It is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is a great time to stress how important it is to de-stress, treat yourself with love, and make abundant space in your life for self care.
One of the greatest lessons we learn when we are young is to treat others with kindness, but why wasn’t it taught that we must treat ourselves with kindness? Self love is self care, and self care is self love. During the pandemic, I took the time to learn and develop healthy habits that demonstrate the importance of taking care of myself. As many people can relate to, I struggled with negative thoughts and overall feelings of self-doubt. To put it lightly, I was struggling mentally. I knew I needed to make a change in my life. Although I always took care of myself physically by eating healthy and working out, I was neglecting my needs in other aspects of my well-being.
What is Self Care?
Self-care looks different because it’s unique to each person and our abilities and interest, but self-care treats your mind, body, and soul kindly. Something so vital but often neglected is treating ourselves with compassion. Implementing self-care creates a healthy balance of your life, including mental, physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritual, and professional self-care. If we are not taking care of ourselves in these ways, we cannot expect to take care of others. During quarantine, I took the time to acknowledge the areas I was struggling in and dedicated time to work on them. Everything in life takes time and work, but we cannot neglect self-care. Your mind, body, and soul deserve to be in the best shape. Self-care involves practice. By slowly applying positive additions to your life, such as writing, working out, or making time to self-reflect, you are giving yourself the grace that you deserve.
Here are two practices that worked for me that I have implemented to improve my overall well-being. The beautiful part of this journey is discovering what works for you. We are different and embrace what makes you feel good, internally and externally.
Yoga has so many health benefits. Not only does yoga help manage your stress, but it increases your mental and physical energy, even if it is just ten minutes of yoga per day. This is one of the first things I do when I wake up to enjoy the quiet time and space to relax my mind and stretch my body to be more energized throughout the day. All you need to do is a simple YouTube search for morning yoga routines. I recommend yoga with Kassandra; her yoga lessons also include different daily affirmations.
Studies show that gratitude writing is beneficial for those who struggle with mental heal concerns. Taking the time to write in my journal every day has been so helpful for me. I keep a journal that includes my affirmations, sentiments from podcasts, notes from books I am reading that I find inspirational, and maintaining a list of everything I am grateful for. Even when I feel stressed, writing down five things that I am thankful for instantly boosts my mood.
Reminder: Self care involves being kind with your words, so don’t be hard on yourself. Making life changes does not come easy, and it is essential to reward yourself for the small triumphs. Don’t compare yourself or your journey to others- everyone’s time and life path are different.
If you would like to learn more about different ways to increase your self-care needs, I recommend taking this assessment scale by Saakvitne and Pearlman from the Traumatic Stress Institute. It measures how well you focus on your physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and workplace needs.
Live Your Dream’s Dream It, Be It supports girls in identifying values, creating goals, and balancing stress. Stress is a natural part of life, but it doesn’t define you, and combating stress includes taking the time to give yourself the love you deserve.
Spenser Corson is a Paralegal and Immigration Studies student in Philadelphia. She spent about two years traveling and teaching English abroad in Asia and Europe. She enjoys volunteering, reading, yoga, and being with her dogs in her free time.