Photo by Patricia Lopez.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year it’s that no amount of charcoal face mask is going to deep clean all of the shit out of my life. Will the tingling sensation allow me to temporarily forget all that I’m ignoring? Sure. Will it help me connect with myself and give attention to the areas in my life that need it? ...Mmm, you got me there.
It’s that magical time of the year when we’re inundated with advertisements telling us about products that are vital to our well-being and existence. In the past few years, advertisers have jumped on the wave of self-care, now marketing their products as the must-have items for the “new year, new me” seekers. I’m all for indulging in activities or items that you know have made you feel better before, but don’t let people on Instagram or in ads try to tell you what those “self-care” products or experiences should be. I’m a big fan of the “Treat Yo’ Self” holiday created in Parks and Recreation, but don’t let capitalism trick you into thinking that indulging in material items under the guise of self-care will fill the holes in your life. I’m writing this for you and, to be honest, for me.
I’m more than aware that I’ve used self-care negatively in the past, so this was a big step for me. Without shame, I will admit that I truly did momentarily enjoy purchasing cutely packaged crap because it was sold to me in the form of “This is good for you and will help you feel better.” Of course, every product was a temporary Band-Aid. I knew this, but still continued to buy into what I was being sold. My “oh shit” moment came when I realized that we all have the power to be our best selves without temporary, materialistic cures. Truly, self-care shouldn’t even need to cost you any money at all.
Self-care can be as easy as saying no to plans. If you’re only going to make others happy, do yourself a favor in the name of self-care and don’t go. If people are your real friends, they’ll understand. Time is incredibly valuable, and you owe it to yourself to spend your time however you want to by doing the activities you enjoy and being around the people who make you feel good.
A great ongoing form of self-care that I’ve come to practice is downloading apps focused on improving one’s well-being. A simple but powerful change like drinking more water every day can be made with the help of a few apps: Daily Water, My Water, and My Water Balance are all great options.
Journaling is a great way to connect with yourself, and you can do so while wearing a face mask, cooking a meal, or even watching Netflix. You don’t need a fancy journal, either—you just need to be committed. While I prefer pen and paper most days, the Notes app is a really easy way to check in with yourself throughout the day and express any thoughts, emotions, or moments you want to remember.
Meditation has been the most impactful self-care practice for me. Five minutes of meditation in the morning or before bed truly transforms the way I show up for myself and others every day. While my self-care journey led to me recently being certified as a teacher in breathwork meditation, I enjoy all types of meditation and thanks to the internet, you can pretty much try all of them in the comfort of your home. One great meditation app is Hitomi Now, which offers everyday yoga videos, meditation videos, and other empowering content. Two other popular meditation apps are Insight Timer and Headspace.
Reading is also part of my self-care, and whether it be a profound book or Eloise at the Plaza (yes, I’m guilty of still reading it when a wave of nostalgia hits me), it can do wonders. My favorite self-care books at the moment are The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer, A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, and No Mud, No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Tapping into my inner child has also been an act of self-love for me. While repressed emotions or tension can arise while doing so, amazing things can come out as well. Maybe you used to dance, paint, or bead bracelets. All of these activities can be revisited whenever you wish! I’m sensitive AF, so I always feel incredibly full of love and shed a few happy tears after I take time out of my schedule to do an activity that I know will make my core self burst with joy.
Whatever your form of self-care may be, don’t feel ashamed if it looks different than someone else’s. Keep in mind that self-care and self-love are ongoing processes, as there is always room to grow and connect with ourselves. As long as we’re all moving toward healing and being there for ourselves and one another, that’s enough for me.
Sofia De Ceglie