In honor of the individual journeys of healing and self-discovery Roxanne and Cole find themselves on in Your Chorus, I thought it would be fitting to focus today's blog entry on the topic of self care.
Finding healthy methods of processing the struggles life throws in your path and learning to cope with them in a sustainable way is one of the recurring themes that spans across many of my novels. I like to think that I don't just write love stories; I write people stories. I think the process a character goes through to find themselves is just as important as what it takes for them to find the person they want to be with. You need to know and accept yourself before you can be ready to invite someone else to do the same.
As Roxanne says in Your Chrous,
"I know you don’t understand that now, but we’re...We’re not okay. We need to work on ourselves, Cole. We’re just two buildings crumbling against each other. Maybe that’s a kind of love, but it’s not the good kind. It’s not the kind that can last.”
While this article isn't going to dive deep into the sort of soul-searching questions that will set you up for a stable relationship, I wanted to share some quick and easy things I personally do to bring more opportunities to take care of and value myself into my life. These are pretty specific to me and definitely won't resonate with everyone, but I hope they get your brain turning and show you that self care does't always have to be huge or time consuming. Sometimes all you need is a few minutes a day to feel a very powerful difference in how you perceive yourself and your life.
So here they are...
Katia's Quick Tips for Self Care
MOVE! This one is easier than you think. I'm not saying everyone has to go to the gym or have a workout plan to be happy. If those activities bring you joy, awesome! But there's no reason they have to be your 'thing.' I do, however, believe that dedicating even just a few minutes to moving our bodies purely for movement's sake is one of the best things we can do for every facet of our health. Being active doesn't have to be about metrics or milestones; it can be as simple as turning up the radio and dancing around your kitchen for a song or two while dinner is in the oven. You can do some simple stretches when you get out of bed in the morning or just before you go to sleep at night. You can get off the bus a stop early and give yourself a chance to spend a little extra time outdoors. The most important thing is that you choose a method of moving that makes you happy. It's truly incredible to witness the difference in your outlook just a few minutes of pure, spontaneous movement every day can make.
Modify your mirror! Chances are, you've got a few mirrors around your house- in the bathroom, in the bedroom, on the back of the front door so you can check yourself out before you leave. My first recommendation would be to decide if you REALLY need to be able to stop and examine your 'flaws' when you're about to head out and conquer the world, or if you could replace that front door mirror with something more encouraging. I love the idea behind the 'You Look Fine' wall below. It's kind of a kick-in-the-butt reminder that you really don't need to spend twenty minutes fussing over that pimple on your chin. You're worth more than that, and so is your time.
If you're not ready or able to ditch the mirror entirely, you can also attach an encouraging message above it or leave a reminder object somewhere near by. I like to leave a piece of rose quartz where I can easily see it when looking at the mirror, as it's often used as a symbol of self love and warm acceptance. Those are the things I want to feel when I look at myself.
Set social media boundaries! This is an easy one to say, but it can be very hard to do. There's so much about social media that makes it a wonderful thing, and as an author, it's an important tool that serves my business while also giving me a chance to reach out and feel a sense of community with my peers. It also freaking sucks sometimes, and I personally have major issues with falling into the dreaded comparison trap. I sometimes get OBSESSIVE with how much I measure the way I'm 'living up' to the 'success' of other authors.
So what am I doing about it? I've started logging out of my social media accounts on days I devote to staying off them. Previously, I would simply try to ignore the notifications and temptation to click on the apps, but making the commitment to completely sign out has helped me stay more accountable to myself. I'm also committing to hiding posts and updates from people who make me feel bad about my career. Don't get me wrong, this has nothing to do with them or their content! Some of these people are the authors and entrepreneurs I look up to most, but I've recognized that I'm not yet in an emotional place where I'm able to handle the urge to compare myself to them, and until I work that out for myself, I'm limiting my exposure to things that are only holding my progress back at the moment.
Those are three easy(ish) things you can start implementing into your life RIGHT NOW if you find they resonated with you. I'd definitely encourage everyone to sit down and think about what would specifically help YOU cultivate more self love in your life. It's a very personal process, and advice from others is just the jumping off point to really diving in deep and discovering how you can connect more with your strengths and learn to see yourself with a greater sense of value. At the end of the day, self care is a process and a major learning opportunity. Some days it's ridiculously easy and on others it feels impossibly difficult, but that's completely normal and isn't likely to change. I wholeheartedly believe that the most important thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones is learn to love YOU, and I wish you all the best in finding your own unique way to do that.