4 Practical Acts of Self-Care

Hi blog, it’s been a minute. I thought I’d take this time to briefly address what I’ve been up to, where I’m headed, and why I decided to make this post. And we have a lot to catch up on!

To start, I’m more than halfway through my very last semester of college, which is a huge milestone that I never thought I’d be able to say at age 21. For the past couple of months I’ve taken on a new side hustle to make a bit of extra money before “going off into the ‘real world’”, and have been spending most of my free time applying to jobs and interviewing for a few different positions in Los Angeles. I’m also starting the 30th, and likely last, issue of Mad Sounds Magazine, and it’s been an emotional, exhausting, and entirely overwhelming past few months. Without divulging too much, there have been a lot of growing pains involved in this process, but still, I am trying my very best to take it all in stride.

I’ve found myself more mentally and emotionally exhausted than I’ve ever felt in my life. I’ll be the first to admit that I was and still am in desperate need of a bit more self-care than I truly give myself. I have a lot of difficult self-improvement that needs to be done, I need to take more time for myself, say no more often, and truly work on myself. But like many things, I am still learning, growing, and I am trying to dedicate this spring to a much needed mental spring cleaning--making a conscious effort to focus on my own needs, personal goals, and most of all, taking better care of myself.

Throughout this process, it brought me to the idea of practical but necessary acts of self-care: the ones that don’t necessarily involve face masks and hot baths, but difficult self-discipline, emotional self-care, and thoughtful guidance that we all need at times. For those who are in need, or just need a gentle reminder, here are four practical tips for being better to yourself:

Your Feelings and Emotions are Messengers - Listen to Them

We have a tendency to dismiss or underestimate the power of our emotions. Contrary to what many may think, emotional intelligence or sensitivity is not synonymous to weakness. When our bodies are sending us important signals about how it is feeling--both mentally and physically, we need to do a better job at recognizing the validity of our feelings and making larger efforts to give ourselves what we need. Listening to your body signals are a seemingly basic way of everyday living, but how often are you really giving yourself the permission or time to address your mind and body’s needs?

Stop Checking up on Your Nemesis

For many of us, “checking up” (or more commonly known as ‘lurking’) can be a painful habit that we conduct under the guise of curiosity, however, the consequences of checking up can be damaging and self deprecating. Use the mute button, clear your search history, and make a conscious effort to stop searching for a way to make yourself feel lower or more insecure. Your worth should not be defined by how you compare to other people, and this is a harmful social construct that we have to take time to unlearn every day.

Dedicate Ten Minutes To Yourself Every Day

We all lead particularly hectic lives, but despite my busy schedule, I always have at least ten free minutes that is normally wasted on my phone or another passive activity. Dedicate at least ten minutes to doing something for yourself: whether that’s ten minutes of cleaning a messy space that you neglected during the week, ten minutes of meditating and being alone with your thoughts, or ten minutes of bullet journaling your week. Do at least one activity that is dedicated entirely to your own self-improvement, reflection, or care, and your body and mind will thank you later.

Know When to Seek Extra Support

Sometimes, we can’t always do it alone, and it’s crucial for us to know that it’s okay to seek additional help when we are able to recognize this. Therapy, school counseling, or even talking to parents/friends/other trusted adult figures can be extremely helpful in receiving additional support towards your mental health. Remember that your burdens do not have to be dealt with alone, and that there are resources to help you when you don’t think you can handle it all on your own. Check out some digital therapy apps like BetterHelp, or reach out to a local counselor or hotline as linked here.

What are your biggest tips for taking care of yourself? Drop a comment below and let's start a conversation.