Self-care is a buzz word that has gotten a lot of attention over the recent few years. Instagrammers and bloggers alike post the phrase as a hashtag under their inspirational photos, celebrities speak on self-care when describing lavish getaways and vacations, and mental healthcare professionals advocate self-care for everyone. But is self-care really so important and what does it look like?
Tap 'play' to watch me explain why self-care is essential to have an ameliorated quality of life and to see me explain 3 things that comprise my daily morning routine that help me take better care of my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. If you have not subscribed to Tea End Blog yet, then I have no idea what you're waiting for! Subscribing to the blog will automatically enter you to win free tea, books, and other cool stuff that I am always giving away!
Thankfully, the discussion around self-care has changed since, but not too long ago, caring for self had become so foreign and badly viewed that it almost evoked immediate mockery when someone mentioned it. When a mother of 2 spoke of self-care days, she was judged for having taken time away from her children and perhaps her husband. When a single woman took self-care vacations, she was viewed as being selfish and independent. Oh, and had a man spoken on self-care, he would have been seen as weak and overly sensitive. Why was taking care of others completely normal but caring for ourselves considered selfish and futile?
I think it's normal for human beings to see more value in giving than in receiving. After all, an ancient proverb says, "There is more joy in giving than there is in receiving". The key words are 'more joy', however. This does not insinuate that there isn't any joy in giving to yourself or taking care of your needs. I completely believe in a life of servitude and utility towards others. But I also believe that one is unable to give what one does not have. At times, you need to replenish yourself to be able to give of yourself and therefore, this is why self-care is very important.
"Self-care has become a new priority – the revelation that it’s perfectly permissible to listen to your body and do what it needs."
- Frances Ryan
To be a free and inspiring poet like Dr. Maya Angelou would be a dream come true as I have so much respect for the late writer. Her perspective on words speaks to my heart and the way she eloquently explains their nature confirms my long-held belief that words do affect us. Check out Dr. Maya Angelou explaining her take on words in her last appearance on Oprah's Master Class.
WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
Because self-care was, at one time, condemnable, a lot of people want to participate in this healthy practice but have no idea where to begin. Frances Ryan, an author and promoter of self-love for the disabled, is quoted saying, "Self-care...the revelation that it's perfectly permissible to listen to your body and do what it needs." If self-care is about listening to your body and doing what your body needs, then I can't tell you exactly all you can do to take care of yourself. You will need to spend a little time listening to yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, your dreams and desires for life and you will need to pay attention to your body in order to create a self-care routine that fits you perfectly. There are some things that I do every morning that are universally beneficial, however, and therefore these are the self-care practices that I am sharing with you.
MY MORNING SELF-CARE PRACTICES
GIVE ME THE SMELLS Aromatherapy is based on using aromatic materials, such as essential oils or incense, for improving psychological or physical well-being. Every morning I burn cedarwood incense; cedarwood is known to have grounding, calming and uplifting effects on the mood. I like to begin my days with being grounded and calm as this is when I accomplish my best work.
I burn a candle in my bathroom also! Wood scents work very well in supporting a healthy mental disposition for me so even the candles that I choose are various wood scents. I like Juniper & Rosewood, Mahogany & Vetiver, and Lavender & Cedarwood by Candle-Lite. I still can't decide which scent is my favorite, they all give me good vibes in different ways.
My aromatherapy obsession does not stop at incense and candles, in my bedroom, I have an essential oil diffuser and I use it mostly at night to fill my room with relaxing and sleep inducing aromas. During the day, sometimes I mix a concoction that will give me a little pep in my step since my room also serves as my home office and where I get a lot of work done. I strongly suggest adding aromatherapy as part of your self-care routine because it's one of the simplest but extremely effectives ways to care for your psychological and emotional needs.
TEA TIME THERAPY After lighting my incense, my candle, and perhaps turning on my diffuser I begin making myself a cup of tea. Where would I be without tea? Tea has changed my life in so many ways. I make a living talking about tea (and other obsessions, such as literature), I am able to treat depression with a tisane called St. John's Wort, and L-theanine, an extract naturally found in the tea leaf helps me keep my anxiety under control. So, to answer my own question I say, "I would be a complete mental mess without tea!"
Making myself a cup of tea every morning is a therapeutic practice. I make my tea to fit my mood. At this time, I am able to identify my mood and tend to my needs. Do I need a tea that will give me more energy? Do I need a calming tea? Do I need a menstrual cramp pain relieving tea? The practice of making myself a cup of tea is more than just about preference in beverage, it's also about tending to myself; self-care.
GRACE & GRATITUDE JOURNALING Now that my cup of tea is made and good smells fill the air, I take a seat and begin a fundamental part of my self-care morning routine: journaling. I have been journaling since I was a little girl; my journal entries used to be synopsis of my day but over time, my daily journal habits became more and more intentional towards creating the life that I want to live. I naturally fell into the rhythm of writing 3 reasons why I was grateful, 5 words that described how I felt and I would also write a few things or people that I wanted to extend grace to or pray for. If I had any self-expression, I would make space for that also.
For years, I bought journals that best catered to my journaling style, sometimes even buying planners! No journal was truly a perfect fit so, I decided to create my own! Soon, I will be introducing The Grace & Gratitude Journal with Tea Inspiration from Tea End Blog. A work of love and life. Stay tuned!
There are plenty more self-care practices that I implement such as 1) creating a healthy inner voice, seeing a therapist, getting proper exercise, creating a healthy sleep schedule, creating a beautifully decorated environment, buying myself flowers, and the list really goes on and on.
Self-care is so very important to me, I do not deny my needs and I don't think I would be very useful to anyone else if I didn't first, take care of myself. I hope you were able to glean from my self-care morning routine and perhaps you were able to find some practices that would cater to your needs!
Can you share one of your self-care tips with us?