I honestly try not to click on Thought Catalog articles when I am on Facebook. Really, I try but I am one of those fishes that bite on click bait. So I end up opening up the article and I am disappointed.
Imagine my surprise when I clicked on an article from Thought Catalog and it made me think deeply. It struck such a nerve that I actually saved it so that I could read it again and again until I was clear on what it had struck.
The article made me rethink the meaning of self-care. I am one of those ones that thinks of self-care as doing calming/relaxing things. My favorite self-care so far has been getting an hour-long massage when I was stressed out this summer. It was glorious. The thing the Thought Catalog article made me realize that though is that self-care should not be about managing stress alone. Self-care should be about designing a life that minimizes stress and encourages self-fulfillment. Read more
I am a big Marie Forleo fan. I discovered her when I was living in Ibadan, Nigeria and I was wondering what the next step in my life should be. I have kept up with watching her videos every now and then. For some reason, I saw her Facebook post on her interview with David Bach and it stuck with me. I was really interested in watching the interview because of financial curiosity. This interview was really enlightening about finances but the biggest take away for me was at the end. The final segment of the interview covers Mr. Bach’s sabbatical from his job for 18 months. This got me thinking about my own life. Read more
And halfway through the challenge, she decided that it was the best time to learn the half-moon. The half-moon is a standing split almost. It requires balancing on one leg and one hand while the other limbs hover in the air. It requires a lot of integrity and focus. It requires self-awareness. It requires confidence. In that moment, when I kept falling out of my posture, I was not sure I had what it took to maintain a half-moon for a full breathe. So I paused the video and went into the child pose.
The child pose has always been one of my favorite poses in yoga. It brings me back to earth. I have started using the child pose a place of meditation when I feel lost during my practice. When I feel like I can’t, I tell myself I can. I am beautiful. I am strong. I can do this. I chant this continuously for what seems like hours within a minute. Sometimes, I feel myself crying. I will myself not to give up on my dreams, not to give-up on my body, not to give up on my soul. In that moment while I go through this self affirmation, I rediscover my commitment to life, to living.
As I write this, I am half-way through a 30 day challenge that I am doing with a yogi callled Adriene on Youtube. (If you are interested in learning about her, click here). One of the things that Adriene says that connects with me is that showing up is often the hardest part of any practice. This has been so true for me in the past 15 days. I have been busy with work and life but I am constantly creating space because it is something I believe in. I believe that is important to create space for myself and meditate through movement. It is one of the reasons why I explore various options for exercising.
Self-affirmation is something that I use in my daily practice. It is what fuels my runs. It is what fuels me when I am lifting. It is what compels me to make the right choices. After going through my chant today half-way through the practice with Adriene, I was able to move and breathe into the half-moon pose. It was not easy but I connected back with my body and I was able to achieve the shapes. It is the victories in moments like this that make me realize that I can. I should. I will…keep chasing impossible.
I have been really busy lately with work. I feel like I have ramped up my life because there is no other way to get the things I want if I don’t work hard. I am more invested in my work and I am consciously trying to go. This has left me feeling overwhelmed sometimes. I just feel like I am always tired and I am not able to focus on the other things that I have going on in life. I have spent part of the last month doing yoga to help me center myself. I think I need to get back on my mat and show up for myself.
This week, I have two days off in a row. In retail speak, it is like having a mini-vacation. Instead of staying home as I normally would, I got out and had a good day in Boston. I started my day with a Skype session with an old friend that I have not spoken to in a while. We spoke about nothing important but just connecting and having someone I have known for a while be here was so uplifting. Then I hit the town.
I started the day out going to a new fast food place. I had gotten into this rot of always going to Five Guys whenever I feel like getting a bite in Downtown Boston. Today, I went to Piperi, a lovely Middle Eastern fast food joint. There are like a Middle Eastern version of Chipotle. I enjoyed my falafel salad bowl very much. Then I went to see Pixar’s Inside Out in 3D. I cried watching that movie because I felt like it spoke to a lot of the issues I deal with emotionally. I came out of it understanding that being sad is not bad. Change is not bad. And that is something I am never too old to learn.
After the movie, I hit up the Boston Public Market. I really loved my trip there because I am super into retail and conscious living/choices. It was so cool to see so many local producers in one place. I loved seeing all the local meat as well. I am excited to try some of the turkey sausage that I bought there. After visiting the market, I did a spot of grocery shopping for my lunch this week and came home.
It was such an amazing day and I feel a wonderful kind of tiredness in my bones. I am excited to stay home tomorrow and clean my house. While I am sitting here typing this spontaneous missive, I have been listening to Archduke’s ‘Ama be happy.’ This is a band I discovered from one of my favorite vlogging couple, Jamie and Nikki. It is a song that has been stuck in my head a while. I just love repeating it to myself “Ama be happy/ Ama Be Good/You Better Believe it.”
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”
I recently read this quote somewhere random and it stuck in my head all of this past week. Self-care is something that I sometimes neglect. My lack of self-care is not a reflection of my self-esteem. For me, my lack of self-care is reflection of the importance I place on my own agenda in lot of ways. There are basic things that make me happy. I like the way my face looks with make-up on. I do much better when I am physically active. I blossom when I make myself a healthy meal.
Somehow, even though I know what makes me happy, I find myself cheating myself out of my self-care routine. A few weeks ago, I started massaging my feet and my joints before going to bed. A couple of weeks after starting this soothing routine, I stopped. I just do not enough place emphasis on my own self-care.
This past week, I started wearing make-up to work, again. Instead of placing emphasis on getting to work extremely early, I chose to place the emphasis on looking as I desired. Putting on make-up for me is a seduction of self. It is a moment of vanity when I look at my face and touch my face. I acknowledge my own beauty and allow myself the creativity of choosing who I want to be for the dance of the day. A bright red lipstick to make my lips look full. A girly pink for my feminine days. A smokey eye for the days when I want to catch the gaze.
Putting on make-up is one of the few times when I get to look at my body. I generally don’t dress with a mirror. I actually haven’t owned a full-length mirror in a long time. I find that I like to avoid my body in some ways. I love getting dressed in the morning. I love putting things together and playing with shapes, textures and patterns. I can tell if an outfit fits by the way my body feels in it. To look at my body however is to ask too much of my fragile self. I have learnt to engage with my body in a way that is not threatening to me. Looking at my face is one of the joys I get from a mirror though.
I was thinking about this self-care quote tonight when I decided to play around with my face. I sometimes miss the days when I used to wear a lot of color on my face to work. These days, I am firmly in the nude/brown palette phase. I am enjoying the brown/bronze/black look alot. I tend to concentrate lots of drama on my lips with bright reds and pinks in the summer. This past fall/winter I was really into plums and wines. Tonight though, I sought out my gold dust and played fairy on my face. It is a bit of a wild look but there was so much joy in playing with that face. So much joy!
Do you have a self-care routine that makes you feel your best? Let me know in the comment section.