We are finally back to #SelfCare! It has been a while since the first post on this subject called SELF CARE: LEVEL 1 . But we are back at it again! If you remember the last one, or just read it for the first time, Physical self care was the first level. Some people may not understand why I made physical care level 1, but here are a few quick reasons: 1. Taking care of yourself physically comes most naturally for some people...i.e. Washing your booty, eating, sleeping, etc. For level one, I only asked you to evaluate and step your game up on something you likely already do daily. 2. Check out this link on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Basically, this tells says that in order for you to reach the highest potential for yourself, you must first meet your basic needs. Those basic needs start out with a need for sleep, water, food, air, and sex...or in other words, meeting physical needs. Some would say “sex” is not a basic need. I would disagree. Sex can be not only a biological imperative, but can also be a form of exercise and a way to achieve release. Also. I am not talking about what most folk think about when they see the word s-e-x. I am thinking about oral, vaginal, digit (finger), anal, and solo SEX. Basically, all the ways you could have sex, alone or with partner(s).
Self Care Level 2: Mental Health
Mental self care, with respect to how we are talking about the various levels here, will be relegated to making sure that you are able to take care of your Level 1 (physical) needs with ease. This requires you to be the expert on you by knowing what works and doesn’t work for you! Here are 4 ways to support your Mental Self Care.
1. Breaking “Bad” Habits: So you have bad habits. It’s okay! We all do something that we would rather not. The key here is to not only identify that “bad habit,” but also to know what you want to be doing instead. In other words choosing a replacement behavior. Having something to do instead makes transitioning off something easier because there is still action. In order for this to be successful, knowing where you WANT to be and WHY are important. Your “WHY” will remind you that though the process is hard, you have a good reason for going through it. Why puts pep in your step. Know your “why” and it can feel a tiny bit easier. Breaking a bad habit takes around 21 days. But then again, so does...
2. ...Forming new habits and routines. This is the part two, in a way, of breaking bad habits. The goal is to form new habits and routines that are more aligned with what you want. If you’re asking how this even relates back to Mental Self Care, allow me to tell you. This relates because when we are comfortable with what we do on a day to day basis, we reduce our chances of feeling mentally taxed and stressed. The brain likes routines, it helps it to know what to expect and can prepare you for it. And when the Brain is on board, it can even get easier. Think about this, I’ve been a person who would get up at the crack of 11am. But then I would spend my day feeling behind in work. I decided that I needed to wake up earlier to get a better jump on my day. So I decided I should be waking up at at least 8am. Well, those first few days it was HARD! My body and my brain were in a routine that was different than the one I was trying to force it into overnight. When I finally got it right though, MAGIC!! Like Black Girls Are Magic. I felt like a Unicorn of efficiency and routine! --Routine doesn’t mean you are boring or unspontaneous, it means that you are getting yourself in a habit that can better allow creativity to flow. I choose to write something every day around 8:30am. Because this is a routine, I am getting better at writing at that time. I’m finding I am more creative in the morning--before I have the chance to get pissed off by people’s microaggressions or other crap-- it works for me. You have to find what works for you.
3. Mental Breaks. Sounds easy and routine to give yourself a minute, but most people don’t. Give yourself some time to rest. Trying to be “ON” all the time is exhausting. Throughout the day, give yourself time to go blank or go to your happy place. You could be physically tensing up your body and not even recognize it! Take a deep breath in, drop your shoulders, release that tension that you are holding. Now I know this sounds all very physical, but when you are mentally worn or stressed, you tend to show it with you body. Mind body connection...duh! Here is a video to help out with taking a break. It’s about 5 minutes and offers a guided way of coming back to yourself and relaxing your mind
4. Reflection: This one may not seem as obvious but it goes well with the tips above. The idea here is that you think about your day, or evening or reflect on the mental break you took and evaluate how you are. Reflect on if you feel like you’ve been mentally stressed. If the answer is YES, then think up a solution that you can try for whatever the issue was. The great thing is that with reflection, you get to keep trying new ways of doing something until it resonates with you and it works!
I know I’ve spoke about a lot of this in the abstract without too many concrete ideas, but if you need or want help, you can always schedule your Discovery call!
Homework: Same as last time! In the first level, you were asked to create a routine for the physical self care. This time around, you are being asked to include more elements! Modify you schedule until is actually works for you. Forgive yourself when you stumble and choose a time to start again. For some people, they messed up by 9 am and want to start again at 12 noon. For others they need the day and will wait until the next day to start over. Choose what works for you! There is no pleasure to be had in punishing yourself day after day because you messed up on a Monday. Add in time for mental breaks this time around. Also, identify what the “bad” habits are that you want to break --Procrastination is often the biggest one people come to me with-- and create a plan for what you are wanting to accomplish that gets waylaid my procrastinating tendencies.
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