self-care, self-love

A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Care and Self-Love

With the holidays around, everyone tends to overextend themselves whether it’s purchasing too many presents or cooking a lot. We often don’t get much thanks for the tasks we complete, because everyone is so busy helping out. Christmas especially can be overwhelming. For myself, I think a lot of it is centered on wanting things to be perfect – wanting to fit in, wanting to avoid fights or awkward moments, etc. It can also be overwhelming because you receive many gifts and don’t have enough time to give thanks or truly appreciate each one.
For those of us with chronic illnesses and a lack of spoons (read the Spoon Theory here), taking time for ourselves in any aspect is very important. We need time to recharge, to get refreshed. It is very hard to deem ourselves worthy of that time for so many reasons. Our society sees downtime as lazy and unproductive. We often feel we are not worth the work because we have other things or other people to worry about and help. We put others first. We don’t have the energy.
You can name your own reasons.
This year for me has been an exercise in learning and practicing not only self-care, but self-love. The two are intertwined, but not always connected. You can practice one without the other, like going to the doctor. That is an act of self-care, but may not be an act of self-love. Sometimes if you’re in enough pain, it’s more an act of desperation – wanting to be rid of the pain – than loving yourself enough to take care.

The first thing to know about both of these is that YOU ARE LOVED. You matter. The space you take up isn’t wasted. You bring something to the world that doesn’t exist without you, be it your quirky personality, cooking skills, or the compassion you have towards others.

The second thing to know is that you are not alone. There are so many people out there struggling with these concepts as well.

If you only do one thing for yourself for the rest of 2014, visit Blessing Manifesting or Buddhify.

Dominee over at Blessing Manifesting has created an amazing amount of resources (including some of the beautiful pictures on this post) for practicing self-love and self-care. She even has a planner and a calendar out right now to help with that. I’ve completed the winding down 2014 sections, and they’ve been immensely helpful. She also has a private facebook group for people to discuss issues, get help, and think happy healing thoughts for each other.

Courtesy of CNET

I’ve talked a little bit about Buddhify before. It’s an app available in the Apple store and on Google Play. It guides you through meditation, giving you an ability to appreciate the little things we encounter every day, from riding public transit to taking a bath (okay, not always things you do every single day).

There are of course a number of other people you should check out, from Julie at It’s Just A Bad Day, Not A Bad Life to Kenzie at Life According to Kenz to Healing by Holly. And of course you can always follow me on instagram or other social media and see all the cool people I’ve found elsewhere as well. There are just too many to name!

The most important step is to realize that your self-worth is not defined or muddied by your illnesses, your history, what you look like, or whatever you are facing in this moment. You matter because every person, every living thing matters. You matter because you are loved and you love.

I hope to share more of my journey practicing these concepts in the new year, and I invite you to join me on this path. It will not be easy by any means, but it will be worth it.

Today, though, I want to challenge you to do something good for yourself. That could mean anything from going on a little drive and picking up your favorite coffee (hello egg nog latte!!!) to shopping the dollar section at Target to giving yourself a hug (yes, I’m serious!). Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend, sibling, or child today.

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