This is really just a post of me getting real with myself and sharing that realness with yall. Basically, I’ve been noticing that every time I really get serious about my self-care its when I have finally gotten to a low point. I am depleted in energy, tired of dealing with peoples bs and decide to go on a self-imposed in-home silent retreat or noticing that my body just feels heavy and without energy.
There are four ways in which I often feel depleted, mentally, from an overactive mind, emotionally, from simply dealing with people and personalities, spiritually, from not connecting enough through my yoga practice and meditation, and finally, physically, from allowing all the other depletions to consume me enough that I have not made enough time to nourish myself properly.
As I was browsing online at some of my old posts, Buddha Bowls and other vegan recipes that look so amazing, I just got to thinking. How come I always wait until I’m at the edge? Why do I push it all off and do just the bare minimum until I have no other choice but to pay attention?
This got me thinking further about how can I establish a routine of self-care that I CAN and WILL actually stick to. What do I need to do weekly or even daily to maintain my self-care, my sanity and my health?
I decided a couple of things and I wanted to share those with you guys in hopes that they can be of service as you discover and walk upon the journey of wellness and self-care.
No. 1 | SILENCE
This isn’t just about being in a quiet space, this is about allowing yourself to be free of distractions. In that space, you can find inspiration and start to hear the inner voice. Listening to that inner voice can often tell you exactly what you need, whether its a yoga class, a good meal, or a relaxing bath. And the truth is, self-care really starts with knowing what you need.
I don’t know about you, but there is something that is extremely precious to me about silence. As a person with an overactive mind, listening to the thoughts of others and constantly taking inputs be they from social media, in the physical world or otherwise, drain me. One of the most important things to me in this life is the ability to be by myself! It is one of the most restorative feelings and experiences. I will say that I have met many people who really don’t enjoy being by themselves or being in silence. I get that listening to your own thoughts can often be overwhelming when you can’t find a way to ease them.
That said, you can consider what to do when you are in that silence that can help ease your mind. Let’s look at the following ideas.
No. 2 | NOURISH
Truth be told, the timer just went off for the roasted chickpeas I have in the toaster oven. One of my favorite things to do, especially if I know my body needs some real nourishment and I am not sure what to give it, is browse vegan or healthy food blogs on Pinterest and Instagram. The moment I scroll through a picture and I feel my body get excited about an image, I put myself to work. I get so excited for the meal I am going to eat that it gives me the motivation to cook it. Buddha Bowls are one of the best ways to create a quick and easy meal that will nourish and ground you. It’s basically a bowl with multiple nutrients, the one I am making has red quinoa, sweet potatoes, roasted chickpeas, power greens and a lemon garlic tahini dressing I make at home.
In addition to this building on our first “pillar” of silence, this is a great way to spend some time doing something that will nourish your body as well as give your mind something to focus on. Try making a new recipe you’ve been looking at or some new style of cooking you’ve been wanting to try.
No. 3 | YIN
Clearly this really does go without saying but practicing yoga has been essential and irreplaceable in my self-care regime. In all honesty, there are many more yoga classes I could be taking than the ones I actually do. I know it sounds contrary for me being a yoga teacher and all, but it’s real for me just like it is for you.
There are two things that really helps me to get on my mat. One, a dope as playlist, or two, yin yoga. Yin yoga is a restorative, grounding and relaxing type of yoga. It’s great when you don’t have much energy but still want to get some time on your mat. Getting some props, such as a bolster, some blocks, straps, or a meditation cushion can be really helpful in facilitating your practice. I highly recommend attending a yin class at a studio so you can understand what I’m saying. It’s heavenly.
No. 4 | READ
There are few things that light up my spirit more than reading a good book. I feel inspired, renewed and fresh. I often feel lighter, as the thoughts that were roaming around my head are now focused on what’s at hand. My favorite book of all time if not top three, is Yamas and Niyamas. I will often read pieces of this before I begin a yoga class to share some insight and wisdom that ancient yogic philosophy has so graciously blessed us with.
Whatever that book is for you, be it fiction, sci-fi, self-help or otherwise, taking the time to enhance your mental space with a good read is an amazing tool to have in your self-care regimen. Add a cup of tea, hot chocolate or even a bath to that and you will feel brand new afterwards.
No. 5 | TREATMENT
Still waiting to hit purchase on that massage Groupon in my cart. Yep, I am. It’s important, with all the things we run around doing for others and for the sake of our responsibilities, to allow others to do for us. This may be as simple as asking your partner for a massage, hitting the purchase button on the Groupon, or even treating yourself to a solo trip to your favorite restaurant or coffee shop. Maybe buying those tickets to Cuba for vacation or deciding to treat yourself to a rejuvenating retreat, like our Afro Yoga Winter Retreat coming in October 🙂
Knowing that we deserve this treatment is the first order of business, the second is giving the effort to make it happen and finally, the most important piece, making it happen. Don’t take your self-care for granted and don’t take it lightly. An empty well can never fill a cup.
No. 6 | RELEASE
This one might be heavily overrated and even hit on certain social taboos. Primarily, what I am saying is that with so many emotional upheavals in the world and in our own lives, we have to think, where do these emotions go? How do we transmute them and allow them to transform so that they don’t become toxic to us?
My thoughts on this are as follows. I’ll start with basics and the most non-controversial things first.
1. Journal. We all have one, well all have written in one, we know how awesome it is to say everything you wish you could say on paper where no one will ever know. Get a pen, get your journal, write some shit you need to get off your mind so you can lighten your load. That is all.
2. Talk. Have the serious talk about what’s on your mind that you’ve been holding in with whoever you need to have that talk with. There is no point in harboring emotions so you blow up on the lady at the deli counter making your sandwich because they ran out of peppercinnis. Let’s NOT do that.
3. Vices. Have a freakin glass of wine, and a smoke if you want to! Not condoning excessive behavior here just saying I do own a tobacco pipe and it helps immensely to calm my nervous system, along with that lovely glass of red wine. I know some of you may disagree, and you are welcome to do so. However, the calming effects that I derive from these very moderate practices have been extremely healing and relaxing for me personally.
4. Sex. Let’s not kid ourselves, we are all able to read this because two people had sex one day and made us. Let’s also not make it weird and all agree that sex can be a very wonderful thing. Before I go on let me be clear about two things.
One, I’m not saying go find a hot girl or guy and take them home. No. I’m saying you should be choosing very carefully who you share this sacred part of yourself with that is both very special and very beautiful. Hopefully, you have someone like that in your life or if not, have it your way and DIY! Yep, talkin bout the “M” word.
Two, orgasms are one of the most healing experiences any one person can ever have. Notice how people always joke about how people who are getting some are always happy, glowing and with a pep in their step? Yeahhhh.
Final Disclaimer: sex should always be an enjoyable, wonderful experience for all parties involved. Do your best to engage with someone who also feels that way and respects you and your body. Also, use protection and be safe!
Well, I think that’s all I have for this post, my mind is at rest and I feel empty (in a good way) which let’s me know I have said everything I need to. Plus, my Buddha Bowl is now getting cold. See how we do our self-care? Lol. It’s a work in progress yall, take it one step at a time and if you implement even one or two of these practices, you are doing good for yourself 🙂
Until next time, Peace, Love and Namaste!