We are constantly bombarded with images and headlines of the senseless mistreatment and murdering of our brothers and sisters. We wake up to notifications of the latest foolery coming from the White House. Our jobs are stressful. Our obligations to our partners, spouses, children, and families are endless. Our days are packed with things to do and people to see. And by the time we’ve completed our tasks-we’re left drained and with very little to give ourselves. We climb into bed- and before we know it, we’ve spent hours scrolling through the time-line (TL) in search of something to lift our spirits- eventually drifting off to sleep and then waking the next day, only to repeat the same exact cycle. What did we do to nourish our temple- mentally, physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually? Where was the self -care? What does self-care even mean?
If you’ve ever searched the self-care hashtag, you’d likely encounter thousands, if not millions, of images of white women in spa robes and/or bathtubs. We’ve come to equate self-care with taking a bubble bath and while baths are great- they aren’t the end all be all of self-care.
Self-care is any action whose intention is to preserve or improve one’s health and wellness. In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives- we’ve become disconnected from ourselves; self-care is what restores the connection between our mind, body, and spirit.
To be quite honest, restoring that lost connection is sometimes uncomfortable. It requires us to be intentional. Intentional with our time, or even, with our finances. It may require that we draw firm boundaries with those around us to allow us the space to give back to ourselves.
As Black women, we are socialized from a very young age to feel that our existence is solely to serve others. We’re loving, we’re giving, we’re nurturing, and we’re fiercely loyal- often at our own detriment. The act of making time for yourself may feel foreign and very selfish. But, it’s so necessary, sis.
My late mother-in-law, Debra (may she rest peacefully), always begged me to make time for myself. “Cass,” she’d say, “you can’t pour from an empty vessel”. It wasn’t until she passed, and I felt like I was drowning from all my responsibilities, struggling to allow myself to properly grieve, and feeling emotionally/mentally depleted – that I finally understood that I had to make myself a priority. It took being burnt out and severely depressed for me to realize that I am equally as important as everyone and everything in my life. And I must treat myself as such. It’s impossible to be my best self if I don’t care for myself.
If you’re accustomed to always putting yourself last, prioritizing yourself may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be, sis. A small, yet consistent, change can be very impactful in your overall wellness journey.
Below are five ways to honor yourself with self-care. Please don’t attack all of them at once- that’s a recipe for discouragement and disappointment. Instead, choose one that you feel would be an easy addition to your routine, and make a promise to yourself that you’ll incorporate that into your life for at least 4 weeks. I’m confident you’ll be glad you did.