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by Ramona Rogers 5 min read

A year ago, self-care meant treating myself to a mani/pedi or splurging on a massage. Today, self-care looks entirely different. It is the act of turning inward and nurturing the inside to help me better function in the outward world. For me, self-care is exactly what it says: taking care of Self.

I personally believe Self is the essence of who we are, it is the part of us that is unique, pure, wise, and true. Learning to connect and honor myself has literally changed my life. I have more peace. I have learned to let go of control and surrender (I still have bad moments, but they are fewer and far between).

For the most part, I show up in a way that I am proud of and in order for me to operate in a more balanced state, I practice a ritual that feeds that internal part of me. Each day, I practice gratitude and prayer, meditate for at least 10 minutes, and move my body. I find that when I go above and beyond my normal practice, I operate from an even more grounded and centered place. When I slip out of my routine, I find myself quickly becoming irritable, anxious, and disconnected.

  1. Find your inner bitch and name her. I never realized how much shit I talk to myself until I started listening to my self-talk. You may have an inner critic whose voice holds you back. Boy, I do. Bertha (my inner critics name) is a Bitch with a capital B.  Once I took the time to listen to the voices in my head, I was able to be aware of my inner dialogue. Bertha can be a beast and usually, she is the voice of fear. If I allow her to, she can rob my peace and happiness. My goal is to talk to myself as I would talk to a dear friend. I am not perfect at it, but it’s all about baby steps.
  2. Gratitude is the magic pill for contentment.  When I first started practicing gratitude, I would go down the list - I’m grateful for my kids, my job, my house, my parents, my friends. When gratitude started changing my life, I took a few minutes to FEEL my heart opening with appreciation.  For me, it literally feels like a window to my heart opens when I think about how grateful I am for all the special things in my life.  I must mentally “get into it” for gratitude to work for me. Gratitude can literally take me from self-pity, anger and resentment to happiness in 10 seconds. I find the more I practice it, the more my brain gravitates to an appreciative mindset.
  3. Meditate to keep your mind straight. This is really a huge part of my practice. It is also one of the hardest for me to maintain. It seems like the LAST thing I have time to do is to sit and be still for ten minutes. However, if I can scroll on Insta for 10 minutes, I can take the 10 minutes to feed my brain. Right now, I use Insight Timer and love their guided meditations. However, I really want to be a student and learn new and different meditation techniques. Find what works for you. Sometimes when the day starts off in chaos, if I can get five minutes alone to be present and focus on my breathing, I count that as my mediation. The benefit is meditation turns on my “pause button”. I can pause before I say something rude or act in a way that I will regret. Basically, mediation keeps me from going postal on the kids.
  4. Move your body. I do not like working out. Period. However, I’ve worked out fairly consistently since my 20s. I have done it all. Boot camps, spin class, yoga, Pilates. You name it. In March when we all went into quarantine, I started walking. Now, I can hardly wait to get outside for my daily walk. There is something about being outside, bi lateral movement and a good playlist that really soothes my soul. My point is any movement helps.
  5. Journal. So, I struggled big time with journaling. Mainly, I do NOT want anyone to find my journal and read my crazy thoughts. I just recently decided that the payoff of journaling is worth taking that chance. About four months ago, I started journaling every day. It has been a great way for me to release my feelings, get clarity, and have a record of my moods, my thoughts, my feelings. This has been a great way for me to recognize destructive patterns and blocks. I tried a journaling app, but for some reason, putting pen to paper gives me more of a release.
  6. Just breathe. It is the cheapest and most effective tool to regulate our minds and bodies. I try to pay attention to my breathing, especially when I am getting worked up or triggered by something.
  7. Get your nature on. Even if it is just a walk around the block, there is something soothing about being in the fresh air. I really try to make it a point to use my five senses when I’m in nature and be mindful about what I’m seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling.
  8. Value your values. Once I got crystal clear about what was important to me, it was easy to say no to the things that were out of sync with my values. I have discovered that I suck at boundaries. It is much easier for me to focus on what I hold dear and true and make decisions from that place rather than focus on how my decisions are received. If you google “list of values”, a ton of fun lists come up. I was advised to go with my gut when selecting my values and not to overthink anything. I was also told that if I had a strong reaction to a value but didn’t currently practice that value (for example…having a healthy lifestyle) that it is, indeed, one of my values of mine that I need to work through a block to make it a reality.
  9. Little things add up. There is a lot to be said about the little things in life that bring us joy. Diffusing oils throughout the day, enjoying a cup of coffee, taking a long, hot bath, reading a good book, spending time with authentic people, trying new things, traveling. Find what fuels your fire and thoroughly enjoy it.
  10. Give yourself a break. Seriously. We are all just human beings doing the best we can in this world. We aren’t perfect, but we are trying. We show up. Give yourself some grace and know that you are not alone. We are going to make mistakes. We are going to do things that we regret. Growth comes from learning from our mistakes, there is no set limit on how many mistakes we will make before our lesson is learned. Progress not perfection.


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