A Few Steps To Finding The Self-Care Ritual That Works For You

A Few Steps To Finding The Self-Care Ritual That Works For You

Some of us need a face mask and a movie night. Some of us need to call someone we love and take and a nap.

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It is easy to get caught up in the craziness of life. On top of school work and our personal lives, each and every one of us (humans, that is) are fighting our own individual battles. It is important to find little or big things that bring us joy in the midst of this STRESS. Here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to figure out what self-care ritual you need.

What has been causing my stress?

When you ask yourself this question, you're attempting to get down to the root of the problem. ( want to address this really quickly: stress is VERY different from anxiety and depression. As someone who has experienced both firsthand, both of these things require special attention. They are very real and if you think you might be struggling with these things, reach out to someone you trust and let them know. Getting help is the first step to bettering your mental state and starting to be the happiest version of you that you can be!

The stress I'm referring to in this article is just that: stress. Has it been a specific class that's been particularly hard or a friend that has been causing some unwanted drama? Something going on back home or an overcrowded schedule? Whatever it may be, understanding what it is that is warranting the stress is the first step to figuring out how to resolve some of it and take care of YOU in the process.

When was the last time I did something for me?

Wake up, shower, eat breakfast, go to class, study in the library, go back to my dorm, go to class...The routine of our day to day life can be tiring some days. By asking yourself this question, you can start to figure out how often you let your body, mind, and soul rest and do something for you rather than do something that feels like an obligation.

Where does my energy come from?

This might seem like an odd question, but stick with me on it really quickly. Let me break this down. I am an extrovert. I love walking into a room where I know nobody and figuring out who is who and striking up conversations with others who have virtually nothing in common with me. Like, seriously, I love it. I get my energy from others and being around people. An introvert might get their energy from time spent alone with their thoughts or a hobby or with one or two people engaging in a conversation. It's all about where you fall between the two. Sometimes, I like to have time alone. Where does your energy come from?

What brings you joy?

Joy is one of my favorite words. It is so wholesome and kind of wraps happiness and life and love into one emotion. Joy is so much deeper than happiness. It's something that sets your soul on fire when you see it, or makes you jump up and down when you hear it, or get goosebumps when you feel it. Strip this word down. Joy. What gives you life? What are you in love with? What do you want to live for? Answering this question will let you know what it is that you need to have more of in your life.

I hope these few questions have started to rattle your brain at what you need to do more of to take care of YOU. Self-care is so important. I've also included a brief list of small self-care things that I personally love to do when I need to decompress:

1. Movie night

2. Face masks, painting my nails, hot shower, etc... basically a self-made spa day

3. Work out

4. Read

5. Go for a walk or a hike

6. Call someone you miss

7. Color

8. Bake or cook

9. Go exploring

10. Take a drive

11. Clean

12. Nap

13. Listen to music

14. Go to one of your favorite places

15. DIY project

16. Plan a trip

17. Meditate/pray

18. Give a stranger a compliment

19. Tell someone you love them

20. Wear your favorite outfit

21. KEEP DOING YOU.

And remember that your mental and physical well being are worth taking care of. Make time for you, keep being amazing, thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

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The Trauma Of My Illness Helped Me Fall In Love With Myself Again

I take a look back at what my experience has taught me a year later, now with fresh eyes and an open heart.

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My first year of college didn't exactly go as I had planned. Midway through the spring semester (last year), I was feeling overwhelmingly tired and sick with difficulty to breathe and at first, was misdiagnosed with a normal cold.

After only three days of these symptoms and then starting to cough up blood, I went to the ER at Temple University Hospital and was diagnosed with sepsis, strep, and bacterial pneumonia. Luckily, I was admitted in perfect time- before my organs started to fail before my life would be over.

I was very naive at the time and thought the recovery would be quick and easily forgettable. I can remember thinking "a couple of antibiotics should fix this right?" or "I'll just be here through the night, that's it".

I never would've guessed what was to actually happen- three weeks hospitalized, countless tests, IV's, medications, restless nights, surgery, nurses and doctors 24/7, four chest tubes, forced medical withdraw from school, the tears, the hurt, and the pain.

I missed my friends, my classes, my freedom to walk and use the bathroom on my own, the sight of my family's faces without a worried or tired look, and the feeling of inhaling without excruciating torment and pain.

These little things that I had so easily taken for granted before now seemed so distant, and terribly out of reach. I missed so much and at the same time felt so much helplessness, anxiety, and sadness.

I remember looking at myself in the plastic flimsy handheld mirror and not knowing the person looking back at me. I felt like a stranger in the shell of my body- emotionally and physically detached. I couldn't seem to get out of the negative headspace that was consuming me.

