Summer of Self-Care, Vol 1

While looking through my old notes on my phone, I found many many lists. List of things that I planned to do and was gonna force myself to do, and somehow by making it a neat vertical list it will help me do it. I guess it’s not always like that. One of the lists I found was at around this time last summer, when I was in desperate need of a change in self-care. I now realize I still do, so I’m gonna take that little list and expand it a bit for all of you too see. This is mostly a list of reminders specifically for myself, but I feel like anyone can take from them and make them their own. So here’s to the summer of self-love and safe-care. 

1. Meditation

 

Last summer I was on a roll when it came to clearing my mind. I got a nifty little app called Stop Breathe and Think which helped me a lot. I’m the kind of person where it’s impossible for me to make my mind empty. This app helped tremendously because it kept me on track to thinking about nothing. The best advice I can give about meditation from the short experience I had, is don’t try and push away the thoughts coming into your mind when you’re trying to clear it. Instead, the way to do it is to let the thoughts enter your mind, and the allow them to simply float away and fade out into nothingness. A lot of people think meditation is not for them and that it won’t help them, but trust me, those are the same people who need it most. So to all those over thinkers (including myself), here is the challenge: start off with 5 minutes a day with clearing your head. I usually try to do it at the beginning or at the end of the day. If you miss a few days, it’s fine. But eventually try and work your way up to 5 minutes a day, and then eventually your end goal is 20 minutes a day (or more if you have the time and need!). My favorite place to do it is outside, usually on my porch or in a park. It can be loud too! Outside noises are good, the background noise helps you concentrate on emptying your head. 

2. Healthy Eating

 

This one is painfully tough, especially because I am a sucker for Taco Bell and have the worst sweet tooth. But I figured out an easy way to start with; water. For the last 8 months or so I’ve almost completely cut out any pop and sweet drinks. The only thing I allow myself is a small cup of OJ in the mornings wiht my breakfast. Other than that, I’ve put myself on a strictly H2O diet, and who knows how much good its doing, but I definitely feel healthier and just more energized. Additionally to this, it’s so important to replace the junky food with healthier snacks whenever you feel like you’re craving something. I have an equally as intense love for fruit as I do for cake, soooo it’s a pretty good trade off. 

3. Love Thy Body

This is a big one. It’s also the one nobody really wants to talk about. It’s summer so that means shorts, bikinis, sundresses and the annoying social expectation that goes with these; shaving. First off, I think I’ve officially become terrible at shaving, because I do it so little. i always mess it up, and it never looks perfect. So there’s honestly no point in forcing myself to take the extra time to slave away in the shower trying to get every last hair. There’s always the little voice in my mind shaming myself for not having perfectly smooth legs, but I always try to remind myself that I’m not meant to think this way, it’s only how society wants me to think. And there’s honestly no need for me to go through that kind of trouble unless I absolutely want to do it for myself. Along with this, I’m definitely trying to love my body overall, from my frizzy annoying hair in the sweltering heat, to my not so firm muscles. As far as working out goes, I’ll be proud of myself if I do my favorite pilate routine once or twice a week, go on a run, and bike around Cleveland until my legs feel numb. But overall, I’m feeling happy about my body, and as long as I keep giving it energy and love, I’m good to go. 

4. Stay Organized

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This is a new one I added, but have always cherished. I recently went to Target and for my birthday I splurged on a colorful full-calendar planner, and I can honestly say, it lifted my endorphines up just a bit. I never knew I would have to keep a calendar for a summer, but it looks like this is what an adult feels like. Even if all you have going on in the summer is a summer job or internship, go ahead and invest in a journal or planner, or at least mark things down in your google calendar. I always find it calming to jot things down so i know they’re coming up.

5. Step Back

Summer comes with it’s own stresses and hardships. The heat is here and everything seems a little more irritating at times. It’s also that perfect time of year when everyone seems to fall into an existential crisis, wondering what they need to do with all their free time before the future swallows them whole. The way I counteract these feelings, is by stepping back and simply giving time for myself, in various ways.

  • –Journaling. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I truly believe that there are fewer things that are more soothing to the soul than reflecting on each day and each moment. I’m definitely the kind of person who has an inner monologue in my head, whenever I’m doing anything or about to do something. Writing things down noting down things always makes me feel grounded and aware of each day. This is a simple thing, but any type of journaling, whether it’s photo journaling, keeping a diary, updating your blog or even updating your instagram, can make you feel more connected with each day.  (I’m going to try and amp up my paper journaling this summer, with the works, including scrapbooking and colorful doodles, so maybe i’ll post some pictures when I get those done!) 
  • Reading. If you have a summer “treat-yo-self” list, make sure you have a couple books ready to go whenever you’re off to the beach or what a relaxing coffee date with yourself. Books are amazing, and if you don’t think so, you need to find a book that you absolutely cannot put it down and let it take you over. I’ll be reading a series of books, both fiction and non fiction this summer, and i’ll hopefully have some reviews up soon if anybody’s interested. I’m currently reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn (fic) and We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler
  • --Music. Whether it’s in the form of lying in your bed wiht your headphones in, or going to concerts, music always continues to be the best reliever. I can’t say how many songs, albums and artists have changed my perspectives and let me live through my emotions. I’ll be posting songs and playlists all this summer, so check them out!

I hope this list helps to those who need it. Self love is something that everyone should strive to achieve, no matter what forces are giving them the opposite impression. We are told time and time again that we are not give enough and that we need to not be so sensitive. But these are the same people who are putting us in boxes and telling us we need to be a certain way in order to be loved. But in reality, we deserve to be loved for who we are and who we were born to be. Happy summer and happy summer lovin’ guys! 

AC