As a writer, I have always been inspired by the concept of contrast. I have always been a firm believer in the fact that there can be beauty in even the most difficult moments, that where there is hardship, there can also be growth.
And that is why I have grown to learn that self care also requires contrast. I have grown to learn that even the smallest things I do for myself throughout my day, help to empower me and bring me back home to myself in the most transformative ways. Over the years, I have taught myself how to safeguard my mind and my body, how to choose them every single day, how to focus on being less perfect, and more real, in a world that sometimes forgets to do so. Over the years, I have fought for my own self care, I have reminded myself every single day what it means to take care of myself the way I take care of others. And it is within those moments, it is within those corners of the day, where I have figured out what it means to make my life beautiful.
Because this is what they don’t tell you — beauty is so much more than simply putting on your favorite lipstick. Beauty is so much more than having incredible skin. True beauty, real beauty, is bred within the act of choosing yourself. True beauty, real beauty, is self care. So take care of yourself. Be kinder to yourself. Make room for yourself every single day. Make time for yourself in your routine, be less passive in the ways you connect with your own soul. Just be gentle with yourself. Learn about yourself, and invest in the things that ignite you and make you feel good — because beauty is both mental and physical, it is something you have to work at each day.
If you are unsure of where to start — below are a few things I do throughout my day that help me to come back home to myself. I promise that when you start to invest in both your mind and your body, you are also investing in your happiness, your empowerment, and your confidence, because you’re investing in a life that works for you, and that gives back to you. You’re investing in a life that makes you happy on your own terms.
1. Safeguard your morning routine.
- Switch out certain physical routines with things that take longer to come to fruition. This is all about making small micro shifts towards taking more time for yourself each morning.
- Instead of buying coffee on the road, use a french press. Grind your beans. Take a moment to create something that you enjoy, be present in the process. On that same note, this could be reflected in the kind of products that you use.
- Try to choose items that make you connect with yourself. Use a face brush, like a Foreo LUNA Mini 2 to wash your face instead of splashing water on it and rushing to get ready. Use a thick moisturizer that smells invigorating to you — taking the time to let it sink into your skin is like taking time for yourself, and smelling something that appeals to you is scientifically proven to pull you deeper into a moment. I use the It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Moisturizing Super Cream — it has bergamot essential oils in it, which studies have shown increases feelings of positivity and wellness.
2. Set an intention for the day.
- Before you look at your phone, or open your computer, take a few moments to write out a morning intention. Invest in using your mind first thing in the morning for something that feeds your soul, that causes you to think about things other than social media, or emails, or getting right into the swing of your business. Really sit down with yourself, and decide who you want to be for that day.
- My intentions are often single words, little reminders that I can carry with me throughout my day. I will put the word on a post-it and tack that to my fridge, or to the bathroom mirror, or my wallet — any place or item I know I will be in contact with a lot during the passing hours. Whenever I see the word, it reminds me to be kinder to myself, or to say yes to something that scares me, or to stretch and relax my muscles for five minutes, etc.
3. Get ready.
- As someone who always worked from home, whenever I failed to put myself together, I always felt restless and a little anxious towards the end of the day. I was in a less inspired, less active, mindset. I was almost too relaxed, and sometimes that would make me less productive than I had to be for that day. That lack of productivity wouldn’t feel good — it would ignite a lot of anxiety within me. However, this changed when I started to make an effort to get ready each morning.
- As simple as it sounds, the act of getting yourself ready for the day, even if you don’t plan on leaving the house, does something for you psychologically. It prepares you, and sets the tone for the following hours. Whatever you do, it humanizes you, it makes you feel more put together, and that in turn causes your mindset to shift towards productivity.
- For me, putting on a few key makeup products like my favorite Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in1 Mascara and Becca’s beautifully glowy Champagne Pop highlighter , getting on my favorite jewelry, and getting dressed for the day in clothing that is comfortable, is key to feeling ready to tackle all of the things I want to accomplish within a day. It all comes together to make me feel more like myself. It makes me feel human.
4. Be kind to your body.
- At the end of the day, your body is yours for the rest of your life, and it is going to carry you throughout your days. So invest in it just as much as you invest in bath bombs, and face masks, and other things that help you to nurture yourself. Nourish yourself, too.
- This isn’t to say that you have to run a marathon in a week, or go on a healthy diet that feels restrictive to you. Start slow, make micro-shifts towards a healthier lifestyle. Put good food into your body, set alarms on your phone that remind you to drink water, go for a walk, stretch every thirty minutes if you sit at a computer all day, etc. Put effort into yourself.
- While eating healthy, and working out, may not always be the most exciting aspect of your daily routine, while they may feel like chores rather than moments to look forward to — you have to understand that sometimes self care isn’t fun. Sometimes, it is difficult to choose yourself in the ways that will best elevate you, but once you do, you will be glad that you did, because internally you know that you are taking care of yourself.
5. Confront your anxiety.
- Whenever something is making you anxious throughout the day — write it down. Always write it down. Don’t let these things spiral out of control because you never sat with them. If something causes worry, if something makes you feel less than worthy, if anything negatively impacts your day — write it down, and confront it. Always confront it.
- By being proactive in your self care, by taking the time to feel your feelings, and deal with them in the moments they occur, you don’t hold onto them. You can let them go. And when you let go of those stressors, self care stops becoming something that you only need in reaction to burnout or really bad days. You don’t deplete yourself, you don’t create a bottleneck of emotions within you. You let things go. They don’t weigh you down anymore. You free yourself, little by little.
- The same thing goes for social media. Confront the accounts and the people you follow that make you feel bad about yourself. You are a reflection of the content you consume, it affects you more than you know, just like the people you see in real life the most or the books you read or the shows you watch. So pay attention to the accounts that make you feel bad, and unfollow them. Safeguard your social space, just as much as you safeguard your physical space. Take care of your mental health.
6. Let your day go.
- I mean this literally — wash the day away. Use a scrub like Tree Hut Coconut Lime sugar scrub, or some sort of relaxing mask, like my favorite orange scented Dermalogica masque, at night. Take a shower. Do not jump into bed with your school work, or your emails, or a show that causes you to actively ignore the fact that you need to calm yourself and relax. Really cherish your nights. Make them your own special moment in the day where you can let go. Tomorrow is a new day. Invest in that.
7. Find your gratitude.
- Write in a gratitude journal. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, look at that journal. Remind yourself of the ways in which you have an incredible life. Remind yourself of the things that have made you smile, of the people you have met that have impacted your life. Listen to a podcast or read a book that ignites your mind. Do something that you feel passionate about. Before you sleep, just come back home to yourself.