Self-care is important…
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not good at self-care. I am constantly taking on other people’s shit and feeling like it’s my job to fix everything… which is impossible. But when I can’t do it, I “punish” myself. I go without sleep, or I don’t do something that I want to do, or I exhaust myself trying to “make it up” to that person for an indefinite period of time.
The consequence is that I’m often too tired to do the things that I should be doing for myself. These things range from not packing myself a lunch- and purchasing something less healthy to eat as a result- to wearing ratty T-Shirts and not doing my hair when I go out.
None of these things do anything to bolster my self-esteem.
With that being said, it’s not always easy to remember to practice some self-care. It takes mental energy and strength that I just don’t have sometimes. So there are a few things that I like to do a little of every day simply to maintain a sense of sanity and serenity.
Here they are.
6 Things I Try To Do Every Day As Part Of My Self-Care Routine
Morning Matcha Tea
I LOVE starting my self-care routine with a nice, warm, sweet matcha latte.
I started drinking it as a replacement for coffee. It’s a special type of tea leaf ground up into a fine powder and mixed into hot water. This makes the texture much thicker and creamier than steeped tea, so it’s more satisfying.
It’s A LOT easier on my stomach than coffee because it’s less acidic. Plus, it contains more antioxidants (called catechins, full name epigallocatechin gallate) than regular tea. So there is a reason to suspect it may have some cancer-preventative qualities as well.
Keep in mind that this stuff still has a lot of caffeine in it (I’d say as much as a cup of coffee), so drink it with the same precaution with which you would drink any other caffeinated beverage.
This article from the National Cancer Institute (Division of Cancer Prevention) has a blurb about matcha right at the end (scroll to the bottom to read). It tells you more about what matcha is and how you prep it.
Here’s how I prep my own matcha latte:
- 1-3 tsp Mighty Leaf (or Teavana) matcha green tea powder
- 3-4 oz hot water, not boiling
- ¼ cup of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk
- 2-3 packets of Trader Darwin’s Stevia to sweeten
- Keep your tea kettle hot, as you’re going to top everything off with a little extra hot water.
- Heat up your tea kettle, either electric or stovetop.
- Put 3-4 oz of the boiling water in a custard cup to cool a bit while you swish hot water in a matcha bowl to heat it.
- Spoon 1-3 tsp of your favorite matcha into your bowl, gradually add a drizzle of the hot water and mix into a paste with a Chasen (bamboo whisk). Gradually add the rest of the hot water, whisking with your chasen until mixture gets frothy. (Not a circular motion, a scribble or “W/M” motion).
- Add each Stevia packet, whisking as you go.
- Pour the matcha mixture into your favorite mug and add the ¼ cup of almond milk (you can whisk this in, too). Top off with the extra hot water in your tea kettle and enjoy :).
Listening to Zen music while I sleep
Anyone else’s thoughts race just before they fall asleep? I know mine do. I am a major stress-aholic. If I go to bed with “unresolved” business, I can’t rest… like a damn ghost. Yeesh. That’s why this is such an important part of my self-care routine.
Since I started meditating some time ago, my brain has associated Zen music with relaxation. It reminds me to stay present and focused, which helps me quiet my mind.
Here’s my playlist of my favorite medtitation music and videos. There are a few yoga classes mixed in, so feel free to check those out, too.
Watching/Following Yoga videos
I HATE feeling regimented when I work out. So I follow Yoga videos online to mix it up every once in a while.
And you know what? Sometimes I like to just watch the videos. They’re very calming, and it gives me a chance to check out the sequences before I do them.
That way I’m not taken off guard if something is too hard…
*Confession: I can’t do crow pose… still. But it’s ok… love yourself where you’re at. I can do a headstand, though, so PROGRESS! 😀
So I actually left my favorite yoga mat at my cousin’s house… bummer… but if I had to recommend a great brand, it’d have to be Gaiam. Best yoga mat I’ve ever used, hands down.
They’re a little on the pricey side, but totally worth it. Every other kind I’ve used couldn’t withstand the activity of an intense yoga sequence. They either get really dirty or they start falling apart. Gaiam mats will save you money in the long run.
Plus, they have so many cool designs. You’d do well to invest in one.
Practicing healthier eating habits
I fully believe that you feel your best when you feel your best. Part of self-care is taking care of your physical health, not just mental.
This is why Cronometer has become such a major part of my daily self-care routine. I count calories, sure, but my main concern is to meet all of my nutritional targets.
Since I practice a vegan/plant-based diet, my favorite foods have a tendency to be lacking in protein and vitamin B12 (and, apparently, folate or vitamin B9). Now, these particular deficiencies I was already prepared for because I knew it going into plant-based eating. However, I was not prepared to be lacking in other minerals and nutrients, even after taking a multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement and eating a varied plant-based diet. And I wouldn’t have known without Cronometer. So now I can look into getting supplements to make up for it.
Reminding myself to stay present
Ever have moments where you find yourself thinking about something that’s happened or something that could happen? That’s your brain being everywhere but in the present moment. Don’t feel too bad… I’m notorious for this myself.
But you’ve gotta remember that no moment is guaranteed, you can’t change the past, and you might not live to see the future. All you really have is this moment, right here and now. So part of self-care is to stay in the moment.
To remind myself, I like to start my day with at least 5-10 minutes of mindful meditation with my Headspace app or right after my yoga practice. From there, I’ve primed myself to remember to breathe and live in the moment, bringing myself back when my thoughts start to get away from me.
Staying open and truthful about my feelings
The hardest one by far, especially if the feelings are negative. But nothing ever got better by pretending it didn’t exist.
I think YouTuber Gabbie Hanna said it best in this video:
*Skip to 5:03 for the quote*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZfT4kJbevA
“I think I compare it [hiding your feelings] to, like, if you sprained your ankle and you kept ignoring it and you didn’t want to treat it- you didn’t want to go to a doctor, you didn’t want to get an X-ray, you didn’t want to wrap it- and it just hurt and you’re walking around on a sprained ankle for months for no reason when it would be so easy treat.”
That description, like, blew my mind. I don’t know why, but I feel like it’s just the best description of trying to hide your depression, anxiety, emotions, etc.
But if you keep watching, she also says that coming out about how she felt was like finally going to the doctor and getting that busted ankle treated. It may still hurt like a bitch, but it’s on the mend, and that in itself is a massive relief.
So the final part of my self-care practice is to do my best to stay honest about my feelings as much as I can. When someone hurts me, I tell them; when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I say it. People tend to take it better when you’re upfront about it.
You also tend to be less likely to hurt the people you love once you start owning how you feel. You’ll lash out less, they’ll have a better understanding of what you’re going through, and you’ll all be much better off.
How can YOU take care of yourself this week?
Now it’s your turn.
I want you to think: what can I do this week to take care of myself?
Is there something you can say “No” to in order to keep from overwhelming yourself? Maybe you need to take a mental health day to relax and read your favorite book or take a long walk.
Or maybe there’s something that you’ve always wanted to do that you haven’t done yet because there’s just never enough time…
Whatever it is, do it.
Commit to yourself that you will do at least one thing for self-care. Then start making a list of things that make you feel good or help you feel rested, and that can be the start of your self-care routine.
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Thanks for reading!!!! Happy Self-Care!!!
Sources I used: