Practicing self-care is one of my goals in 2018. In the past, I haven't been the best at this, but this year I am making an intentional effort to get better. I realized that I cannot be of service to other people if I'm not healthy physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Often times, I overwork myself until I crash and literally have absolutely NO energy left. But this year I want to be more in tune with myself and MY needs. This is a difficult task though because I always have so much on my plate. Finding the balance is definitely the tricky part and it only gets harder as I get older. Kudos to all the wives and mothers out there! I don't think I'm there yet LOL.

If you struggle with self-care, here are a few of the things I make myself more aware of now.

Mental Health

Photo courtesy of Aviva Werner

Photo courtesy of Aviva Werner

It's important that I'm not overworking myself to the point of feeling exhausted and lowkey depressed. Taking a mental health day off of work every month or every other month is extremely beneficial. Sometimes I just need the extra rest and mental reboot. My mantra this year is "Don't kill yourself for a job that won't kill for you." If something happened to me, they'd have me replaced the next week, so why am I stressing myself out just for a paycheck when my blessings truly come from God? It's OK to take a break for your mental sanity. It's also healthy to take an annual vacation. Get away. Soak up some sun. Unplug.

In this day and age, social media can easily become an addiction. I sometimes find myself scrolling and scrolling just because I'm bored. I try to correct my behavior by either doing something productive or clicking on my camera roll every time I get the urge to scroll. Limiting my time on social media is definitely a goal of mine this year. I know plenty of people who spend more time on social media than me, but I don't want technology to become an obsession. Social media can also harp on your mental health. It can make you feel depressed, ungrateful and even super hateful and judgmental. So my goal is to limit myself. 30 mins per day and keep it moving.

Journaling helps me express my fears, doubts, anger, frustrations, etc. I do admit that in 2017 I didn't journal as much as I wanted to because I was really busy, but so far this year I have almost done it every day. Journaling allows me to step back and really ponder on my goals and put things into perspective. I also is an outlet so I'm not keeping things bottled up (which I normally do).

Emotional Health

I constantly evaluate the relationships I have in my life. If they are causing me stress and drama, I have to let them go. It's best for my emotional health. I only allow those that deserve to be in my circle around my energy. I don't have time for people that tamper with the positive energy surrounding me. The same goes for romantic relationships. In the past, I would allow just anyone to control my emotions, but as I've matured and have been gifted with discernment, men who are not adding to my value are no longer welcome. If you're there just to waste my time and suck me dry, you've got to go. PERIOD.

Crying... I'm not sure if there is anyone who loves to cry, but I know I don't like to. I do cry because I know its what makes me human, but since 2014, it has been more difficult for me to be extremely emotional. It has gotten much better, and I remind myself to cry more and to let myself feel sad or frustrated. I'm definitely working that emotional stunted muscle more than ever now.

Physical Health

This is probably the area I struggle with the least. I was an athlete in high school, so I've always enjoyed physical activity and working out. There have been moments in my life when I wasn't constantly going to the gym, but for the most part, I always make sure I'm doing something. From April until December I really got in to kickboxing, which was a great experience. I loved it and it helped me maintain a healthy weight. But if you do struggle with exercise, think about how good it makes you feel. Those endorphins that are released make me feel like I can conquer the world. And of course when you look good, you feel good. So even when I'm feeling lazy, I push myself to do something. I have one body, so I try to treat it with as much respect as I can. This also goes for eating well. Right now, I'm doing more research for new things I can incorporate into my diet.

Practice unwinding. Like I mentioned earlier, when I'm on go mode 24/7, I crash and burn, so I try to make sure I'm incorporating some relaxing into my schedule. Carve out some time to get a mani and pedi or a massage. It could even be a glass of wine on a Friday night while you curl up with a good book or Netflix movie. Just make time to spend with yourself.

Spiritual Health

Toward the ending of 2017, my spiritual health fell off a bit. I was spending more time scrolling than praying and keeping my spirit aligned. I believe it was because from January to October I was under constant stress, so once I got the time to relax, I fell ALL the way back and did absolutely nothing after work. It's not an excuse, and I should've had more balance, but to be real, a sista was tired y'all. Completely pooped from the entire year of hard work. Now, I'm back on my spiritual game by reading two daily devotionals, reading a Proverb a day and fasting. I also plan on getting back into meditation. It definitely helped to quiet my mind for a more restful sleep.

What do you do to practice self-care?