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Self-care for a Twenty-First Century Woman

For most women, self-care is uncharted territory. We owe this to how women sometimes feel obligated to be caretakers and ‘in the middle’ drawn in different directions. We get so focused on the needs of others - children, spouses, parents, friends - that we push our needs on the back burner, but we must break this psychological barrier.

Importantly, we must realize that caring for ourselves is a way of caring for the people we love and hold dear. After all, you can only give what you have. When we do not care for ourselves fully, we burn out faster, and it gets increasingly difficult to be there for others. This way, everybody loses out.

We are largely caregivers, this is why our self-care is of utmost importance and should be our priority. Unfortunately, many women have the wrong perception of what self-care is. Self-care does not have to be extravagant as it is often made to be. It can be simple as a basic tool of survival. Truthfully, there is no clear-cut way to practice self-care. It encompasses the little things we do to stay mentally stable and physically healthy, to the big and luxurious things, if you can afford it. So I’d be demystifying things a bit and letting you in on the things that self-care is not for a start.

Let me start by ripping the first band-aid clean off; self-care is not expensive—or at least, it doesn’t have to be. Social media has probably painted self-care to us like a day at the spa, getting a full body massage, facials, mani-pedis, and the whole works only. Or probably going to the newest and fanciest restaurant and clinking glasses with someone or simply captioning it “cheers to the good life, YOLO!”. While this can be a form of self-care; you’ll feel good and have a great time, you should know that self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or break the bank; self-care is responsible, and not financially reckless. There is no care for yourself in going broke. So, take it nice and easy and treat yourself to a simple lunch, alone or with friends; it’s up to you. You can also get an affordable bottle of wine and stay in, sipping, watching a movie, or reading a book.

This might sound like rambling on something too good because where on earth will you get the time for all of that? In honesty, self-care doesn’t have to be time-consuming or another point to tick off the already endless list of things that we have to do. It requires a conscious cultivation and practice of certain habits and behaviours, like Affirm, Appreciate, Acknowledge yourself, Breathe!!!, focus on things within your Control, learn healthy Distractions, Eat and Hydrate healthily, use prescribed Medications dedicatedly, practice Mindfulness, Meditate often, Prioritize the chores & tasks on your ever-growing to-do list, be conversant with Relaxation exercises, create your Safe-spaces, make a big deal about night-time Sleep, Socialize with like minds who Support you, and if you are of faith Supplicate always! This is my tested and trusted ABC guide that makes up my selfish and amazing Self-care package.

Remember to feel free to let your hair down from time to time. Extend a lot of love, kind consideration, empathy, and compassion to yourself always because at the end of the day you are stuck with that mind and body for the rest of your life. Be gentle, accepting, and sweet when talking to or thinking about yourself. Above all, ensure that you ‘do you as you navigate life. After all, self-care involves you caring for yourself, by yourself.

So, on this remarkable day for the celebration of women internationally, Dear Woman: “You are doing a fine job! It isn’t always easy and you may not always have the support you need but this in no way means that you aren’t allowed to catch a break as often as you can. You owe it to yourself; you are deserving of a nice, soft, and easy life, despite navigating this chaos-filled one we are in. Do not ever let anyone convince you otherwise!”

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