Why Self-Care Isn't Overrated
I’ve noticed a lot more dialogue on the topic of ‘self-care’ since the rise of awareness in mental health in recent years. I’ve to admit: it’s one of those phrases you kind of nod your head to in agreement because it sounds important but not convincing enough for you to take it that seriously.
What is self-care?
➤ A single or series of activities that you do to enhance your overall well-being.
Many of us probably have the idea of ‘self-care’ all wrong. I don’t blame anyone since many social media influencers package self-care as a luxurious and photogenic experience. In a way, self-care can feel luxurious because it involves treating ourselves well but that’s not what it’s about. It’s not about creating a fancy, picture-perfect life or spoiling yourself rotten.
Sometimes, self-care is taking the time to do unglamorous things like crying yourself out, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and reaching out to someone you trust for help. Self-care can be however you want it look like as long as you are working towards a version of YOU that is well-balanced inside and out.
Why is self-care important?
I’ve learned that self-care doesn’t get rid of all your problems but when done right, it will nourish your mind, body and soul so that you can be strong enough in every sense to keep up with the demands of your life.
I’ve stopped travelling between states for over a week now and have made it a priority to nurse myself back to health after a really bad breakdown I had last week. Real taIk: I get them, too. I was pushed to the edge and then I decided: ‘You know what, Sarina? You’re the only person who can truly take care of you the way you need to be because you know yourself the best. You’re going to detach yourself from anything that gives you bad energy and do more of what heals and uplifts you.’
In no particular order, these are what I do as part of my self-care routine that you could try out:
I used to enjoy hitting the gym more but in recent months, I find greater joy being outdoors, getting fresh air and feeling the warmth of the tropical sun. Exercising helps me to sleep better, too.
Eat wholesome foods.
I make it a point to eat more nutritious food and I’ve cut down on processed sugar and refined carbohydrates i.e. white rice. I drink plenty of water and I’ve also been eating less in general because it’s better for my gut health.
Spend time with uplifting people.
Certain people have the power to sweep away all your bad energy. As part of your self-care routine, limit or completely scrap out bad vibes from your life. Time is precious: don’t spend it with toxic, negative Nellies. Guard your space: not everyone deserves a spot.
Do what warms your heart.
Do some volunteer work, read something inspirational, etc. This may sound sad (and I don’t care) but being around my cats make me feel all fuzzy inside. If you’re an animal lover, you would know just how special you feel when your pets move places and sit themselves next to you. Ironically, animals know how to show affection better than humans do, and without words, too.
Focus on a task that you find rewarding.
It could be writing, gardening or even organising your closet. Do something that gives you some sort of satisfaction once you’re done with it, for example: I like gaining new knowledge so even 30 mins of reading makes me feel good because I know that time was well-spent. I also LOVE painting: seeing a piece of blank paper transform into a masterpiece is so satisfying.
Nurture your spiritual-self.
How many of us rush through all our 5 prayers? Our hearts are so focused on things other than Allāh, robbing us from the serenity that our prayers are supposed to give us. For the past week, I’ve made it a point to take my time when praying and it’s remarkable how much this has calmed me and healed parts of me I didn’t know needed healing. I love this quote I saw online: “Don’t rush to finish your prayers because whatever you’re rushing towards is in Allāh’s control.”
Disconnect when you need to.
I’m currently on a social-media detox and have deactivated my Instagram. Although I was restless in the first few days, I’ve now happily adjusted to an IG-free life. I tend to disconnect myself from social media for 2 reasons:
When I need to cut off all distractions to focus on something urgent i.e. I’ve a deadline.
When I want to stop feeling negative because lets face it: there’s so much rubbish on social media. The things you see can have a huge effect on how you feel about yourself and the world. You can’t avoid this 100% unless you’re not following anyone.
I know not everyone has a lot of free time on their hands to dedicate themselves to a self-care routine but there are always ways to do it. I suggest you figure out what works best for YOU. Start off with one ‘self-care activity’ per week and gradually increase it. Twice a week? 3-4 times a week? You’ll know what suits you best when you see the results from your newly-established habits.
Self-care requires discipline. If you’re serious about taking care of yourself, you’ve to make it a priority. I’ve downloaded the app Momentum to help me keep track on my daily/weekly goals and it’s been a great source of motivation.
Start small. When we want to form new habits: consistency is key. You’ve to make the task manageable or else you won’t be motivated to keep up with it. Once you’ve been consistent with your new habit then you can keep increasing how frequently you want to do it.
…All the best!