If you’re like me, taking care of your mind, body and soul are the last things you worry about because you’re always taking care of someone else. Or maybe you spend too much time stressing out over your job, schoolwork or relationship.
For me going to the doctor is something I never had the money or insurance for. So I put my health on the back burner for years. When I first got sick in November I had to take a good hard look at myself because I couldn’t recognize the person looking back at me in the mirror. Whoever was looking back at me was completely drained. She looked tired, weak and on the verge of collapse, which she did, on her way to work one morning. I lost all sense of control and blacked out but I still didn’t take my health seriously.
I didn’t go to the doctor because there was no way I was missing work. I thought I could power through it until I couldn’t anymore.
I spent the entire month of December unsuccessfully trying to fight a cold that kept fighting back with a vengeance. I had to force my tired body out of bed. My voice vanished one morning and couldn’t find its way back. I couldn’t eat or sleep and the work I was so hell bent on finishing piled up because I had nothing left to give.
We all have bills to pay. Living is expensive. But do we have to overwork and overwhelm ourselves to the point of complete exhaustion? I was the person that never wanted to take a day off, let alone a vacation. A year ago I was so stressed out from a job I couldn’t care less about yet I was still giving my all. I cried in my car before every shift. There was one point where I had a panic attack trying to put my car into drive and head to work because I was so miserable I just couldn’t do it any more.
A month later I went to London and Paris and I came back much happier and healthier. Traveling is a great example of self-care. It allows you to broaden your horizon and take a look at the life of others. A vacation also lets you relax in an environment different from the norm that would usually stress you out. The catch is, it is also expensive. What if you can’t afford to travel?
You don’t have to leave the country or the state in order to practice self-care. You can de-stress and reclaim your life in your own home with some of the examples below.
Read a Book That Inspires You
Fiction is great, so is romance and sci-fi but you should try reading outside of your normal genres. I used to detest self-help books because I was not in the proper mindset to actually practice what they were advising. Now I try to keep an open mind.
I recently read T is for Transformation: Unleash the 7 Superpowers to Help You Dig Deeper, Feel Strong, and Live Your Best Life by fitness trainer Shaun T. I’ve been a big fan of Shaun ever since I saw his infomercial for the workout program ‘Insanity’ on TV. Not only is his workout program killer but his book is really interesting. I never knew anything about his personal life or how and why he got into fitness so I was surprised by his backstory. He took his life into his own hands and went from an abused young boy to a strong and inspiring man with an unwavering desire to help people.
What I really enjoyed about this book was it wasn’t all about being your best physical self. He makes you look at your entire life as a whole, breaks down your unhealthy and healthy relationships and gives you guidelines and tests to help open your eyes so you can really take a look at yourself and transform into best version of you.
With some self reflection I learned some things about myself and the people I surround myself with.
Use Your Vacation Days for a ‘Stay-cation’
Raise your hand if you are a tourist in your own city.
Trust me, I’m raising mine pretty high. I have lived in New York City my entire life and I have never seen the Statute of Liberty up close in person. I’ve driven over the Brooklyn Bridge but I’ve never stopped to walk it and I couldn’t tell you how to get to the Empire State Building because I’ve never been there before either.
I can guarantee most of you are like me. We think we have our entire lives to explore where we live or we just don’t care to but time flies and as the price of flights increase we need to be creative when it comes to vacation time.
Take a few days for yourself and be a tourist in your own town. Go to a museum, head to a park you’ve never been to before or try a restaurant that’s thirty minutes away compared to the one you always go to that’s around the block. Explore where you live because I’m positive even if you have been to all of the historical places or tourist traps there’s a street you’ve never been down before that could lead you on an adventure.
Learn Something New By Taking a Class
Always wanted to learn French? What’s stopping you?
Always wanted to learn how to play an instrument? What’s stopping you?
Always wanted to learn how to cook? What’s stopping you?
Thanks to the invention of a little something called the internet we have so many resources available to us we can all learn just about anything for free. My favorite app to brush up on my Spanish is Duolingo. The interface is simple and all you have to do is make a goal for yourself to check in once a day to learn some new words, phrases, and tenses. You can learn Spanish, French, German and more at the touch of your fingertips.
Or if you’re looking to socialize some more look into classes at your local community college or centers. Community centers are great because they’re inclusive. Whatever class you choose everyone that shows up has the same interest and goals as you.
Try to be more mindful of you and your needs. Stop putting your mental, physical and emotional health on the back burner. Challenge yourself to learn something new, take a vacation, or relax at home and pamper yourself. Figure out what best works for you when practicing self-care in order to lead a happier, healthier and fulfilled life.