Self-Care is NOT Optional

Once you’ve lost yourself, it’s incredibly difficult to be found.

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It’s too easy to let life take over and to let go of the progress you’ve made with yourself. While most people would not actively choose to forgo caring for themselves, shit happens. I’ve spent the entire year focusing on improvement and learning to love myself while making positive changes; that shit isn’t easy and it’s a long, difficult path to take, but a worthwhile one nonetheless.

Lately, I’ve been overburdened with two jobs, school, sick family members, stress, lack of a support system, and baby kittens; I’ve felt myself crumble under the impossible weight of these responsibilities and let go of one responsibility that should be my top priority:

Self-Care. 

If you’re struggling to care for yourself and you can feel yourself slipping into a downward spiral, take heart.

Things won’t get easier when you don’t care for yourself. You might feel as though you simply don’t have time to do things that make you feel better; I’ve been there, I get it. You cannot expect yourself to be able to handle everything that comes your way when you’re already feeling rather broken. It just won’t happen, or if by some miracle, you’re able to, you’ll end up in an even worse spot than where you started.

If you don’t make it a priority, no one else will. They won’t feel badly about adding more to your already full plate, because you’re not speaking out and telling them. Don’t expect the people in your life to be mind readers (even the best of them can’t know what you’re thinking), so tell them. Are you scared? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Are you nearing the point of no return? If that means an assignment goes in late or you have to call in; do it. You have to care for yourself. 

There’s no shame in taking a mental health day. So just take it. This is something I still struggle with; I feel as though I absolutely cannot call into work or take a day off from coursework, but I’m working on it. I choose to go to the gym to relieve stress before I feel like I’m losing myself instead of when I’m in the midst of it all.

The best kind of self-care is preventative care. Don’t wait until you’re already on the verge. Don’t wait until you’re so stressed out you feel like crying. Take an hour to yourself; whether you can only take a hot shower, paint your nails, sit in silence, whatever, just do it! You need it and your soul will thank you for it.

It’s not easy to find time to care for yourself, but it’s damn worth it. Write. Read. Take a long bath. Go for a walk. Find your inner peace in whatever way you can. Make time for it, even if that means you have to schedule “me time” for yourself each week. Do it and don’t feel guilty about it. You’re worth it.

-LP

 

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Letting Go of Who You Were: A Beginner’s Guide

Don’t let yourself slip between the cracks.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; life is hard. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day aspects of our lives and forget to allow ourselves time to reflect and grow. I’m guilty of it and I’m sure you are too, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change for the better, it just means that we’ve got to start that routine today.

  1. Be Kind to Yourself. It’s easy to look back at who we were and want to rip away the parts that don’t seem all that great. Just recently, I spent some time reminiscing on the teenage version of myself and I’m glad to say that I’m no longer that girl. It makes me cringe to think of who I used to be, but I know that 10 years from now I’ll be doing the same when I look at how I am today. It’s alright. We’re learning. Life is a process.
  2. Forgive Yourself. Don’t hold those awkward, embarrassing, painful, or even disappointing moments against your former self. Come to terms with the fact that you’ve made mistakes and realize that we all have. It’s natural and part of growing into a better version of ourselves.
  3. Forgive Others. The worst thing we could do is harbor resentment for those who have wronged us. It’s draining and quite frankly isn’t all that healthy either. Sure, your ex-boyfriend might have been a major mistake and he may have committed some terrible crimes against you; forgive him anyway. Let it go and hope that he’s moved on as well. Wish him well and say goodbye. It’s alright.
  4. Love Yourself Through the Crap. You’re going to keep messing up. You’re going to forget that you’re not meant to have it all together; that’s okay. You might get chubby. You could enter a marriage you were never supposed to be in. You could break a home and a heart, and move across the globe. It’s okay. Love yourself anyway. Love yourself through it all, even the bad parts.

Ultimately, our experiences shape us and without them we would never grow and change so accept the fact that you’re still learning and let go of the old versions of yourself, even the one from yesterday. You’re better than you were then and not as great as you’ll be tomorrow.

 

-LP

 

Being Strong is for the Weak: How to Handle the Bad Days

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life is just so damn hard.

