self care, relaxation

How to take control of your own self care

We’ve all been there, where we question whether or not we should keep working at a task or take a break. Sometimes that little voice in our head tells us that we need to keep being productive, to just finish that last bit, to power through. That’s guilt talking. Don’t let that control you. Learn how to take control of guilt and improve your own self care.

It may seem like we can’t afford a break in the fast-paced lives we live. Not if you want to stay in the game. Your peers around you work overtime, that girl in the gym does two hour workouts, and that guy does philanthropic work three times a week! What?! How can you even compete?

This brings us to lesson number one…

Don’t compare yourself to others

You’ll never hear the end of it from that tiny voice. We are all people with our own problems and own stories to tell. Some people are naturally better at us at things when we’re better than them at others. Sometimes people have better foundations at tasks than we do, and that’s okay. It’s about finding your own place in this world and developing your own mind. It’s having the confidence to be yourself, sometimes alone. It is easier said than done, but if you’re interested in finding your confidence, check out this article here

All self care means is taking time to be nicer to yourself. It means that yes, you can have another helping of ice cream. It means that you don’t have to workout today. It means you can spend more time at your friend’s house.

This leads us to lesson number two…

Self care means different things to different people

And for that, we should not judge.

Personally, I think social media has misrepresented what self care is. Sure, it can be your classic girls night doing face masks, eating popcorn, and watching movies. This image, of what self care looks like, is just what is perpetuated throughout social. However, as previously mentioned, that’s not all it is. It could be an allocated amount of time every week or every day that you use for yourself. It could also be the atmosphere you build around your workplace to make it more calming. Or, it could be the simple fact that you don’t punish yourself for not being “more productive”.

I should also note that self care isn’t a feminine task; self care is for anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re female, male, or non-binary, because at the end of the day, we are all people. We all struggle. We all have vices. We all need to allow ourselves to have a mental and emotional break so that we can be the best performing individuals we can be.

calmness, self care

And here’s our lesson number three…

Stop guilting yourself for taking time to care for yourself

I think women may face this issue more often due to the social climate we’re in. Be a strong, independent woman. Work your way to the top. Be that woman in STEM. Defy gender norms. 

It’s a lot of pressure, and while the feminist in me whole-heartedly agrees, I’m no stranger to the fact that I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way. I completely advocate fighting against stereotypes, but being wrapped up in this hectic, 21st century lifestyle has made me forget that I am a human being, not human doing. And so are you.

When it came to self care, I didn’t know how to do it because I’ve truly never done it. So when I tried, I felt guilty. I know all too well that guilt is no small beast. Every time I used to have a break in my schedule, I’d get anxious because there was nothing to do. On the flip side, every time I felt I needed a break, I couldn’t allow myself to take one because there was so much left to do.

I was sleep deprived, low on energy, unmotivated, and was quite frankly at the point where I didn’t give a f*ck about anything anymore, really. Fitness used to be a big part of my week and that began to slip. I also wasn’t disciplined enough to eat healthy anymore, which was also a huge part of my everyday. The list goes on. So, how can you combat guilt then?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to suddenly get rid of it. But it starts with being kinder to ourselves. It starts by saying, Sania, it’s okay that you didn’t work out today because guess what, you needed the break. Tomorrow is only a day away, utilize tomorrow instead.

It’s called empathy.

And that leads us to our final lesson number four..

Have empathy for yourself

Nobody else is going to give yourself a break, so you need to. Remember that taking a break does not make you weak. Certainly, taking a break does not make you unproductive. Use whatever break you have in your day and fill it with peace or fill it with an activity that brings you joy. 

The options are endless; you can meditate, take a walk, make comfort food, call up a friend, rekindle family relations, find a puppy playground, put makeup on even if you’re not going out. Or, you can take your makeup off and be a bare-faced, beauty! Check out more ideas on how to take control of your self care.

Conclusion

Again, self care does not always have to be an allocated time for yourself. It won’t always look the same for you as it does to others. It is simply reflecting on the times you can be nicer to yourself, because sometimes the world around us is not. If that sounds like something you need, look into how you can embed self care into your life.

hot girl walk, city, walking

A How-To: Hot Girl Walk This Summer

If you’ve never heard of TikTok, you’re probably one of two things: either you’re older than a millennial or you may, unfortunately, be living under a rock. If you do have a TikTok, you might have heard of Mia aka @exactlyliketheothergirls and the phrase she’s coined off of Megan Thee Stallion “Hot Girl Walk”.  

Hot girl walk playlist by Mia

What is this hot girl walk?

Hot girl walk, for those who don’t know, is a way for you to realign your thinking this summer. Mia says in her TikTok that in order to successfully hot girl walk, you need to do a few of things. The first thing to do is walk. Find your favorite coffee shop, farmers market, or thrift shop, walk two miles there and two miles back. Second, listen to some upbeat songs that make you feel good (check out her playlist here). Third, exercise your mind. On this walk, you’re only allowed to think of three things: how hot you are, what you’re grateful for, and the visions for your future self. That’s right girl, it’s a walking mediation! 

@exactlyliketheothergirls

Reply to @666mjcksn666 follow to stay on non-toxic tik tok! There are a lot of new friends so this needed a redo #hotgirlwalk #fitness

♬ original sound – Mia

Girls from all over the nation have been trying out Mia’s Hot Girl Walk. She says the purpose of this practice is not to lose weight or exercise your physical. Instead, it’s to exercise your mind and sort through your thoughts. Thus, you will notice not only the transformations coming from the body but from the mind as well.

After all, can you really be the happiest person if your inner thoughts about yourself and wishes for yourself are out of alignment? They say you can’t make someone else happy if you’re not happy yourself.

