So far my 20’s have been a mess, in the sense that the transition from living under the guidance and authority of my parents, to being completely my own person. Recently, I’ve hit a wall and come to some hard realizations: I have absolutely no skills in self care. I have no idea when to take a break, when to let things go, when to put myself first, or even what taking care of myself feels like.
I have a habit of imploding when things go bad, and instead of taking time to get trough it, I distract myself with everything and everything. This just leads to me burning out and bottling up the original problems, which is not super healthy. So, instead of continuing down this path and sulking about it, I’m deciding to research, speaking to loved ones, and figuring out how the fuck to be 22.
I need to figure out self care. This may sound silly, because some of you may have developed these skills when you were 5, but I’m realizing it’s okay to learn things later in life!
Step 1: What is self care?
I see people talking about self care days/routines. What does this even mean? When do you do this? What do I do? Well it’s different for everyone.
Self care for one person may not work for another, and that’s okay! Self care is about putting yourself first, and letting yourself grow and breathe.
For some people, that is bath bombs, a good book, and some alone time.
For others, it’s catching up with a loved one you haven’t seen in a while, and journaling your thoughts.
For me, I still don’t quite know yet, but realizing I need to find out is the first step!
Step 2: What makes you happy?
For the next week I’m going to write down things that make me feel good, and sift through and find ones that I can easily do when I’m not feeling great.
Example: Walks usually help me clear my head. I love to be in nature, and to even photograph it. So nature walks and photography can definitely be on that list.
Keep doing this until you have 5/6 items on your list, (which forces you to be creative and think deep), and then pick your top 3.
Step 3: When the heck do you use self care?
This is the hard one for me. I feel like I don’t deserve to take care of myself, or I need to take care of someone else. Well just like they say on airplanes: “secure your oxygen mask before assisting someone else”. How can you expect to be there for someone else if you’re a mess yourself?
It’s frickin hard I know, but you deserve to be happy, too; I promise.
To figure this one out, I thought back to the times I felt the worst:
- Arguments with loved ones, whether parents, friends, significant others, etc. This is when I’d feel the most emotionally out of control and depressed.
- When I’m on my period, o tend to feel really low energy, low mood. I know that this is a symptom of this time of the month, but I tend to convince myself that it’s just me and not what’s going on in my body. Big mistake! Don’t underestimate your hormones.
- When a traumatic experience happens, whether a death, break up, loss of job, etc. These times are hard, and you need to be there for yourself more than ever.
- When I’m overly stressed out about school or work I tend to feel really bad.
- Some days, there is no reason. Some days I just wake up and feel like shit, and THAT’S OKAY TOO!
- Your answers may be the exact same or different, but it’s important to think back to the times you’ve felt the worst. This is when you need self care the most.
Step 4: Remember!
You don’t have to be at your worst to practice self care, this is just the most important time to have these skills!
Sometimes it’s good to take care of yourself on a regular basis REGARDLESS of how you’re feeling.
Also remember that you deserve self care and love just as much as anyone else. You are human; you make mistakes.
Step 5: Is that it?
Pretty much. Sounds easy, right? Well it’s not going to be easy, but we have to try and stick with it. Whatever helps you stick to self care, use it.
I have a hard time doing things for myself because of my insecurities and self doubt, I tell myself I don’t deserve it. What is helping me is telling myself that I’m doing it for those around me. It is important, though, for me to teach myself that at the end of the day, it is for myself, too.
This was a hard thing to open up about because it’s pretty embarrassing to say at 22 I have no idea how to take care of myself. Realizing this is the first step. Then to act on it, and to continue to act on it.
We will get there. ♥️