In the past, my self-esteem and will to live was so abysmal, that I didn’t care about self-care. If nobody else truly cared, why should I? This kind of thinking got me into severe trouble, even physically, as I grew to be a small landwhale, 130kg heavy. After I woke up from the stupor, I had to gain control of my life, or soon I wouldn’t have had one. In this article, I will go into what I keep in mind today, as I strive to lead a lighter, more balanced life.
Self-care is a vital cornerstone of overall well-being. In the fast-paced, often stressful world we inhabit, taking the time to nurture our physical, emotional, and mental health is not a luxury but a necessity. It’s the practice of recognizing our needs and honoring them, whether through moments of relaxation, engaging in activities that bring joy, or ensuring we get adequate rest and nutrition. It’s a profound act of self-compassion that empowers us to navigate life’s challenges with greater strength and equilibrium, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and balanced life.
1# Maintain Health (1st storm)
In my theorem of Life, I named this the 1st Storm. It is the first because, without our bodies, we will have nothing. So it follows that taking care of the physical vessel we inhabit must take priority.
Proper sleep, nutrition, hydration, and activity are vital to our survival. I can tell you from experience that being 130kg is no joke. It came with the threat of diabetes, cardiovascular failure, and even a thing called fasciitis. That’s when your foot and leg ligaments are so darn tight that you cry trying to take that first step in the morning. And then you try to walk like a normal person and end up looking like a lame penguin for the whole day. Not to even mention the fact that I could barely walk from one lamp post to the other without gasping for air…
A part of taking care of your physical (and mental) self is to make sure you keep your environment clean. Organize your room or apartment, and bring order to the chaos. Living in a mess of things and dust will leave you sick, both in spirit and in body. Keep your food clean too, if you can.
#2 Take breaks
While going about your life, remember that the mentality of always performing will eventually burn you out. Don’t work yourself to death, no matter what your culture or bosses might want to tell you. You are the only you on the planet, take care of that treasure!
Take breaks while you work, and while you live generally. I’ve found that treating every day as both work and play, duty and vacation, is an amazing way to keep balance. It reminds me that I need to do my stuff, but I need to also relax and enjoy life while I’m at it. No more waiting for the weekend, or some distant holiday. Life happens now, not in the past, or in the future. Now.
I find that chilling with music, having the occasional break to connect with my community over at Xitter, or playing games, etc. is the perfect pause to the work I do. But then again, my job is something I enjoy as well, and time will just fly by while I write or make the home.
Take breaks and enjoy your life, this is not negotiable!
#3 Cultivate the Inner Self (2nd storm)
The inner self is something I like to call the 2nd Strom. It ties in with the Physical 1st Storm of our lives, as they both affect each other. This one comes second, however, because we can still live on and have open doors in the future, even with a broken mind. I’m a good example of that. You can always come back from a mental slump, but lose your life, and you can not return.
You can cultivate your inner world by meditating. This can take such a variety of forms that it’s saddening to see people shy away from it in fear of not being able to be the sagely monk going ‘ommmm’ all day. You can start by taking a pause, and breathing in deep a few times whenever you get a chance. Put your full focus on those breaths, and watch them clear your mind. Another popular method is mindfulness. This is basically the act of drawing attention to the now, whatever it is you are doing, and paying full attention to it.
Something society as a whole could use is DBT practice. Especially the notion of radical acceptance. By practicing the said skill, you will accept reality as it is, with all of your being. We can’t control everything, and we will occasionally fail in what we can. Then it becomes crucial to understand what the reality is, and with it, we can start moving on with solutions instead of dwelling in misery.
#4 Daily self-love
I used to be abysmal at this. I didn’t move from my butt, was lazy… didn’t care about how I looked. Nevertheless, it turns out, you should care, even on the lowest of your days. Take that shower, with that amazing-smelling soap. Feel the shampoo and conditioner give some relief to your weary scalp. Rub the lotion on your face like you mean it. This is all a form of appreciation, and love for the self. I can’t tell you how much better my life became when I adopted a beauty routine. I found out that I’m actually quite beautiful!
If you have the means, go and get some pampering. Order a massage, go to have a nice bath or sauna experience. Enjoy a cup of cappuccino in the small cafe on the corner of the street and watch people go by. Take a moment to do something that isn’t done for any other reason but your own enjoyment. And do this daily. Heaves only know you’ve earned it!
Here is something I don’t hear talked about much: Embrace your nature as a creator. Humanity is unquestionably astonishing in the ability to imagine all sorts of wondrous things. You are not an exception to this. For me, it means doing arts, crafts, or writing. For you, it could be baking, dancing, whispering a forlorn poem into the night air for no one to hear. Try things out, let your creative self flow, and see what happens. You may yet be surprised!
#5 Practice enforcing your boundaries
And here we are, the final, but not the least of the tips I will give you in this article – Keep your boundaries. Only you know what makes you uncomfortable, what you can tolerate, and from whom. If people keep pushing you into a corner frequently, it’s time to start practicing some bar bouncer mentality.
In relationships this becomes even more pronounced, be it an intimate partner, friend, or family. There is such a thing as unacceptable behavior, and nobody ought to be entitled to it. The thing is, only you can draw the line when it comes to how you are interacted with. Some personal boundaries could be shouting, personal attacks, threatening behavior, and extreme rudeness.
Here’s a little glimpse into what might happen if you don’t keep the boundaries and enforce them.
I used to be a people pleaser. People could’ve broken my bones all I cared (I got thrown against a wall once), since I just wanted to not be abandoned. I took verbal abuse, emotional abuse, disrespect, manipulation, and more. What do you think that made me think of myself? That’s right, I’m nothing. I’m something to be tossed aside. It would be better if I wasn’t.
Do me a solid, will you? Don’t allow anyone to make you question your value as a human being. You are worthy. You are alive. And there is only one of you in the whole universe. You are a treasure.
What it all boils down to is common sense, pretty much. Take care of yourself, physically and mentally. Rest when you know you need to rest, and take moments of pure enjoyment. Cultivate that self-respect and love because you are not quite as bad as you think. Actually, you are pretty much the opposite.
And let nobody stomp on your core. Don’t be crude and shrieky, there are ways to handle things in a civilized manner. But don’t let anyone tell you you are not enough, that you are not beautiful, that you are not worthy. Because despite your struggles with health, spirit, and life in general, you are all of those things and more.