You’ve probably heard about self care. You’ve probably heard of others practicing it and you might have even suggested that another should partake – but what really is it? And how can it shape our lives for the better?
As people we are responsible for taking care of our well being, and as trans people, our well being is often threatened by transphobic ideals. However, your self care habits have the power the change the way we see, feel, and react to the world around you – despite your surroundings.
Self-Care is the act of prioritizing yourself and ensuring that your mental, emotional, and physical needs are met in order to sustain your own health. It includes the habits that we use daily to promote a healthy relationship with ourselves, as well as a foundation for healthy relationships with others. From afar – self care seems like an obvious and simple task.
Truthfully, it is easy, and feels wonderful when you can enjoy the benefits – but staying consistent is the hard part!
It can come in a variety of different forms, and it is different for everyone. What may be self care for one person isn’t necessarily going to be self care for another.
Being a trans person can be challenging, whether it’s emotionally, mentally, or physically. Trans people, more often than not, constantly go through a lot of changes, especially if they have begun socially and medically transitioning.
Coming out is often a challenge, and when there is a lot of rejection, doubt, hatred, and discrimination, it can really take a toll on you. Self-care allows some of that weight to be taken off of your shoulders. Participating in acts of self-love help remind you of your value and your worth, even when your surroundings are making you feel invalid.
Every living thing, and even some non-living things need maintenance of some sort, so they can thrive in their optimal state. You are no different!
Plants need water, sunlight, and oxygen to produce flowers, berries, and other vegetation. What do you need to be the best version of yourself? Ask yourself this and take small steps towards each day towards meeting your own needs.
It can look like several different activities depending on who you are, what your situation is, and what resonates with you as a person. Your habits will also look different based on your needs that you identified in the paragraph above. What may be self care to one person, can be self destructive to another – so it’s important that you know yourself and create healthy habits special to you.
Another important note to remember is that these new habits of yours won’t always be easy or enjoyable the first couple times around. Don’t feel discouraged! You’re making an investment in your well being when you follow through each day. Start small and you’ll be proud with how far you’re able to go in a short month!
So how do you know when your self care efforts are actually effective? With consistency, your new habits should leave you feeling refreshed, recharged, or confident – depending on the activity. Keep track of how you’re feeling after your self care routine each day and see the proof in your self love power.
Our mind, body, and soul are all important to create a loving relationship with. Different self care activities help to strengthen these internal relationships, and each should be developed equally.
We’ve named a few of our favorite Self Care activities to help you pick a few to start
Help your Mind:
Meditation – Sit still and focus on your breathing for at least 5 minutes a day as a way to calm your thoughts and take a break from the fast moving world.
Read a Book – A good book is always a great way to escape into a realm of your wildest imagination, or learn about something you’re passionate about. Reading everyday will help sharpen your communication, reading, and problem solving skills!
Unplug from your Phone – Our technology takes a toll on us whether we know it or not. Most of us don’t even realize the strain and alertness you are exhibiting when on your phone for long periods of time. Give your eyes and mind a little break and have a designated no-phones-allowed party with yourself each day.
Positive Affirmations – Solidify the things you wish to manifest in your life by declaring positive truths to yourself each day. If you’d like to know more about how affirmations work, check out our blog post.
Take the long way on a walk – Stop and smell the flowers on a detour to your destination. It’s easy to find beauty around every corner if you’re looking for it!
Delete negative people on social media – Negativity can be one of the most draining forms of self destruction, and sometimes we are not even the exhibitor. We pick up on others emotions more than we know and distancing from negative people may be hard, but will serve you and your well-being in the long run.
Help your Body:
Yoga – Keep your body happy with 10 minutes of yoga a day. Yoga is for all body types and skill levels and can have amazing results in flexibility, recovery speed, sleep, and more!
Cook a new dish – Cooking is a very fun and rewarding activity that people often find meditative. Plus, you get to eat your nourishing creation!
Getting a full nights rest – Much rides on the amount of sleep we get each night. I’m sure you’ve noticed how crabby you can get when you’ve only have a few hours of rest. We can optimize our energy, mood, and comprehensive thinking when we do this small thing for our self.
Exercise – Getting active is proven to improve your brain health as well as your body’s health, and just 20 minutes of excersise can release dopamine, serotonin, and norepinphrine – all important in regulating your mood.
Drink Water – Take a break from whatever you’re doing right now and drink a nice glass of water. Your body will thank you for it!
For the Soul:
Do that thing that’s been on your To-Do List for ages – Check off that task that has been daunting you for weeks! It will feel so good, and you won’t have to worry about it breathing down your neck any longer.
Get some Sun – Sunlight, other than feeling great on your skin – provides Vitamin D – a vitamin we often are short of during winter months and that helps us regulate our mood and has direct ties to seasonal depression. So, take a small walk or read by a window while you soak up the sun.
Help someone with something – Giving your time and efforts can be one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself. Take a couple minutes out of your day to help someone you know, and then when you are comfortable, take the step to helping a stranger with something that might make their day a little bit easier.
Take yourself on a date – Get all dressed up and take yourself out to your favorite place – your treat! Loving yourself and learning to have fun in your own company is a valuable skill that will stick with you through rough times.
Ask for help – It’s okay to reach out and ask for help if you need assistance. Fear of being a burden on others can often stifle creativity, motivation, and moral – but remember that you have permission to put yourself first. You may be pleased to find that you are not a burden after all!
Spending time with loved ones – The people that love us hold a special place in our hearts and recharge us like nothing else. Being validated and loved is a feeling everyone deserves, and it feels twice as good when you are able to return the favor.
Now that you have some Self Care Habits that you want to implement into your day, plan a way to hold yourself accountable to your commitment.
You can ask a friend or significant other to help you stay on top of your new goals, or you can use our habit tracking chart in our 2nd Vol of Thrive! Here you will find a short roadmap to start your journey to self love.
Remember that your road to self love take consistent action, every day in order to see results.
Remember that self care is not a reward, but rather essential to your health and well being.
Above all, remember that you are loved and you have the ability to fully believe this yourself.