Written and Illustrated by Niambi White
About the author and illustrator: Niambi (“Nene”) is a high school senior at Theodore Roosevelt High School and intern with Grassroots through our Urban Alliance partnership.
Niambi is a self taught artist and her dream is to be a children’s book illustrator or a tattoo artist one day. You will see her accompanying her writing with her illustrations in the upcoming blogs. This is the second of three blogs that focus on healthy habits and things to do while staying inside during this time of social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read her first blog here: 5 Easy, Healthy Meals to Make Without Leaving Your Home.
Please read, comment and show your support. You can follow @artgalnee to see more of Niambi’s work! We hope you enjoy it!
How To Start A Self-Care Routine!
Self-care is an activity or practice that is used to maintain or refine one’s own emotional, physical, and mental well being. Having good self-care can reduce stress, negative feelings/thoughts, and make you feel more motivated and confident on a daily basis. It also helps you build a healthy relationship with yourself. It’s been hard adjusting to this new lifestyle with the pandemic going on, but practicing some self-care activities can uplift your attitude during these hard times! There are six categories that fall under self-care: physical, emotional, mental, personal, spiritual and professional. Each type impacts our health in some way:
• Physical self-care means taking care of your body and doing things that make you feel good inside and out. For example, eating healthy, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
• Emotional self-care means allowing yourself to feel emotions and handle them in a healthy productive manner. Focusing on your emotional side can help you better understand them and express them effectively. Activities can be reading daily affirmations, spending time with your loved ones, and doing what you love.
• Mental self-care means taking care of your mental state. Taking out time each day to care for your mental health can include journaling your thoughts, self-reflecting, and drawing or painting. These activities can reduce stress and leave a positive impact on your mood and happiness.
• Personal self-care means learning and discovering who you really are. It’s about having self-love and finding your path. Some things you can start doing is learning more about yourself, trying out new things, setting goals for yourself, and creating vision boards.
• Spiritual self-care is about taking care of your soul. Whether you’re religious or not, connecting to your inner self can make you feel grounded and safe. Some activities you can start doing are meditating, singing or dancing, and spending time in nature.
• Professional self-care means practicing self-care while at work and having a healthy work-life. Some things you can start doing is taking time to talk to your colleagues, building relationships with colleagues, and balancing your workload.
Taking care of your mind, body, and soul can cause a major shift in our life. Self-care is different for everyone, it’s all about finding what works strategies and approaches work best for you to use on a daily basis, and boost your well-being permanently!
Here are some ideas to help you create your own self-care routine!
• Read daily affirmations!
Reading affirmations is a small way to start practicing self-care. Positive affirmations are used to affect the conscious and subconscious mind to release worry, fear, and anxiety from your life. They affect our behavior and shift our thinking patterns from negative to positive. Ultimately, speaking and thinking positively in our lives can make us feel motivated, focused, to attract new people/opportunities into our lives.
Journaling is a great way to clear the mind, explore your feelings, and get to know yourself better. Journaling can provide insight on your emotional health because you can express yourself freely. It also can boost your mood. Another form of journaling is writing gratitude. A gratitude journal represents all the things you are grateful for. Gratitude journals are used to focus on the positive things in life and shift your energy towards your goals. Expressing gratitude for what you already have will attract more good things/opportunities into your life!
My teacher last year had our class write out thankful/gratitude notes to ourselves each morning. She explained how expressing gratitude changed her outlook on her life, and that she genuinely felt more confident and happier. After I started expressing more gratitude, I started to feel more motivated, care-free, and more focused in school.
- Try Out Meditation!
Learning how to meditate can be a little tricky when you don’t know how or where to begin. Essentially, meditation is the ability to train your mind’s attention and awareness by focusing on a particular thought or activity, which leaves a calm and stable mental state. Meditating is an amazing way to better take care of your mental health because it can improve your brain functions and sleep. You can start small by meditating for 5 minutes a day to get adjusted and gradually start to meditate longer each time.
“Practicing mindfulness techniques can help us increase our ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, focus, and reflect without judgment. It is okay to need time away in order to resettle yourself throughout the day.”
Key Message from Practice 9 of the brand new TGP Mental Health Curriculum
- Exercise or Try Yoga!
Regularly exercising is really good for your physical health. Sneaking in some physical activity can increase your energy levels and make you feel accomplished. Yoga is very beneficial to your mental health as well by increasing concentration and attention. It is also great for your physical health by releasing tension throughout your body and increasing flexibility. Setting time aside to take care of your body properly is an important thing to do in your self-care routine and it can lead you to have a long healthy life.
- Pamper Yourself!
Pampering yourself is a way to reward yourself from time to time and focus on YOUR needs. It gives you the opportunity to relax, recharge, and refresh your mind. Activities to pamper yourself can be running a warm bubble bath, doing a facial mask, and indulging in your guilty pleasures! Finding different ways to pamper yourself will make your self-care routine more enjoyable and reduce stress levels.
- Setting Boundaries for Yourself!
This is probably the most important part in creating a self-care routine. Creating healthy boundaries for yourself helps you monitor your behavior and achieve better emotional and mental health. Setting solid boundaries helps you better take care of yourself by knowing and understanding your limits. It teaches you how to be independent and most importantly responsible.
• Doing Self-Care While Working!
Practicing self-care at work can lead to you having increased productivity and a well balanced work-life. You can bring self-care into the workplace by practicing mindfulness to help manage your actions and emotions, taking short breaks to regain your attention, better socialization and customize your work space to inspires you each day!
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned some new tips and tricks for creating a self-care routine!