This year I’ve strived to put myself first. No matter what. Even if this meant saying no, sleeping instead of hitting the gym or putting an end to my online dating pressures. Over the year, I’ve had many Saturday nights in, surprisingly without FOMO and many early Friday nights, with a hint of self care, after a long week at work. This took the form of a candlelit bath, a good book, a healthy meal or a tv series binge, all of which I did alone and looked forward to all week.
After such a tumultuous year last year, I learnt that through the struggle I have grown to be more insightful and intuitive. I know me better. I know what I feel better. I know that saying no and putting my mind and body first is better than doing what I think I should do out of guilt. I’ve also grown to be a lot more open to saying yes to the opportunities presented to me. This is the universe giving me a chance to shine and I owe it to myself to take up the offers it provides.The very fact that I am seeing these experiences as opportunities means my mindset is completely different from where it was a year ago. Instead of a fuzzy, highly anxious mind, I am now living in a mind that wants to grow, learn and blossom in whatever way that may be. I’ve recently taken to podcasts, reading about my health, changing my diet to eliminate potential trigger foods and my poetry still keeps me grounded and is a channel to explore and voice my emotions.
Throughout this journey, I’ve learnt invaluable lessons. The most important being that there are triggers and emotions I begin to feel when life starts to get too much. These take the form of fatigue, loneliness, sadness, feeling overwhelmed, being unmotivated and feeling physically tense and stressed. After putting up with these for as long as I can remember and not knowing what they meant, I can now recognise them for what they are telling me and my body. I need to take a step back, recharge and put less pressure on me. I now know that if I keep pushing myself, my anxiety will escalate to a point where I can’t bring myself back as easily. And I don’t want to live like I did in the past anymore.
Self care is big in my books. It’s the latest buzz word, but many of us don’t know how to take care of ourselves in this way. It’s learnt and usually through times of crisis or default, which does not give it the justice it deserves. I admit, I didn’t know what taking care of myself looked like in all its facets a little over a year ago. I was neglecting myself, emotionally, when all I really needed was to step up and be there for me, like no one else could at the time. I’ve dabbled in many self care techniques, done lots of research and reading and built up ideas of my own that I know work for helping me feel calm and connected. Self care adds tools to your toolkit to help you in these times of need. Make self care your best friend and factor it into your day. After all, self care is the new black. So who needs orange anymore?