With the world still being in an even messier state than usual, the pandemic ongoing (though ‘lockdown‘ is less restricted what with everything reopening and some kind of normalcy resuming), and horrific news flooding social media, it is vital, now more than ever, to take care of yourself, and work on yourself to be better. Thus, How to: Self-Care.

Coronavirus has highly affected many lives, and taken many away, people in my family, and family friends, included. the impact it caused, and still is, continues to be one of rapidly declining mental health, with spikes in depression and anxiety. whilst we are now allowed to see our friends, and mingle with other households, the effects of the virus are still at large and it won’t (unfortunately) disappear any time soon. this is why i’m adamant, despite everything, to make this summer better than the previous one, and about becoming a better version of me, empowered, productive, healthier, and working towards my goals. I believe in the power of manifestation as well, so i plan to make lists, Amy Santiago style.

however long this pandemic lasts, don’t let it (continue?) to negatively affect you, mentally or physically. the worst thing you can do to yourself, in the long run, is stop caring.

so self-care is defined as ‘the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health‘.

Food

We all love food, right? since we’re all stuck at home, it is essential that we have have the right nutrients and protein our body craves. it’s easy to constantly be resorting to junk food, alcohol and sugary things (there were two weeks straight where i would have brownies during the day!), when we’re just stuck at home. but having a balanced and healthy diet is still so important. including things like pasta, rice, fruits & veggies to your daily eating is necessary.

also folks, remember to stay hydrated, pls. if you don’t want to be constantly drinking it plain, or don’t think you can, invest in a bottle, add things like oranges/lemons/cucumbers/strawberries etc. to it, to add flavour.

Routine

Creating a routine for yourself is helpful because it gives you a structure to follow, stops you from feeling shitty and allows you to plan out activities.

Within that routine, include time for yourself–some you time, to enjoy your own company; take yourself on a date. Maybe once a week, maybe every Wednesday, Friday or Sunday. have a painting session alone, do some sketching, it doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or not. it’s to do something fun. light some candles, put on your favourite music, dress up as if you’re going on a real date, take some pictures to document the date with you, and have fun.

Structuring your day helps to sort out your mind, and it doesn’t really matter if things don’t always go according to how you plan it out. for me, it’s as simple as fruits for breakfast at 2pm, get some writing done til i eat -> have dinner at 6pm, read for however long i want to, practice mindfulness, relax, watch a movie, until 8pm (unless i continue reading), when i write again. i don’t always stick to it, the timings shift, but that is usually the gist of what i do, not including grocery shopping, spending time doing my skincare, and makeup if i feel like it.

Makeover Your Space

Changing the way your room looks, or giving it a deep clean, decluttering, organising are things that will help you regroup and feel better. if there’s something you’ve been wanting to add to your room, go ahead and do it. if there are items years old (do you still have those jeans that don’t fit?), throw them away, or better yet–give them to a charity.

to my own room, i have decluttered and reorganised. there were things i had, papers, clothes, old makeup, perfumes, that i just had stored away for no reason or just didn’t use anymore or had expired. i tossed them. i redid my bookshelves and my wardrobe, and did a massive deep clean, from wiping down the desks, handles, mirrors and windows, to vacuuming, changing the bed covers to brand new ones.

for J’s room, we bought two new covers/cases for the bed, a beanbag chair, a sparkly fuzzy rug i love and tossed the old chest of drawers, replacing it with a cute clothes rail that took up less space and overall, was more aesthetically pleasing. we also did a deep clean of every-single-thing (and by we, i mean me.) doing this has made everything better and the feeling after is one of order and serenity. (i’m also thinking of getting a plant, or a fake one, for his-slash-our room, to give some more life to the space and spruce it up. but don’t tell him!)

liking the space you’re in, and being content with the exterior, helps you to feel better inside.

Work on Yourself

Want to perfect your skin-care, learn to cook, work out or achieve that flawless base when you do your makeup? well work for it! actually take the time to learn the in’s and out’s of it, and do it. for many of these things, we don’t get a result instantaneously so we quit. (i do this with working out. i don’t see the results in 3 days and i give up.)

it’s a negative trait in us all, because as humans we like to get results NOW!

but now, with summer stretching out in front of us and no foreseeable end to the virus, we have all the time possible to hone those skills and perfect, or at least try, the craft.

It’s about time you remain consistent with what you want to do, set goals for yourself and work for it. Speak it, or write it, into the universe. Maybe make a daily to-do list and check it off once it’s been done, if that is what helps.

Like i mentioned earlier in the post, i’m trying to spend more time writing–so i set out a goal of how many thousand words i want to complete by the end of the day. I also want to lose some weight and fat around my midsection, so i’m intermittent fasting, drinking black coffee/green tea, and now i’ll be adding workouts to my routine. i did a few for a week or so and gave up because, me being me, i couldn’t be bothered. But now i’m going to do it, since i want to be healthier and look good.

i’m also trying to grow my hair, so i’m using a variety of oils, like coconut oil, blackseed oil + the ayumi growth hair oil twice a week, and using sulfate free shampoo and conditioner.

and of course, i’m trying to learn to cook and bake more. My first baking attempt was a disaster: it came out cakey (still tasted good) and burnt on the edges! i scraped the ends off and lathered it in melted milk and white chocolate, to make it taste better. The next few attempts, because i kept trying, were a million times better, fudgier and gooier. My boyfriend and i also made cheesecakes. i tried my hand at a variety of cuisines and dishes, like jerk chicken and jollof rice.

Trying to consistently work on yourself, and better yourself, helps you to not only attain new hobbies, but gain more confidence and skills.

Date Yourself

earlier, i said to try to schedule weekly dates with yourself. This is one of the most important things, i think, for self-care and knowing yourself. Having that ‘me time‘ gives you the confidence and power to know what you want and deserve, and to never settle for less than that.

dates with yourself and your ‘me-time’ can included bubble baths, scented candles, investing time and effort in your skincare and a pamper session, with things like painting your nails, dressing up all fancy shmancy. Even just dressing in your sexiest lingerie is enough. Wear, or do, whatever makes you feel the most confident, powerful, sexy. My dates with me feature bubble baths, food i love, my favourite movie/s, a box of chocolates and a good book, with a full face of makeup and pretty clothes.

watch movies you love, sing your heart out, write in a journal too, spend some time cooking/baking.

Learning to enjoy quality time with yourself is the best thing you can do for you, your confidence and knowing what you deserve.

it’ll only be a long and, possibly, boring summer if you make it one.

but take this time work on yourself and focus on self-care, doing what makes you feel good. things like gratitude journals or lists (where you write down everything you’re grateful for), new hobbies or working on ones you’ve given up on, mindfulness, dating yourself, dancing it off, decluttering, reorganising, food, are all things that will help you heal and work on you. (obviously don’t feel obligated to do all this, just getting through each day during this mess is productive and exhaustive enough.) and pls don’t forget to ever talk about how you feel. you can always contact me if you need to get things off your chest, vent or feel down; my (metaphorical) door is always open.

Posted by:Sumaiya Ahmed

i aim to challenge the cultural toxicity of the south asian community and the bs "what will people say" terminology that causes such detrimental harm to so many of us brown girls.

10 thoughts on “How to: Self-Care & Work on Yourself

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