Updated: May 4, 2021
For the longest time, I did not understand what self-care was. I did what I thought I needed for myself and didn’t actually focus on myself at all. I was going through the movements of life, but not actually living in the moment and being present. I was not taking care of myself. It is so important to focus on yourself and truly know who you are as a person. If you don’t know yourself, how are you supposed to fully share yourself with others? I remember many times thinking, gosh these people don’t even know me. Well, it was because I didn’t fully know who I was myself. It was like, I had lost myself.
I have always really enjoyed helping others take care of themselves and being a support in whatever ways possible. I finally started thinking, I need to learn to be these things for myself. But I didn’t put my thoughts into action.... and struggled for many years of fighting to love myself.
At first, it does feel very selfish to focus on yourself. But, it’s not as if you have to neglect others to care for yourself. It's really okay to give some love to yourself. I still struggle sometimes and remind myself that I matter and am important too.
Self-care to me is not about having all the things you want; but rather obtaining everything you need. I was taught very young the differences between wants and needs; which have helped me greatly throughout life. I remember feeling sad as a child because my mom always made sure we had everything we needed and often things we wanted, but she did not have this for herself. I watched her struggle and not have enough of her needs at times. When I became a parent I just automatically went to that. Always taking care of my kids and sort of neglecting myself. I didn’t know how to take care of myself; it was a strange feeling. I didn’t know what I needed. I didn’t feel like I mattered.
When I became a mom, I did not want this for myself and tried very hard to ensure I was taken care of as well as my kids. I realized that things do not happen for you unless you truly want it for yourself. It really started small, like alright if I buy one of my kids something they will enjoy then I also bought something small for myself. Then okay, I am always buying my kids clothes even when they don’t need it, yet I had a ton of clothes from probably 10 years ago that barely fit me right… but oh well. I slowly started changing everything and am beginning to fully realize that you don’t need a lot to live a wonderful life. I wanted to take care of myself, so I made sure my needs were met so that I could be my best self for my kids. I’m still learning what that means for me, but I notice a positive change for myself and realize it’s totally worth it.
Self-care for me:
Doing whatever my body says it needs, and remembering moderation for everything is very important. Having a sleep schedule, meditation routine, yoga routine, and sticking to an eating schedule have become very important self-care routines that I enjoy.
Cleanliness is so important to me and I feel it should always be a top priority. Hot baths are self-care for me as it helps relax my body and mind. Any time I can get in or around water is so relaxing and soothing for me. Keeping a clean house is important because it helps me have a clear mind and stay out of depression. When I look at clutter, it makes my mind clutter and there is really no need for that.
Having a clear mind to actually think became life-changing. Learning to meditate for me, has been amazing. I was always so busy with life and surviving, that I didn’t make time to stop and think, really about anything. I used to meditate all the time when I was younger; I actually used to do many things to feed my soul but something happened and then, I was in survival mode for years. Changing my focus on living rather than surviving has been a bit scary overall but especially when money is tight (Pandemic and 5 children don’t mix at times) but a necessity to survive. Everything always happens for a reason and eventually works out how it is supposed to. Remembering the people who love and support me helps me know I am not alone. Learning to not be afraid helped me make a change to live (as much as you can during this pandemic). My physical health was being impacted and I had to make changes. Taking care of my health and listening to my body has become a major self-care focus. I’ve realized I haven’t taken very good care of my body by being in survival mode. Feeding my body everything it needs, and paying attention by fully listening is so important and really all the self-care you need.
<3 Learning to love myself is something I’m working on, but I know it is so so important. You have to love yourself: because you are the most important thing in this universe.