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I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve felt like life is getting the best of me; let’s just say, it happens enough for me to be pretty damn sick of it. But, I must admit, life has been pretty damn near perfection lately. That being said, I totally understand how it feels to be overcome with the feelings of despair and hopelessness. I’ve been there and I know how hard it can be to look on the bright side. Hell, sometimes there just isn’t a bright side!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, unhappy, or just plain depressed, here are some tips for when the wind just won’t blow away the storm clouds that hover above:

Change it up. I know, I know. Change is basically the last thing you want to do when life is kicking you right in the (lady) balls, but if what you’re doing is not generative, does not make you feel happy, and gives you no sense of joy whatsoever, STOP DOING IT. Plain and simple.

Leave toxic people, thoughts, and situations in the dust. I mean it. If you’re around people who make you feel like crap or are just super negative, it’s not going to help you to feel any better about your situation. You might think that their negativity won’t rub off on you, or that you’re already so damn depressed that nothing can make it worse; you’re wrong. Even if you don’t realize it, their attitudes affect you. People and our surroundings truly affect us in unimaginable ways, so why not surround ourselves with positivity and a support system that is both generative and affects us in a positive way?!

Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.

– Robert Tew

Give yourself the “OK” to be sad. You don’t have to be strong every moment of every day. You’re not a robot! And if you are then, hey there, you snazzy robot you, how the bleep bleep bloop is it goin’? Anyway, you’re human (I think) so allow yourself to be vulnerable and accept the fact that being broken is part of life.

As always, if you’re feeling blue or you need someone to talk to, do not hesitate to reach out.

You’ve got this!

-LP

Focus on the Motive not Motivation

What is your driving force?

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If you’re rooting your actions, thinking, etc. in something as weak as some feeble motivation, prepare to lose it. Have you tried starting a diet, making a lifestyle change, learning to recycle, etc.? Odds are, you lost motivation half way through. I get it. I’m the same way. The excitement that gives you initial inspiration quickly fades away and you’re left wondering why the hell you started this to begin with.

Find your Motive.

What is the reasoning behind your actions? Be honest with yourself. Personally, I’ve found that extraordinarily hard to do. I like to kid myself and say that I’m choosing to do whatever I’m doing based on something smart or sparking change or whatever, which isn’t always true. Half the time I’m doing something because of how it makes me feel. It may make me feel smarter; it may spark a change within myself, but that’s not the driving force behind my actions. I am. That might sound hella selfish and self-centered, but the biggest disservice you can give yourself is to pretend that you’re not a selfish creature.

We all are. And that’s okay.

Embrace the crap out of the fact that you should be driving yourself, but don’t simply find inspiration within. Let your world inspire you; let it give you motivation, but take that one step further. Once you have the motivation to begin, ask yourself “why?”

This will help you to determine if whatever task at hand is actually doable for you. Don’t waste your time on odd jobs, projects, or people that don’t inspire you. It’s a waste of your time and a waste of theirs. It’s easy to fall into the rut of sticking with things that you’re indifferent to. I know that from experience. I let the winds of the world sway me into things that I didn’t really love; things that I was just “okay” with. It took me a long time to finally realize that I had lost that creative flame that burned inside of me. I had snuffed it out by piling on things that the old, excitable, creative version of myself wouldn’t have given a second thought.

I became a person who just existed. A person who had motivation to do these lame tasks, but always ended up giving up because I didn’t have any meaning behind it, any reasoning; I was lacking motive. Passing time isn’t a good enough reason to do something. If you need to earn money to pursue your passion; Work that shitty job. Live in that tiny apartment. Eat those damn potatoes for every meal. Just do it and remember why you are. You’re dealing with the crap now so you can bask in the glow of your dreams. Follow them. Find the meaning behind them. Find your purpose. Just do it.

It won’t be easy. Quite frankly, if you’ve lost your drive for life, it’s going to be a massive pain in the ass to find it again. Just do it. Seriously. It’s so damn worth it. As cheesy as it sounds, follow that damn heart of yours. It’s truthful and worth the risk.

Always keep searching.

-LP