My intentions for my self-care week sounded something like this: wake up super early and workout at the gym or go for a run, consume only healthy, nutritional foods, get eight hours of sleep per night, stop procrastinating homework or general things I had to get done, and spend time doing the hobbies I love or spend time with friends when I had time. I was so excited to share my experiences from doing all of this and the ways that it benefited me both mentally and physically. Though, to be completely honest, it was difficult to get in a routine that made me focus on my well-being when so many outside forces like school or other prior commitments pulled me in the opposite direction of self-care.
That’s why this article isn’t about being the most perfect human being (as I thought I needed to be to do ‘self-care’), that would only last a week for me if things had gone by my initial plans. Instead, what I did end up doing for the week and didn’t even realize what was beneficial at the time was being free of negativity or work that I dreaded to do. What I defined as ‘self-care’ for the week was me going on self-care trips and utilizing my ‘free time’ as ‘me time’.
One of my self-care trips involved going to one of my favorite places to catch up with friends and to do homework. LimeRed Teahouse in Amherst Center has been a highly recommended favorite of mine since sophomore year of college, and that’s because of the unique flavor of bubble tea and the general coffee shop vibe inside LimeRed. Whenever I have bubble tea, it instantly boosts my mood and makes me a more productive person (I’m thinking it has magical powers because this can be hard for me to do). Getting out there and doing things that deviate from your everyday will make the stress and commitments seem less daunting, and you’ll appreciate this time you have with yourself.
While getting bubble tea and macaroons, I listen to podcasts, instead of music, to people who I think bring a positive outlook on life and make us know that we are not alone even when we may think that we are. I have been following beauty and lifestyle YouTuber, Gretchen Geraghty for quite some time now and let me tell you, her words of positivity and her outlook on life even in difficult times made me realize that we can do anything we set our minds to and how we can persevere through challenges and hardships by utilizing self-care. Simple tasks of doing your laundry, making your bed, reading a chapter of a book, or walking at an incline at the gym when you don’t feel like working out at all, can still benefit you in small ways rather than in no way at all.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from my self-care experience this week and will continue from now onwards is that it’s important to surround yourself with people and things that will only lift you up to be a better person from who you were yesterday. I have been spending time with friends, talking with family on the phone, and going to the gym because I knew it would make me feel both mentally and physically even better. Because of these changes in my lifestyle, I grew to love connecting with people about self-care and helping others live their most authentic lives. This made me decide to start my own podcast sometime this year. I’m so looking forward to this new chapter and I hope you can start a new chapter of your own.
I did the exact opposite of every plan I set out to do on my self-care week, and I’m totally okay with how everything turned out. No amount of planning could have made this week the way that it went, which is quite special.
Self-care isn’t something that can always be planned and followed according to your expectations and your notions of what self-care is. You don’t have to be perfect and everyone is far from it, but what you can do is show up for yourself when you can. That’s all there is to it. So, how do you engage in self-care? Or, how can you start?