I couldn't help but imagine that I was just supposed to die, that I wasn't supposed to make it through.

I couldn't figure out why I was being punished in this way, a way that made me feel completely isolated, guilty for my name seeming to be in everyone's mouth all of the time, sad that for that span of time I felt like I had failed- even though I didn't ask for any of it.

I didn't want to get sick, I didn't want to 'drop out,' I didn't want to continue being a burden to everyone I loved.

But here's what I had such trouble seeing through my pain: love. I mean, I was so grateful and thankful for the well wishes and visitors of my friends and family, but I was missing the big picture.

Chalk it up to my selfishness at the time, or the heavy amount of painkillers I was on, or that maybe I was frozen in the overwhelming situation, but I truly had so much to be thankful for, and those first weeks in the hospital I was blind to this immense and incalculable love that was around me.

Through all of this hurt, there was so much love. I was so lucky to be alive, I was healing, and I was growing, and I continue to do so now.

It is the love of my friends and family that allowed me to realize how I should have been loving myself before I got sick. I should've been soaking up every moment I have, going the extra mile, and of course, loving myself.

I have since fallen in love with myself again- deeper than I ever have before. I stopped being picky with little things that used to bother me, I now accept myself for my flaws and embrace them, and I allow them to empower me.

I give myself time to heal, process, and figure things out. I don't shame myself for any of my imperfectness either. The love I give myself first then allows me to give love to others as well, to reciprocate the joy and care that others have given me.

This experience gave me new eyes, and I started to see things without the haze of my self-doubt. I feel a strength and power within myself that I never thought I had, which I am so very thankful for, and being pushed to my limits enabled me to understand other people's experiences with even more empathy than I thought possible.

Now, when I look in the mirror I know that no matter what my body may look or feel like- I will always be me, and I am so blessed because of that. My literal and figurative scars show me where I have been, what I have been able to endure, and what I have learned.

They also show me that I can (and will) keep going, keep loving, and continuously be unapologetic for who I am. I don't actually regret any of what happened to me, because it brought me so much closer to the ones I love, and most notably, it made me learn to love myself again.

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The Selflessness Of Self-Care

It is OK to nurture yourself before nurturing others.

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Do you find yourself prioritizing taking care of others before taking care of yourself? I do.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Saiarchana, and I am a nurturer. Nurturing people is something that has almost become second-nature to me because I am so accustomed to doing it. I love uplifting others and being there to give them support when they are in need. I love giving support to others so much that I am even majoring in Psychology. Nurturing is something that is incredibly important to me. I nurture others because I don't want anyone to feel alone or unsupported.

But, sometimes I forget to nurture myself.

I used to believe that taking care of others involved sacrifice. This kind of sacrifice was my own energy and self-care. I lived under the belief that by pulling away and taking care of myself, I would be labeled as selfish. So, I kept on nurturing others around me.

Until I broke down.

I was giving so much support and care to others, that I had forgotten about me. I am also a very important person in my life. My relationship with myself is incredibly important, and I had forgotten that. I was so focused on pouring love and care to others, that I had forgotten to water myself with those same sustaining forces. I was getting drained and worn out from nurturing and giving love to so many people around me because I was neglecting myself.

When I realized what was happening, I finally understood: Love is not starvation. I do not need to starve myself in order to feed others. I do not need to neglect my self-care in order to care for and give love to the people around me. Nurturing others does not equate to neglecting myself. Because, once I neglect myself, I end up not being able to show up fully for the people in my life.

I read a quote by an influencer named Allie Michelle. Michelle said:

"Taking care of yourself is selfless. An empty well cannot give water to a village."

When I read this, it was as if my eyes developed clearer vision. I recognized that I believed that self-care was selfish when actually it is one of the most selfless things I can ever do for this world. When I am able to take care of myself, I am at a healthier and stable position to give care to others. When I give from a place of lack, I end up lacking more. Giving my energy to others when I am in desperate need of recharging my own energy will end up making me feel emptier. It is like the good analogy from Michelle's quote. I cannot give from an empty source. When I forget to give love and care to myself, I reach a point where there is nothing left to give to others, because I haven't maintained a solid foundation for myself.

Giving care to others should be a fulfilling experience, not a draining one. In order for it to be a fulfilling experience, I need to make sure I am not giving from a place of emptiness. I need to nurture myself because doing so will give me a stable foundation. So, I finally understand the key to nurturing others: making sure I am nurturing myself first.

So, what now?

I am going to continue giving love and care to others. But this time, I am going to make sure I am nurturing myself too.

I hope you nurture yourself too. You are worthy of the love and care you give to others.

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