things that people think of when someone mentions, “taking care of yourself” – the things I mentioned above. But what I’ve learned is that there are so many more elements: physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, you name it. I think self-care is something that is often overlooked and underrated, but like I said, it has completely changed the way that I see myself, carry myself, and interact with the people around me. With the help of a couple precious friends/mentors, I have come to the realization that if I’m not taking care of myself first, then I’m not giving other people the best version of me – and that’s not fair to either party.
When I first started practicing self-care, it was hard for me to carve out even 30 minutes per WEEK. I had CONVINCED myself that there was no way that I had an extra 30 minutes per week, much less per DAY, to do something I wanted to do – something that increased my sense of self-love, something that promoted feelings of relaxation, something that allowed me to refocus and maintain/improve my physical, emotional, spiritual, relational health. But the reality was: the problem wasn’t that I didn’t have time, the problem was that I wasn’t making time. I would mindlessly scroll through the explore page on Instagram for 45 minutes, but I “didn’t have time for self-care”. I would sleep until 1:00pm every Saturday, but I “didn’t have time for self-care”. I would wander around Target for an hour with no list or plan, but I “didn’t have time for self care”. Although there IS space for those things (especially wandering around Target, shoutout to all you other Target lovers out there), I have learned that in order to function WELL, you have to prioritize the things that allow you to grow into the BEST version of you.
I want to share with you some of my favorite self-care activities and encourage you to try some. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself!
- Set aside a couple hours to put away technological distractions (This is freaking hard, but once you get the hang of it, you will literally LOOK FORWARD to it)
- Practice simple, mindful movement (yoga, walk, slow jog)
- Spend some time in nature (garden, hike, star gaze, hammock, etc.)
- Organize your closet (shoutout to all the other type A humans out there – color coordinated closets are my love language)
- Use essential oils as an emotion regulator (haters gonna hate on the oils, but I’m telling you, aromatherapy is real, people)
- Paint your nails
- Sit down at a local coffeeshop and journal and/or read
- Spend intentional, extended time in prayer. Whether it’s before bed, while you’re driving to work/class, or while you’re getting ready in the morning, set aside extended time to be in prayer
- Download the Self Checkout app – it keeps you checked in emotionally, all day long. So mindful!
- Listen to a self-care playlist (you can check out mine if you click right here!)
There are a million other things that you could do – these are just a few of my favorites. I am by NO MEANS an expert at self-care and there are weekly (some weeks, daily) failures over here on my end, but I want to just encourage you that whatever it may be for you, do something intentional that helps you maintain your personal wellbeing, relationships, health, spirituality, etc. I pinky promise you won’t regret it!