2018 has been the year of infinite change for me. Just as everyone else, I started the year out with setting attainable goals including working out, drinking more water and better time management skills. It would be a sudden surprise to me when by the end of the first quarter I found myself single, friendless and yearning for true alone time.
While getting used to my status in both friendships and romantic relationships, it was then I realized the value and importance of self-care and it shouldn’t be practiced only when something dramatic or life changing happens. Rather, the notion of self-care should be utilized in every day life. Depending on who you ask, the answer of what self-care looks and feels like will be different.
Before the year of infinite change happened for me, I always looked at the notion of self-care as being selfish. At the time, those closest to me would label self-care as “Me Time.” While those around me labeled it as time for themselves, I couldn’t help but think of all the things I could get done instead of taking a break.
“Self-care is anything that takes care of and sustains your mental, physical or spiritual well-being. We feel guilty about taking the time or spending the money to take care of ourselves. We are always taking care of others, or our careers, but not ourselves,” said Sylvia Wilson, an Indianapolis native who also includes self-care routines as part of a healthy lifestyle.
According to medical professionals, the act of practicing self-care includes exercising, being self-aware, creating joyful rituals, forgiving yourself and others just to name a few.
“Black women can and should do a few key things to practice self-care. First, acknowledge your limitations, understand that they may change over time, and act accordingly. Many black women are raised to be strong, and this concept is often indoctrinated from the cradle,” said MBA professional, Raven Lopez-Bell.
For many Black women, the notion of self-care is oftentimes perceived as being selfish but according to professionals, its well needed and earned.
“I think the stress for African-Americans is a complex issue and is influenced and created by multiple factors. There is a real, tangible and longstanding evidence that shows African-Americans are mistreated, disproportionately punished, and undervalued in the United States across the spectrum,” said Lopez-Bell.
Experts suggest including a self-care routine as part of a healthy lifestyle.
“Investing in me time is a must. It could be as simple as taking an uninterrupted bath, going shopping by yourself or having a night out/dinner with friends. It is imperative to carve out concrete time each week to do something that is solely for your own enjoyment,” said Lopez-Bell.
If you are in need of a few tips and suggestions for your next well needed self-care routine, try the following: Talking to people who fulfill you, hanging out with your close girlfriends, getting a manicure and or pedicure, taking a bubble bath, taking a nap, listening to music, watching your favorite television shows, reading a book and turning off all of your electronic devices for a period of time to name a few.