How To Love Yourself By Practicing Simple Self-Care
It took me many years to learn that you have to love yourself before anybody else will. You need to put yourself first on a daily basis. If you won’t put yourself first, at least focus on yourself every day in some way.
How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you. — Rupi Kaur
I have spent years treating myself like a worthless piece of trash for the benefit of others. I have said yes, out of guilt, when I wanted to say no. I have neglected time with my family in order to put more hours in at work. I have let down my parents in order to keep my job.
Every choice I have made has affected some other aspect of my life. For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. This is true in every single aspect of our lives and with every single action we take. Sometimes, I feel like I just can’t win no matter what I do or how good my motives are.
I spent many weekends of my life sick or sleeping instead of spending time with my family. For the longest time, I blamed this on my autoimmune disease. Only when I got older, did I take any responsibility in my physical ailments. It had an epiphany when I realized I did not have to leave my health in the hands of healthcare workers or medicine.
Please do not think I am underestimating the benefit of healthcare workers or medicine, because that is the last thing I would ever do. Yet I realize that these medicines and procedures should be used as a tool in conjunction with other things. They should be used as the next step when holistic healing is not enough.
Religion and spirit
For many years of my life, actually the majority of it, I would describe myself as an agnostic. I knew there was a higher power in my heart. However the higher power I wanted to believe in would not treat people the way I felt the religious people around me treated others. I knew a loving God would not be so judgmental and dogmatic.
After a decade or two of loss and tragedy, I had what some would call an awakening. Others might call it a mental breakdown. But whatever you call it, I have been nothing but the better from it.
After this awakening, which occurred on the worst evening of my life, I no longer doubt that there was a reason for my existence. I also know now that just because I couldn’t see them, that didn’t mean I didn’t have many people rooting for me behind the scenes. Just these facts alone took a huge load off of me.
I am finally a person with faith. I am still not religious, but I am spiritual.
My body is not a temple, but it’s not a shack either
As someone with a chronic autoimmune disease, I must always be cautious about what I put into my body. Eating the wrong food or drinking the wrong drink can cause me painful problems for days.
To stay feeling my best, I make sure to drink plenty of water daily. At first, I tried to drink half my body weight in ounces of water per day, which is recommended right now. I quickly learned that I could not work full time and do this, because I would spend half the day in the bathroom. Still, I drink water as often as possible,which will have to be good enough.
Every single day I focus on making good choices within my diet, such as choosing tea over vodka or Coke. I have learned to declare myself hydrated based on the color of my urine. I won’t deny being a little concerned about how often I stare my urine. But I cannot deny that being hydrated makes me feel better than anything else does.
Staying positive is much easier said than done in these trying times but it is a necessity to maintain one’s mental health.
I try to keep my mind occupied only with positive things. I try to socialize and gravitate to positive people. I don’t want to constantly hear negative messages or mean chatter. It brings my energy down which makes me feel sluggish and irritable.
I do not watch the news or violent programming often and I try to choose music that is inspiring or contains a good message. Although I cannot deny I still have an affinity for gangsta rap.
I have always been an outdoor girl, but there is a lot less day drinking involved now that I’m over 40. Even so, I still try to get out in nature as often as I can. I will work in my garden or I will take my dogs on a walk.
When I do this, I never have my phone in my hand. I focus on being outside and being in that particular moment. To me, this is a form of meditation and one of my favorite ways to relax.
Another way that I practice self-care is by practicing mindful hygiene. This just means taking care of yourself in a very slow and deliberate manor.
For example instead of rushing through a quick shower and shave, I will soak in a hot bath and focus on cleansing myself slowly and deliberately. Then, I will get out and slowly pat myself dry. I’ll take my time moisturizing every part of my body and face.
There are many other ways to practice mindfulness in hygiene. Being slow and deliberate with your movements helps you to relax, which is essential in self-care. Stress does more damage to our bodies than most of us realize. And of course when we look our best, we feel our best. This is where the good hygiene comes in handy.
Thank everyone and everything
Being grateful helps me maintain a positive attitude. And I need all the help I can get with that, because I have three teenagers living with me.
I thank everybody for everything. If I’m not doing it out loud, I am expressing my gratitude in my journal or in my mind. Expressing gratitude helps us focus on the positives and takes away focus from the negative. This can only help every relationship we have including the one we have with ourselves.
The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see. — Mary Davis
Self-care is not an option. It is a necessity all of us must prioritizing. The benefit it provides to us will trickle down to our loved ones and relationships in a positive way.