Putting Me First: 10 Ways I Practice Self Care

Hey y’all! It’s been a crazy few months grinding and hustling. 2018 is amazing and I’m feeling super blessed. However, it’s not always rainbows and glitter. My journey I share on the blog has changed over the years from strictly fitness and food to incorporate more of my entrepreneurial and personal journey as well. The other week, I went in for a mid-day lash appointment at Peachy Keen Studio. Something I look forward to because it allows me to close my eyes and pry my phone away from hands. Somehow, it turned into a half day of pampering where they dolled me up with make up, hair and squeezed in a photoshoot just for fun! I didn’t know how badly I needed a non-work related day until I walked out feeling so refreshed, so energized, and happy.

The lesson here is that even with SO much on my plate, this reprieve from the grind was what I needed. I didn’t even want to allow myself to feel guilty about it. But, I did. For a second. And it got me thinking about self care and why is guilt something I (we?) feel so often? When I think of self care and mental health, I’m constantly looking for a balance between putting everything into my work and putting myself first. Feeling guilty about putting myself first is bizarre! As someone that gives a lot of my time and energy to projects and people, I sometimes forget to give back to myself. So I want to share how I practice self care.

Be More Selfish

One lesson I’ve learned is to be more protective of my time with work and even with friends and family. I talked about the power saying no and setting firmer boundaries in this blog, and it’s a mantra or rule I refer to often. And with being more selfish with your time/energy/self, that also means not feeling guilty for putting yourself first. Easier said than done. I’ll decline invitations to events, birthdays, heck… even weddings. If it’s something that is more draining than it is positive, I choose not to go and don’t apologize for it. I’ve overextended myself so many times, the recovery hurts me more in the long run. The need to recharge when my battery is at zero doesn’t serve me when I need to be at 100 for things that do matter more.

It’s not cheesy. Just meditate.

I’m obsessed with this free meditation app called Simple Habit. So much so, I decided to pay for the $12 monthly subscription to get access to more of their library. There’s an amazing variety on the app that applies to almost any need. I take advantage of the meditations pertaining to work stress, anxiety, gratitude and sleep. One of my favorite meditations would be the quick 5 minute ones before a big event or public speaking but I’ve found myself reaching for this app for a chance to reset whenever I need it. It’s amazing what a few breaths can do and how it can reset your mind. What’s really fascinating about this app is its vast library. I’ve seen meditations created for everything from relationships and sex, handling physical pain, PTSD, bullies, and the list goes on.

Workout. Duh.

Ok, this is a no brainer because my blog is about fitness and working out. However, since I don’t have a set schedule, I have to force myself to break away and go to the gym especially when I start spiraling from my work. If I feel stuck or overwhelmed, I just get up, get in my workout, and let out my frustration before getting back at it. This helps me delay immediately reacting to a snippy email, a work fire or from taking things personally. When I worked at a corporate job, I would take walks throughout the day or do a lunch time workout to break the monotony of a sitting at a desk.

Block off or schedule time for myself

Going back to being selfish, schedule time with yourself, for yourself the way you would a meeting or doctors appointment. It’s not enough to say, “Sunday I’m just doing me!”. Writing it down or setting a calendar reminder reinforces that intention. I’ll block off a few hours where I get to do what I want. I do my best not to schedule meetings, outings, or anything in that time. It’s non-negotiable. If you’re setting time with your boss, you don’t get to flake on it. You are the boss of your life. Show up.

Keep a highlight journal

A highlight journal is a way to remind yourself about all the good things. I often times feel productivity guilt. I never feel that I’ve worked long enough or hard enough because I’m constantly thinking about what else needs to get done. If I get a cool opportunity or recognition for something or complete a big task, without taking more than a breathe to acknowledge it, I’m already thinking about what to do next. That’s draining AF to constantly feel as though I’m underachieving. So I decided to make a list of all the cool things that are happening or have happened and I look at it when I am feeling down on myself. A highlight journal doesn’t have to be fancy. I have a note I created on my phone and every month, I list the accomplishments and victories I made that month. It could be “New PR in deadlifts” or “Got accepted into a new program”. Going back and adding to that list helps me stop to recognize all the things I am doing well instead of focusing on what hasn’t been done. This is how I give myself grace and how I pat myself on the back.

Turn off notifications

Even though social media is part of my work, I turn off all the notifications. Most of these notifications are pointless and distracting. I turn off the push notifications for Instagram, Facebook, and any app that I don’t need. I’ll even turn my phone over so I don’t see it light up and only check it when I want to check for them. That gives me power back in a way. Seeing my phone light up often is distracting and can cause anxiety when I’m trying to focus. I’m also a fan of my Do Not Disturb function for when I’m sleeping. Unless it’s a call or emergency, emails, texts, and notifications can wait till the next day.

Treat yourself

Clearly by the looks of these pictures I was doing just that. Outside of my usual armor of work out clothes, I love being girly. To me, treating myself can mean getting a mani/pedi, a spa day, splurging on make up or skincare, seeing my friends for dinner or happy hour, or shopping. Ha! Bet y’all didn’t know I’m a converted tom boy. My closet is literally 50% workout clothes 50% summer dresses. This is where I’ll indulge in food, shopping, or time. That could be hanging out with friends longer than planned and not immediately rushing back to work.

Simplify your life of things, commitments, and people

My life is in a constant flux of decluttering and simplifying. When I’m feeling great, I take on more and when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m trying to do less. So in some form or fashion, I’m getting rid of negativity, toxicity, and junk. That can mean revamping work space, cleaning out the closet and donating clothes, and sometimes that can even mean getting certain people out of your life. As I’ve matured, my circle of friends gets smaller and smaller and I want to focus on the people that show me they want me in their lives. It’s actually less stressful with fewer folks to worry about! One of biggest changes for me this year is doing more with less. I’m a better friend, sister, and person because I’m giving to people who are giving back. It’s a beautiful feeling.

Plan a trip or getaway

I LOVE traveling. It’s so fun having an experience to look forward to in the future. If you really want to go somewhere, you’ll make it happen. I saw an amazing deal and recently booked a 15 day trip to Asia in the fall. I blocked off that time NOW so that I don’t give away that time to anyone else. I’m headed to Hong Kong and Thailand and it’s going to be an adventure. This year, I’ll be traveling at least once a month and I’m excited to make new memories in different cities. For my birthday in January, I’m also planning a trip to the Cayman Islands with my best friends. There’s something about new adventures that really help me refocus, reset, and feel so happy alive!

Give yourself grace

Harder said than done. This is where I have to really push aside those feelings of guilt and anxiety and just cut myself some slack. I’ve learned to be more aware of when I’m starting to feel those things and do my best to put a stop to it. I’ll literally say out loud, “dude…chill out. You’re doing great.” It’s realizing we are in control of our own feelings and emotions and we have say in how we react to people and situations. Remember to give yourself grace. Daily.

I really enjoyed sharing how I give back to myself and practice self care. Self care is different for everyone and I feel this can apply to other entrepreneurs, mothers, significant other… literally anyone. What does it mean to you?

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