I was fifteen when I received my first piece of wisdom around “self-care.” Between cramming for upcoming tests, rushing to basketball practice, and struggling to keep up with my peers – I had just about reached my breaking point. One day, as my mom drove me home from practice, I felt my anxiety start to creep in through the cracks of the wall I was trying desperately to keep up. Inevitably, tears started to fall and continued to fall until my entire body was shaking. My mom pulled the car over to the side of the road, and encouraged me to take some deep breaths. She sat still, holding my hand. It wasn’t until I calmed down that she finally spoke.
“Jess… sometimes you have to let the day win. Take a bubble bath, light a candle, read your favorite book – let everything else go and just take some time to rejuvenate yourself.”
The idea of putting my entire “to-do” list on the back burner to pamper myself seemed foreign and slightly selfish. I immediately started stammering, “But moooom, I can’t! I have XYZ ….” My mom nodded knowingly and responded to my protests with a simple,
“It’s okay to move ‘being kind to yourself’ to the top of your to-do list.”
It was from that moment on that I began to practice self-care. I would be lying if I said this came naturally at first. But overtime, as I grew into the woman I am today, I truly began to realize that self-care is a priority and not a luxury.
So often, we burn ourselves out by trying to please everyone or check off “one more box” on our list. Much like we tell athletes to rest their body if they are feeling sore or injured, we need to remind ourselves to rest our mind when we are feeling overwhelmed or exhausted.
Finally, it is important to note that there is no “right way” to practice self-care. Self-care can come in the form of exercise, bubble-baths, meditation, reading, journaling… the options are endless! I encourage you to experiment with different forms of self-care until you find what makes you feel most at peace with yourself. If you need some thought starters, feel free to check out the links below.
Treat yourself with kindness and always remember, it is more than okay – it is necessary - to move “being kind to yourself” to the top of your to-do list.
Links to Self-Care Tips and Tricks: