Welcome to Octane’s Self Love Blog Series! This series is a collection of 4 posts from an array of guest bloggers focusing on the concept of loving yourself beyond the month of February.
Week 2: Tips on Self Care
“Put yourself at the top of your to-do list every single day and the rest will fall into place.” – Unknown
I never realized the importance of self-care until I was responsible for another human life. Now that I’m a single mom with almost ten years of skin in the game, I am cognizant of the fact that taking care of myself is not only something good to do, but necessary for my and our survival. I want to share a little insight and a few things I have learned along my journey to take better care of and appreciate myself.
# 1 – You can’t pour from an empty cup. This is the exact reason why when you’re listening to those redundant in-flight safety demos, they explicitly tell you to secure your own oxygen mask and life vest before helping anyone else with theirs. You simply can’t give what you don’t have. The several times I have tried to give from a dry well, I was filled with resentment, anger and frustration. When I’m able to give from a full cup with love, peace and gratitude I am able to give my best self.
#2 – Make yourself a priority. Take time daily to cultivate and nurture your own spirit and your own interests. Before you are an employee, an entrepreneur, a mom, a dad, a friend, a wife, a girlfriend or insert various descriptors here _____, you are you. A living, breathing human being with basic physiological needs, wants and desires. A person who grapples with their own demons and downfalls. Take time to stay grounded and in touch with yourself. That could be as simple as journaling (my favorite pastime), dancing to music, taking a short drive alone, listening to your favorite podcast, reading a book for pleasure or simply staying at home in solitude and recharging.
#3 – Self-care is not always Instagram fabulous. When I thought about self-care in the past, I conjured up visions of lying on the beach in Bali, copious amount of drinks at an all-inclusive resort or sippin’ hot cocoa in a tucked away Tennessee cabin. While those are certainly appropriate ways to spoil and care for yourself, there are no rules that say a get away is the fix all for your self-care needs. The care of self includes but is not limited to enjoying time with and by yourself, working out, journaling, praying and taking periods of mental rest.
#4 Get real with yourself. While I truly enjoy and promote positivity, sometimes self-care is about having an honest talk with yourself and doing better. It can be about looking at the cold, hard facts and making the necessary adjustments to yourself and aspects of your life accordingly. Living in your truth is a very important aspect of being your best self. If you don’t tell yourself the truth and work on bettering who you are, no one can do it for you. This includes but is not limited to: removing toxic people and habits from your life, spending time on personal development, therapy, mental health days and nurturing positive and healthy relationships in your life.
#5 Moving your body is caring for yourself. This is one I’m making a more concerted effort to execute as I type this. I have always struggled with my weight and one thing I will say is that when I was mindful of what I consumed and was working out several times a week, I was not only in peak physical shape, but my mind was sharp as well. I understand that everyone has various abilities out there and that is ok, but start somewhere and do what you can. It has been proven over and over the overall health and life benefits of being physically active. If you don’t know how to start, just do baby steps and start with a five minute walk daily. Focus on progress not perfection.
Self-care is not something that comes easy for most of us. We are so used to being caregivers and expending our energy for others that it feels selfish and sometimes wrong to focus on ourselves. This is a situation where being selfish is good. Just remember that when you are and present as the best version of yourself, you share your very best self and gifts to the world.
Cicely is a mom, nurse student, MUA and blogger behind @bougiebeautybabe. When not the co-host of the #MoreThanGraphics podcast Cicely is raising curiosity and exploration within her beloved son Liam. Follow her on Instagram.