Some Inspo for Your Walk

How hot am I? What things am I grateful for? What do I envision for myself? 
Very Clean drinking water Doing service work 
Extremely Fluffy animals Being a foster parent to dogs 
Insanely  Coffee Getting my dream job  
Indubitably  Sunshine Staying/ becoming healthy 
Will Smith hot Companionship  Traveling the world 

If this is intimidating to you, let it intimidate you. Then remember, the intimidation doesn’t have to control you if you don’t let it. It’s not always easy telling yourself you look hot or amazing when you don’t personally agree. It’s not always easy to express gratitude if you had a hard upbringing. It’s not always easy to know what to want in your life if you don’t know what the near future holds. However, take a moment to see this exercise as an opportunity to better yourself rather than an obstacle. Take a look at our article How to Succeed at Anything New for more inspiration!

The point is that you take time for yourself to really reflect on a couple crucial things. Studies have shown that expressing more gratitude leads to more happiness. The reason for is the more you are grateful for, the more you realize you have, the more you realize just how good your life is where it’s at, which leads to happiness.

In addition, taking time to reflect and manifest about the person you want to be in the future, just makes your vision that much clearer. Focusing on these goals allows you to find paths to these goals. Lastly, practice some positive affirmations: tell yourself that you look HOT AF! People WISH they could be you. You are so hot you’d melt ice cream. You are so hot even Volcán Mombacho would erupt again. You are so hot the sun WISHES it could emit as much flame as you.  

Coming to Terms

It is also completely fine not to know who you want to be in the future. You can also think of your future self in terms of traits: being open minded, charismatic, punctual, respectful, happy, etc. Let your brain take you on a journey of self-discovery for four miles and enjoy it!  

Do this because you want to learn more about yourself, feel better, and glow from the inside out! 

boats on calm water

Meditation: Learn to Live in the Moment

If you’ve ever heard of David Foster Wallace, you will probably find familiarity in “this is water”. Wallace gave a commencement speech to the graduates of Kenyon College in 2005. When two fish were swimming in the ocean, meandering the corals and floating algaes, one asked the other, “what do you think about the water?”. The other thought, and replied, “what is water?”

Wallace describes this as the blatantly obvious reality that is in front of us. Yet, what is right in front of us is sometimes the hardest thing to see. When we let our default, unconscious mind makes the decisions for us, we forget that we have the autonomy to think for ourselves. We forget to practice choosing what we think about, how we think about it, and why we put energy towards those things. Our realities don’t lie directly in front of us, in our abilities to utilize the expansive neurological messaging that happens every moment we are alive. 

Andy Puddicombe presented in a 2013 TedTalk, about a Harvard study that said our minds are lost in thought 47 percent of the time. Meaning, we spend nearly half our lives confused or with our minds adrift. 47 percent of the time, we are not living in the present moment and focusing on the reality in front of us. This consistent mind wandering is also a direct result of unhappiness. Why?

Let’s do a thought experiment.

Think to yourself…

  1. Do I get distracted easily when I try to do work?
  2. Am I often stressed out for a deadline, even if I know I have time to complete it?
  3. Do I feel anxious about being anxious?
  4. Do I overthink past conversations or past doings?
  5. Do I often forget what I was planning on doing?
  6. Do I simply just forget what the next word was going to be out of my mouth?

If you answered yes to most of these, it is a sign that you probably struggle keeping your mind in the present. It is also a sign that you may be unhappy for these reasons: lack of productivity, forgetfulness, rework, etc. 

But we get it, life is hard. One of the most common talked about issues in health is depression and mental illness among young people. Mintel Insights reported that millennials are one of the most stressed generations of our time. Job market competition is ever-increasing, couples are getting married later, women are prioritizing careers over motherhood, and stresses of taking care of parents reside on their shoulders. Gen Y and Gen Z are the most technologically advanced generations. They’re growing up with daily exposure to media influencers, videographers, and other socialites. The Social Dilemma documentary relays the harm social media can do to adolescent minds, with many teenagers facing issues of self-doubt, false identity, and depression. But none of this is new information. So, what is there to do?

Let’s begin with science.

Research has shown the positive correlations between stress reduction and mindfulness exercises. This is no kale eating, smoothie drinking, yoga instructor with an over enthusiastic “hi!” type nonsense. Mindfulness trains the mind to decompress in high-stress situations. It enacts the parasympathetic nervous system for not only solution-based benefits but also conducted for preventative measures. It requires guidance and training just like any other new learned skill or hobby. 

Andy Puddicombe’s TedTalk on mindfulness, balance, and utilizing the present moment.

Many people hold a misconception about what meditation actually is. It’s not trying to envision a blank slate – to see or feel nothing. Our brain is a running machine that receives messages even when we’re not aware. But, meditation helps train the awareness of the present. It helps train your ability to focus. When thoughts or feelings enter the sphere of stillness, they do not corrupt that stillness, but rather exist and then go away. The practice is not in combatting thoughts and feelings that pop up in our heads, because it’s bound to happen no matter what. The practice is in acknowledging them but not putting energy towards them, so that they can move on. Meanwhile, your breathing remains calm and your body and mind remain relaxed.

Here’s what you can do.

In practicing meditation, you can unlearn old habits and relearn how to live more attentively, calmly, and in the present. Ten minutes a day serves not just that day but a lifetime ahead. We can’t keep things from happening in our lives, and we can’t change the past. However, we can use meditation as a tool to help us change the way we experience what happens in our lives. And with that, hopefully we can begin to see our lives in the reality in front of us with a mind that knows that this is water.