The number one step to feeling better and living happier is learning to take care of yourself. Not just paying your bills and feeding yourself, but really caring for every bit of you that needs attention. So many of us live in a society in which it is acceptable – even encouraged – to constantly self depreciate. We can’t accept compliments, we constantly underestimate our self-worth, and there is absolutely no way in hell that that we could ever love ourselves. That kind of behavior would cause… well no one is yet to be able to tell me exactly what kind of havoc it would wreak, but from what I can tell it would likely shred the fabric of the universe itself.
All sarcasm aside, I’m on the side of Luisa Omielan – it’s time to upgrade. There’s no good reason that we should tear ourselves down. We are amazing human beings who can do and accomplish so much, and insulting and hating yourself absolutely will not help reach such ends. When you’re tired let yourself rest, when you are hungry let yourself eat, and when you feel crappy be nice to yourself. Thinking like this might take some time, but that’s okay. You’re re-learning how to live and think about yourself and how you relate to the world around you. It’s perfectly acceptable if these changes don’t happen overnight.
Take baby steps into caring for yourself, because – as I’ve said before – self care is important. Below, I have outlined some ideas for self care that ease you into treating yourself with love and respect. Try them out. If you like them, incorporate them into a routine – do them once a week, or once a month, or whenever you have a moment to yourself to breath. If you hate them, look to your own interests to find what kinds of actions would put a smile on your face. You deserve it, you are an amazing person.
1. Read a book: Not just any book – this book. Anastasia Amour is a truly gifted wordsmith and has the uncanny ability to make anyone feel better about themselves. Or, if you do just want to read any old book, sign up for BookBub. They send out daily newsletters with a list of great deals on e-books, and they often include free ones. If you don’t have an e-reader, you can grab a free app for your phone or read directly on your computer.
2. Take a bath: This one is obvious, but go all out. Use a bath bomb (I’m rather fond of Lucky Tree Soap), drink something delicious, slap on a mask, and let your muscles melt.
3. Buy yourself a super soft blanket: One of my favorite purchases ever is what I have deemed my “magic blanket.” It doesn’t really have magic powers, but it is really freakin’ soft and warm. Sometimes you just need something comfy to snuggle with, and this is that thing. This is mine, but there is a world full of soft blankets out there that can live up to your standards.
4. Perfect your skincare routine: This one was life-changing for me. I really started taking care of my skin about six months ago because I’m in my mid-twenties and figured it was about time that my skin came into contact with a retinoid. Two things happened that I did not expect: my skin looks freaking amazing, and skincare became one of my favorite rituals. Seriously, I love skincare. Working out my skincare routine has been one of the best moves for self care that I could have made.
5. Eat veggies for breakfast: Eating healthy makes you feel good both physically and mentally, so jump start your day with a boost to your body and your ego. Even the pickiest eaters out there like at least one kind of vegetable. If you’re adventurous, try some new ones! My go-to is brussel sprouts. I keep a bag from Trader Joe’s in the freezer so that I can toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then roast them in the oven anytime I need some greens for breakfast.
6. Find a hobby or two, or five: It is NEVER too late to learn something new. It kills me when people say that they’re too old to learn this or that (including myself). Hobbies are really stimulating and great for the brain, no matter where you are in life. Learning new skills can be challenging, but it can also be life-changing. Pick up cross stitching, learn a new language (try sign language!), take a dance class, or learn to cook. I promise you will enjoy learning what interests you.
7. Listen to a podcast: I love music, but sometimes I get burnt out on it and need to listen to something that stimulates my brain in a different way. Plus, I’m big on multitasking, and podcasts are perfect to spice up any mindless activity. Listen to one while you’re doing the dishes, taking a bath, or out for a walk. Need some recommendations? Here are some of my favorites:
Ready to start being nice to you? Good, because it’s about time. You are a wonderful person, and you deserve to be treated as such – by everyone, including yourself.