Self-care is important part of living a life that is happy, fulfilling, and complete. For Black women especially, self-care is one of the things that we need the most, but also the one that we get to do the least. Looking to take back your life and improve how you feel? Here are 10 self-care acts you should be practicing regularly.
Manage stress. Over the years, various studies have been shown that Black women experience chronic forms of stress and anxiety, which ultimately lead to more severe symptoms that negatively impact us mentally, emotionally, and physically. Collectively, we face a plethora of issues that come with racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination that create hurdles for the majority of us. But when we really look at our individual lives, we’ll see that we have so much on our plates and no real way to feel relief from those daily burdens. Even without a study, Black women are very aware that we tend to stretch ourselves thin in multiple areas of life—a lot of us are the glue holding together our families, communities, and workplaces.
The best way to manage stress is to take back your time. Get more sleep, allow others to be more responsible for themselves, make time to relax, and most importantly, create a space—with friends, family, and/or a therapist—so that you have a support system that genuinely cares about your well-being.
Say no. One of the first steps of taking care of yourself is setting firm boundaries between you and the people in your life. The best way to do this is to simply start saying “No.” When you begin telling others what you will and won’t do, you protect yourself from being taken advantage of, pushed to your limits, and worn out. Preserve your energy and peace of mind and just say no.
Start a journal. When we have big hopes, dreams, goals, fears, and problems, it can be difficult to find people to discuss these deeply personal things with. In fact, a lot of us keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves so much that it leads to feeling lonely and stuck. Journaling is the perfect outlet for this because not only does it make you comfortable with expressing yourself, but it allows you to get your thoughts and feelings out in a healthy way.
Clean up your diet. It’s no myth that you are what you eat. What you put in your body affects your skin, internal organs, weight, mood, energy, and overall health. So if you’re filling yourself up with sugary, salty, fatty, and fried processed foods more than you are fruits, veggies, and whole grains, chances are that you’re not feeling your best. You don’t have to go on a diet to feel good; Just focus on eating real, whole foods everyday and watch how it changes your life around.
Affirm yourself. The ability to love and believe in yourself is at the core of self-care because what you think and feel about yourself is what you eventually will become. When you wake up in the morning and before you go to sleep at night, write or say little loving messages to yourself called affirmations.
Say things like: I am worthy. I am loved. I value myself enough to nourish my mind, body, and soul. Everyday, build up your self-love and self-esteem until it is unwavering and unconditional.
Be honest. When you are honest with everyone and in everything, you allow yourself to live life in the most authentic way possible. Always be honest about what you like, love, dislike, and don’t want so that your path is one that you’re confident and secure in. Being honest is not only about telling yourself the truth, but it’s also about being real with others.
Organize and clear your space. Keeping your space how you like it is important for your productivity, motivation, and overall mental wellness. Having a clear space where you can work, create, and exist is pivotal for having a clear mind. However, your definition of “organized and clear” doesn’t always have to mean neat and clean! Science even says that messy people tend to be smarter and more creative. Again, make your space into exactly what you need it to be in order for you to be successful.
Improve your sleep. A lot of physical, mental, and emotional hang ups can be traced back to not getting enough sleep or our sleep being poor in quality. It can cause moodiness, weight gain, acne, heightened stress, fatigue, and can even feed procrastination and depression. Sleeping in a quiet, dark, and cool room with no electronics or distractions for 7 to 9 hours is the key to some of the best sleep you’ve ever had. You might even want to place a diffuser in your room and use scents like Lavender and Sandalwood to help you relax and sleep deeply.
Raise your standards. Aiming too low in anything in life is how you end up dissatisfied. Black woman, you are too valuable and far too incredible to be selling yourself short. Look at the areas of your life that you’re unhappy with. Is it possible that you’ve been settling for less than what you deserve? Take some time to yourself and figure out exactly what it is that you want in your career, relationships, health, whatever, and strive to achieve exactly that, or something better.
Forgive. Forgiveness is an act of self-care because it is you allowing yourself to no longer be victimized or tied to negativity. Through forgiveness, you heal old wounds, experience personal growth, and create space in your life to move onto something new. Remember, forgiveness is always a benefit for you.