Self-Care: More than Face Masks and Bubble Baths
Self-care has become a popular buzz word of recent, especially on social media. You can find a ton of posts, blog articles and pictures with someone indulging in a glass of wine while soaking in a bathtub filled with roses. Now don't get me wrong, this sounds like a good time, and especially after a long week of work and hustle, sometimes a good soak in some Epsom Salts minus the rose petals is just what the doctor ordered (trust me, it gets your muscles right).
But this glamorized version of what self-care means falls far from the mark in my opinion. Now I don't mean to sound very Marie Kondo-ish, but when I think of self-care, I think of habits and actions that can spark joy in my life. And cultivating joy sometimes mean eliminating factors from your life that contribute to a means of confusion and fogs mental clarity. So while I do enjoy the occasional bubble bath and face mask (because let's be honest, when I wear a face mask, I feel like I'm getting my life in order) here are 6 other ways I practice self-care:
CREATING TO-DO LISTS
As a PhD student, my life gets hectic. In addition to taking classes and working in a lab, my new blogging venture adds even more to my already full plate. I have so many things to do every single day that it gets extremely overwhelming at times. It's important that I keep track of all my responsibilities, and while I have tried academic planners, I'm not the best at keeping up with them. I am a pen-to-paper kind of gal, so all my lists are handwritten. I make one big general list with all my tasks I know at the moment I need to accomplish. Then I go through that list and I prioritize in accordance with importance and the most impending deadline and generate a second list. This allows me to create a sense of order in my life and not become overwhelmed with all my responsibilities, because nothing stresses me out more than forgetting about a task I have or remembering it at the last minute. And truthfully, there is no better feeling than scratching things off and having a sense of accomplishment.
One of the best ways I self-care is by preparing my meals for the week beforehand. This habit has a myriad of benefits which includes saving money, time, energy, and it allows me to sleep in maybe an extra hour in the morning without having to worry about what I'm going to eat for breakfast or lunch. When I have meals prepared for lunch, it allows me to save some extra bucks I would otherwise be shelling out to buy food every day. It reduces the stress of wondering what I'm going to go home and eat for dinner and because I know what I'm cooking, it allows me to prepare balanced, healthy and easy meals. Meal prepping is honestly the best thing.
CREATING A BUDGET
Keeping track of my coins reduces my anxiety so much because I’m able to be informed about what I can afford, what I can’t, and how to keep myself out of debt. As a graduate student, I am awarded a stipend to assist with living expenses but its really not that much. Budgeting helps me to allocate the appropriate amount for my expenses such as my rent and electrical bills, tithes and groceries, and it allows me to also save. Being in charge of your finances can be really empowering.
HAVING A CLEAN SPACE
Let me tell you, clutter stresses me out! I absolutely cannot work or be productive in a messy space. But now don't go thinking my apartment is always clean as a whistle, because that's a big lie. There are definitely weeks where I'm so busy or on the run, I don't have time to keep every room clean. However, I do try my best to ensure my working space is tidied, even if other rooms aren’t clean at that moment. Having a clean space was something I learned as a child. Every Sunday my mother would ensure that I cleaned my room. This entailed making sure all my toys were put away, the floors were swept and mopped, my clothes were washed and folded, my bed made, and all the shelves and surfaces were dusted and wiped clean. As I grew older, I was tasked with helping to clean other rooms of the house too. My study table in my room was always super clean, and this allowed me to be productive and do all my homework and study efficiently. It's still a habit I have to this day, and I absolutely cannot sit and read or study if my surrounding environment is in a disarray.
PLANNING MY WEEKLY OUTFITS
One of the easiest ways I self-care is planning ahead what I'm wearing that week. This may seem like I’m doing too much or have some kind of compulsive behavior, but it definitely allows my mornings to go smoothly and gets me out of the house on time. This is another trait I learned from my mom. She would ensure all my school uniforms for the week were ironed and placed on hangers. She would also iron all her uniforms for work as it allowed us to have a carefree morning and be out of the house on time. Now while I'm not the biggest fan of ironing clothes, I do plan what outfits I'm going to wear the next day and I take it out the night before. I also check the weather prediction to make sure it's appropriate.
This is probably the most important self-care habit. We all know you can't pour from an empty cup, and a dead battery cannot start a car. So while all the things I mentioned above help to create order and reduce stress in my life, I must first have the energy to do it. There are weeks where all I do is work and study that come the weekend, I just sleep in almost all day on Saturday. A day of rest is very important, and it helps me to recharge and become focused enough to tackle the next tasks on my to-do lists. Now if you want to rest in a bathtub filled with rose petals and bubbles with a glass of wine and face mask, sweetie you deserve it.
What ways do you practice self-care? Tell me in the comments below.