Because I Practice Self-Care, I Know I'm A Better Person To Not Only Myself But People Around Me

Because I Practice Self-Care, I Know I'm A Better Person To Not Only Myself But People Around Me

I practice a self-care routine about once a week and I know that because I loved myself first, I can love others better.
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From as early as I can remember, I've always loved nights spent alone and in my room. I always feel invigorated by the space and time I have to myself to do what's best for me, which can be catching up on some videos that spark creativity or reading some books that I need to finish.

As a person who is very busy and lives by the schedule in her planner, it's important for me to take a night to myself to refresh and recollect my thoughts from the many tasks and issues over the course of a week or two. Some nights, this means just laying in bed and watching a movie, and other nights, it's practicing a ritual of self-care techniques.

Lately, I've found myself to become overwhelmed quicker than usual, and although I attribute this shortcoming to the recent semester that caused me more stress than I've ever experienced in my whole life, I am now choosing to care for my mind, which clearly needs more love during this time.

Tied to this feeling of being overwhelmed, I notice that I've become more short-tempered with my boyfriend over silly remarks or mistakes. After finding myself extra irritable today, I knew it was time to take a time to reflect on myself and recollect my senses that seem to be falling apart. Because he already had plans for the night, I knew it was the perfect time to spend the night alone and not go out with my own friends.

If I'm not loving myself, I know I can't love others well. So I took the night to recharge, and this is what I did:

First, I changed into clothes that I felt my most comfortable in. It was a hot summer day in Florida so I was eager to get out of my jeans and throw on light dress. After getting changed, I put on the Refinery29 YouTube channel so I can feel inspired by other women as I begin to declutter not only my room but my mind.

When I know I have a lot to do, my mind becomes very jumbled and overwhelmed, so to combat this issue, I live by my planner and to-do list. After watching some videos having to do with spring cleaning my agenda, I got to work. I organized my week by tasks ascending by time, and in some cases, priority. If I knew it could be missed, I put it at the bottom so if I didn't end up getting to it, I wouldn't feel like my whole day was thrown off. It was the last thing to do so if I missed it, who cares? I can close my book today anyway.

After that, I pulled out my summer clothes from the bin beneath my bed and started sifting through the articles of clothing. As I was looking, I realized that a lot of what I was seeing wasn't making me feel happy. I wasn't excited to see the clothing and most of them certainly weren't going to make me feel confident in myself.

One of the best questions I ask myself when I go through my closet is, "If I saw this piece of clothing at the store today, would I buy it?" If the answer is a no, I throw it in the Good Will bag. If the answer is a yes, I throw it in my hamper to get a wash before I wear it again. If you don't feel like something is enriching your life, get rid of it.

When I completed the task, I through the clothes in my hamper into the washer and marked the task off on my to-do list. My next task might seem funny, but it was to disconnect from the internet and do some reading.

One of the best ways to make me feel empowered is to take some time to myself and read a new magazine I bought or continue working on a book. Tonight, I finished up reading Darling Magazine issue No. 19. A reason why I personally love reading the publication is that of its ability to make me feel like a strong woman because I just read stories of other strong women. Through the photography that embraces different styles and models of all body types, the writing that details perseverance and empowerment, and illustration that is utterly intriguing, reading the magazine is like reading a piece of art.

After finishing up the issue, I switched over my laundry, grabbed myself a glass of white wine, and started writing down some of my creative ideas in my journal. One of the best parts of reading about others' creativity is being able to feel their energy and start generating your own. As a writer, I'm in constant need of inspiration, otherwise, I get stuck in a stagnant lull of lack of topics and passion.

Finally, after that fuel of energy, I'm here now, writing this article for you in hopes of helping you through any lack of enthusiasm and stimulus. For me, whenever I feel creatively stuck, I look to other people to remind me of humanity and what's truly important, and sometimes, it's just the reminder that you need to love yourself and do it to your need.

Some girls practice self-love by spending time with their loved ones, others do some retail therapy and have a day of pampering. I feel my best when I recharge my brain with inspiration to help sift out any negative thoughts and stressors.

Because I take usually a night a week to work on myself, I know I can care for others better after caring for myself first. By caring for my mind and wellbeing, I can let go of the focus on me and give it to others who really need my love and support.

If you are someone who struggles with mental imbalance, finding a self-care routine that best fits you is more important than words can describe. Choose a specific day a week to attend a yoga class. Get your nails done once every couple weeks as a day of pampering. Go to the movies alone to see the movie you thought looked good that no one else really cared to see (I just did this the other week and I truly feel rejuvenated).

Don't stop yourself from doing the things that make you you so that you can spend more time with other people. If you want to go to a food place that no one else wants to try, go alone! I promise, no one is going to judge you. People are too worried about themselves to even think anything bad about you choosing to grab a meal alone. What I'm trying to say is, don't deprive yourself of things that make you happy because you fear being judged by strangers or by friends and family.

Do what's best for you and love yourself the best way you know how.

Cover Image Credit: Kinga Cichewicz

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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I Don't Have To Wear Makeup To Be Beautiful

You don't have to, either.

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For about as long as modern makeup/cosmetics/skincare brands have been around, the notion that women have to use any of these cosmetic products to be considered "beautiful" has also been around.

(If you've read my earlier article about red lipstick giving me my confidence back, you would know that I absolutely adore certain skincare/makeup products.)

However, I personally don't believe that I need to wear any kind of makeup to be considered "beautiful." And you don't, either.

I think that we, as a society, have seriously overvalued aesthetic beauty and undervalued the beauty that comes from being a decent, honest, genuine, and kind person. I believe that while makeup has an incredible and transformation-giving effect on women, (and men too, just for the record), that none of us honestly should depend on x, y, and z products to make us feel that we are beautiful, or that our self worth and sense of self should be tied up in how many likes a selfie of us in a full face of makeup get.

And quite frankly, there is so much to love about our makeup free, naturally glowing skin that so many of us hide, simply because society would love to tell us that we're not beautiful, or pretty, or worth very much at all if we don't use [insert new trendy skincare product here].

Well, excuse my French, but I'm calling bull.

It's not okay for any of us to think of ourselves as less than, simply because we're not following those crazy and crappy societal trends. In a culture where "Instagram perfect" pictures are the ideal that every woman, or man, is expected to look up to, I'd say it's pretty revolutionary to dare to bare a fresh-faced look.

No one has to ever feel the need to compulsively put on makeup to be considered "beautiful."

Because, in all reality, makeup can't measure the kind of person you are.

Makeup/skincare products can't measure your kindness, your generosity, your bravery in the face of adversity, or any other kickass quality that you might have. Makeup can't do that; only what's inside of you, if brought out for the world to see, can do that. And yes, I'm well aware of how cliché and "junior high preachy" that sounds.

So, I hope this article will possibly spark some introspective thoughts on what beauty means to you. I hope you start to think about the fact that who you are as a person is not defined by how "attractive" or "beautiful" someone else might tell you you are.

You define who you are as a person, nobody else has that power.

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