It’s been awhile since I’ve used this blog which is odd since I have been home the past 2 years of the pandemic. Consumed by the work of being a full time middle school English teacher during a pandemic, my writing took a backseat for a little while. Instead of writing, I took it upon myself to immerse myself in the world of roller skating and maybe used a little too much social media. For 2022, I’m trying to be more present with myself, reconnect with my writing practices, and establish community with others again.
The term “self care” is often associated with Himalayan salt and rose adorned bubble baths, facials, massages, and overindulgence. What I have come to learn “self care” means to me is none of these fancy, materialistic luxuries, but instead, finding a way to be present with myself and the world around me. Self care then becomes an act of self love, self acceptance, and forgiveness. Perhaps, taking the time to re-evaluate areas of my life where I could practice more restraint and patience. Below are a few of the ways that I practice self care in my daily life.
I was a “yes” person for many years and I had no real understanding of what boundaries actually were or how they were practiced. In any job, with any relationship, and any person for that matter, I had a hard time just telling people “no.” As a result of my inability to say “no,” I experienced a spiritual and emotional fatigue that brought my mind, body, and spirit into a cavern of darkness. I work in a field where it is often expected for me to agree and say yes often in order to be a part of a team and to stand out.
Since when did burning yourself out become a badge of honor? I have come to learn that it isn’t and that I cannot be productive in any area of my life if I’m burnt out. As difficult as it may feel at times, sometimes the best option for me today is to say “no” and decline. Life is too rich and meaningful to be wasted on feeling duped or drained constantly. I’d rather retain the energy I have now to be able to luxuriate in the joys of life.
I was born a natural cynic with a mean girl as an inner critic. She loves to terrorize me, bring down my self worth, and make me feel inferior. Over the years, I’ve come to find my most powerful weapon to use against her would be positive affirmations. It was a few years ago when I first stumbled upon Louise Hay’s book, “You Can Heal Your Life.” I remember looking through the watercolor images of angels, inner children, and unicorns. I thought to myself, “well, isn’t this the corniest thing I’ve ever seen?”
I bought the book as a joke, thinking it would be of no use to me but I soon found that it was a first step in the direction of self love. I began to listen to her affirmations daily and I even bought a purple journal with a unicorn on it (big surprise). Each day that I would feel myself spiraling in my mind, I’d write affirmations in that small journal. I would write spiritual affirmations, “I am” statements, prayers, gratitude, anything I could to shift my mindset. After all, my inner critic was strong and resistant.
It was in Louise Hay’s book that I learned about mirror work. Mirror work is a type of morning practice where you look in the mirror and repeat a mantra or affirmation while looking directly into your own eyes. It’s a powerful practice in building confidence, self worth, and positive thought processes. I once heard Brene Brown say that we create false narratives in our childhood which develop into unhealthy patterns in adulthood. Thus, the self care came once I was able to begin unlearning those false narratives and replacing them with better narratives.
Part of my daily morning routine is to write 5-10 things that I’m grateful for. I do this in addition to writing morning pages as a form of meditation. Some days I don’t feel grateful, or I wake up in not the best mood but when I write down those items that I’m grateful for, my mindset begins to shift. I once heard someone say the phrase “rose colored glasses” and I feel that gratitude allows me to wear those. Even if it feels uncomfortable at first, it will pay off over time. Give it a try for 30 days and see what happens.
Upcoming Writing Projects
Currently working on the following projects:
-a collection of vignettes on my journey to self acceptance, self love, and healthy relationships.
-a novella series about a shamanic healer who hunts supernatural villains.
-poetry (always writing poetry).
-hopefully, another zine that combines photography with haikus.
-random short stories I need to finish.
I hope to have some work to share with you all soon!