This past week, and past many months, have created extra stresses, whether it is the election, continued COVID struggles, and or, for some, midterm season. I know I have personally fallen out of my own self care rituals and routines. My room is a disaster, I feel tired and anxious. I am ready to recreate my own self care rituals that include self care activities, boundaries, and reorganizing / reprioritizing my time.
When it comes to creating your own self care or self love rituals, practices, and routines, it is important to acknowledge this shows up in many MANY different avenues. For example, in our newest issue, “Love Yourself to Express Yourself”, the artist Dory Bigbluetang found herself trapped in her own perfectionism and the comparison to other artists and styles. Dory decided to break out of this through pursuing her own creative challenge. For many artists, myself included, we can relate to this story and this crave to find our own creative voice that allows us to break away from those pressures and comparisons. How we shape our lives to be more inclusive of self care and self love can vary greatly from person to person.
Here are some questions to consider when analyzing ways to include more self care and self love practices (These can be used as some guiding journaling questions to focus on personal reflection):
- How do I currently prioritize my time? What does my current schedule focus my time on?
- What self care do I currently pursue in my schedule and how often do I make time for it?
- What are some of my current biggest stressors?
- When I get stressed, feel negative, etc., what thoughts run through my mind?
- Overall, what would I like to improve in my life? (examples – mental health, physical health, boundaries, balancing, relationships, career life…)
- What makes you happy? (It can be ANYTHING! What things in life bring a smile to your face, a pitter to your heart, or butterflies to your stomach?)
I give the example of Dory’s art because often we don’t think of “self care” or “self love” being connected with our careers, our hobbies, our “life” outside of, well, ourselves. Self care and self love inherently relate to how we are taking care of our bodies and minds – and these are greatly affected by the large stressors in our lives (including finances, careers, relationships, etc.). Listed below are some other self care ritual ideas to help you get started:
- Journaling – Weekly, nightly, or just whenever needed, journaling helps us process, analyze, or even just vent.
- Physical Activity – I’ve noticed my work and my school has me sitting almost all day long. Not only is physical activity great for your mental health as it releases mood regulating brain chemicals, but it will also help loosen up your body. Your body might become stiff and even sore after sitting for so many hours as a day.
- Sleep Schedule – My therapist always stresses sleep (she studies it!) so I know this is an important one! Whether you are a night or morning person, this one is just about creating a schedule so that your body 1. Gets enough rest and 2. Maybe you can try waking up and going to sleep around the same time everyday. This might help get your body into a “body clock”.
- Creating a Morning and Night Routine – Something I LOVE to do in the morning is make my bed. It makes my room feel more accessible for lounging throughout the day and it makes me feel more productive in the morning. Creating routines help us feel organized and in control.
- A 10-minute Nightly Room Tidying Session – I am suggesting this as I personally know what it feels like to become so focused on school or work and my bedroom (hence, my environment) becomes my last concern, leaving it to be destroyed. Not only does it make me feel like my life is a mess, but it makes the task on deep cleaning days 10x more daunting. I found that having a nightly tidy session made me feel so much more cozy and comfortable with going to bed and waking up. It also makes me feel more productive. I recommend setting a timer for anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes and using that time to throw away any trash, take out any dishes, put away any extra objects lying around (i.e. makeup, school work, etc.), and make sure to put all clothing where it belongs (hamper or drawers). Doing these simple steps will make you feel productive and your space feel clean.
- Boundaries / Balance – This is an important thing we all struggle with. We all need boundaries, not only in our relationships, but also in our work. We need to know for ourselves, and respect this for ourselves, when we begin feeling that we may need a break, are experiencing burnout, or just want to stop and focus on something else. We also need to know for ourselves when and when not to focus on work (and in what settings). If I am at my boyfriend’s house watching a show with him, I will put my work away and spend my time with him until it is time to shift back into work mode. Balancing and boundaries are all difficult. Believe me, I overwork all the time. I even have moments where I underwork because I am compensating for how hard I worked before. It is all about knowing when too much is too much, and knowing how to build routines and schedules so you can have work time and social time and personal time.
- Doing What Makes Me Happy! 🙂 – Whether it is a career path, a hobby, a solo dance party or karaoke session, I want to make sure I spend my time pursuing as many activities as possible that genuinely increase the quality of my life. For Dory, this meant shifting the way she creates.