Do you know how sacred and special you are?
Women, Black Women specifically, have been socialized to take care of themselves only after we take care of everyone else. We’re working to ensure folks eat, folks feel good, and folks are joyful. And when we can squeeze out a few moments for ourselves, we sometimes feel guilty about it. How in the world are we supposed to become serious about self-care in a world like that?
We can and should do it though. According to the American Heart Association Black women 20 and older, 49% have heart disease while only 36% of us even know we’re at risk.
The bottom line is this, stress kills and self-care is prevention against that.
Understand that You’re Worth It
Self-care isn't always about bubble baths and pedicures. Self-care is literally about taking care of you! We have to begin to see ourselves as necessary and valuable. We usually do not hesitate to take care of things we appreciate. If you don’t really appreciate yourself (yet), it’s even more important that you see self-care is a strategy to help you do that. Try journaling and/or meditation to help you.
Unless you are intentional, you will find every reason in the book why you don’t have time to take care of yourself. By making use of your calendar and scheduling time for self-care you are more likely to succeed in becoming serious about it. Start small by building in rituals and habits that will help you the most. Make sure you put in the not-so-feel good things too like regular exercise, your mammogram, monthly pap smears, therapist appointments, and more..
Build a Tool Kit
When you first begin to get serious about your self-care, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. What do you do? How do you do it? When should you do it?
If you don’t plan, you may begin to feel overwhelmed by the newness of it all. To avoid this feeling, work on establishing a self-care tool kit. Things you can add to it are a journal, shea butter, a candle, incense, calendar, book of inspirational quotes, your goal list or 5-year plan, etc. When you feel uncertain of what you can do, you can always turn to your kit.
(And in case you don’t remember the self-care pull slips I gave away a while ago, I’ll be uploading a YouTube video about them on Sunday).
Surround Yourself with People Who Remind You
You should never feel like you have to say “yes” to everyone. Sometimes the best form of self-care is learning how to say “no.” Make sure you surround yourself with folks who will remind you of the importance of self-care and will hold you accountable to any self-care plan or routine you develop. And, if they’re really good they’ll likely suggest some ideas of things to add to your plan and toolkit.
Give Thanks for You
Gratitude is an important part of what we must do. We must give thanks for the opportunities to take care of the most precious things we’ve ever been entrusted with: ourselves.
Like anything else, when we are intentional and serious about achievement, when tend to achieve. Try these five strategies and tell me you don’t get more serious about your self-care.
Truly, I want to know how it goes so let me know.