Hey listen, Hunny. You may be tired of hearing it, but I can’t stress it enough. Mainly, because I’ve already spent an extraordinary amount of time in life stressing too much.

There is power in discerning which warnings to ignore, so I’m not going to list all the consequences of being a worry case. Let me tell you though, the struggle is real. As a consummate ‘overthinker’, I can testify, bear witness, and preach the word all the way up to the steeple about the effects stress has on our health, our ability to function, and sadly our relationships (or lack thereof).

I’m not afraid to admit that I personally let anxiety and fear turn 2015 into a soul-sucking pain pit of shame. And 2016, well… we all know how that went. If you approached it like I did, you may also be feeling like 2016 had it’s way with you unaided by lubrication. So here we are in 2017 and once again, by all evidence, it seems as though there are intentional forces threatening to suck out every remnant of joy.  So what do we do when the newsfeed and Tweets have popped our happy bubble and the news (real or fake) is driving our emotional rickshaw to hell?

Liberal applications of self-care, of course (regardless of your political affiliation).

Yes, it’s selfish. Yes, it’s all about you. Yes, people will think you are rejecting their needs when you put yours first. Guess what, these are the people who will continue to sieve out your strength because their only concern is that you stay on their agenda.

Those that truly support you also understand that you are no good to anyone unless you are good to yourself. So before you start ticking off your checklist and mentally confirming the validity of your method of maintenance. I should be clear and let you know that I’m not necessarily talking about pedicures and eyebrow waxing.

The other caveat is that really good self-care is evidenced by the fact that not only does it fuel your energy to be there for others, it won’t result in self-sabotage.

For instance, retail therapy can feel really good until the credit card bills arrive. Quarts of ice cream are amazing, right up until you’re stepping on a scale or clamoring for deep breaths on your way up a flight of stairs.

The other thing about effective self-care is that it helps you to raise your deserve level in relationships. Those of you who are following along, know that I talk a lot about the romantic ‘deserve level’ and how we attract what we think we deserve. So how does self-care help with that?

For one thing, learning new things and growing your brain is very self-loving and will likely have you attracting others who do the same.

I read some classics and all of the sudden I’m conversing with someone who can discuss literature that was conceived before the internet, without Googling it. We bond over our shared cultural prowess. BOOM. We’re only a few years away from an NYPL (the public library in NY is gorgeous btw) wedding and Bryant Park reception. 

The last thing about good self-care is that it truly doesn’t have to cost anything. Sure it’s great to go get a massage, have a pre-pedi foot soak, or diamonds scrubbed all over your punim until your wrinkles swell out in frustration. However, really good self-care doesn’t require deep pockets or deep wrinkles to be effective.

So, you may say, “If shopping, primping, and eating well doesn’t mean good self-care, then I have no idea what does.”

Well besides making sure you fulfill your basic needs, like plenty of sleep, nutrition, and peace… I made a list of some things you can do to re-center yourself, relieve stress, and live to give again.

  • Listen to your body. Even though we’ve only got one mouth, all of our parts speak. Whether it’s through pain, tightness, tingling, etc. every tissue has the ability to communicate on it’s own behalf. Rather than quickly medicate, take a moment to let your body communicate.
  • Forgive yourself & others. I’ve talked about this one so much we should all be our own personal Mother Teresa by now. But if you’re like me, you know that forgiveness is a constant and evolving practice. Especially when you’re a perfectionist or surrounded by people who f*ck up a lot. Let’s face it, most of us are. (See what I did there?)
  • Match your words and actions. This one’s simple. If you say it, do it. If you can’t do it, say it. If you said you were going to do it and then didn’t do it, acknowledge the fact that you let somebody down and clean it up.
  • Be authentic. This one kinda ties in with the last one. Don’t say it unless you mean it or wanna do it. Let people know exactly where you’re at and take responsibility for your own feelings. Pretending you feel one way while you really feel another is just self-punishment. Plus, people won’t feel like they can trust you, even when they’re not sure why.
  • Forego perfection. It doesn’t exist. Except within the constraints of ‘imperfection’. In other words, however-things-are is perfect for their purpose. Confusing? Call me, we’ll talk about it.
  • Value kindness. Kindness, unlike diamonds, is actually rare currency. When we trade kindness with other people it not only relieves stress it creates a sense of safety, which is the opposite of stress.
  • Be strong in your vulnerability. It sounds like an oxymoron. ‘Vulnerable strength’. However, you will never be more strong than when you allow yourself share who you really are. The sheer bravery it takes to expose our soft underbellies can break the bonds of guardedness that we use to keep intimacy at bay. Don’t worry about people that are turned off by it. They’re not your people.
  • Value your solitude. It’s where your intuition speaks to you. It’s where you can mend yourself. It’s where you can get quiet enough to decide if you want to invite someone in. Use it for a meditation (don’t be limited by this word, it doesn’t only mean sitting on the floor chanting “om”. It could also be building something or painting, etc.)
  • Be purposeful. Discover your intentions for everything you do. Envision results. Dream big huge outrageous results. Give yourself a reason to be. Don’t wait for permission.
  • Grow yourself into the love of your life. Embody everything you would like to have in another person.
  • Believe that you deserve. There’s no better way to take care of yourself than to develop beliefs that support your value. You are exactly as worthy as you think you are.

Lastly, for those of you who like a little more of a tangible go-to guide. Here are some action steps you can take that will immediately boost your self-care regimen, without all that pesky mindset stuff.

  • Drink lots of water.
  • Move your body. I prefer yoga because its challenges are a metaphor for life. If you can do it long enough for ‘downward dog’ to feel like a rest position, you can definitely overcome emotional difficulty.
  • Make sex with or without a partner a daily part of your life.
  • Believe in magic. No, not Chris Angel ‘Mindfreak’ or David Blaine. Just the miracles that can happen when we let go of control.

Ultimately, we’re only as valuable as the contributions we make to the world, but it’s the contributions we make to ourselves that keep us capable of giving outwardly and affecting a flow of abundance in our lives.

Tired of settling for less than you deserve? Join The Quality Love Club and be a part of the self-care conversation.

If you like this, share it with your friends. Everyone needs a little self-care in their life, especially the tough girls.