Weeks ago, a meme floated down my Instagram feed: “Self-care is how you take your power back”. I’d seen it before, but in that moment, it stopped me in my tracks. The week had been draining. Uncertainty about my career, future and life in general had finally reached a boiling point. Being the ultimate optimist, I’d normally let these feelings brew no longer than a day or so before dismissing them. This time around, lack of rest and the refusal to stop and take inventory of these emotions exacerbated them. I was no stranger to self-care. When life’s peaks hadn’t come fast enough for my liking, self-care made the valley endurable. Bearable for the lessons and promise of the inevitable light at the end of the tunnel. Self-care had become a trending topic on nearly every podcast, publication and social media platform I tuned into. I wondered if it’s importance would get lost in the midst of this popularity. Would it be a topic or hashtag we’d ride for a few months, only to discard when it was no longer “the wave”? Nonetheless, it was beyond time I indulged in more of it, if for no other reason than maintaining my sanity.
I refocused on the smaller things. I’d drink a gallon of water daily (preferably lime-infused). I transitioned to more of a plant-based diet. It gave me energy and mental clarity. Music has always been my sanctuary. I discovered new musical artists, revisited old artists and thanked the universe that I was alive to experience them at their zeniths. I read dust-covered books from my mini-library and silently berated myself for not doing so earlier, for there was wisdom within that might have saved me from a litany of heartache. Though sixty per cent of this journey was spent in solitude, I never missed an opportunity to catch up with old friends over cocktails. It was there I remembered why relationships void of pressure and judgment were better than any therapy received on anyone’s couch.
I removed any semblance of toxicity from my life. This included people who had been a part of it for years. Their time spent may have been good, epic even, but it didn’t mean that they could stay if they didn’t contribute to my well-being. I watched tons of television from several genres. Genres that some would describe as “trash television”. You may say “no” to ratchet television. Jeché can’t. I’ve learned that I need a viewpoint from every spectrum to remain relatable. Besides, I replenish my brain cells daily with loads of high-brow content. Still, we all benefit from balance. Meditation also became a priority. I’d do it for thirty minutes after I woke in the mornings. It has since made all the difference in my day.
It’s current popularity notwithstanding, self-care is not a cliché. It’s an ongoing survival mechanism. It’s out here saving lives. If you’re in turmoil and haven’t found peace within, what will you inflict upon others? What we do for self is far more important than what we do for others. Before you read that statement as “selfish”, consider the impact that broken people have had on your life and ask yourself if you’d want to be that type of person to someone else. Self-care has reaffirmed my power. Thoughts are precursors to actions. Positive thoughts with my self-interest at the forefront have liberated me. That liberation is my power. Had I not paused to let those good thoughts manifest themselves, my impending train wreck would’ve flourished. Ultimately, self-care has meant learning to deal with what’s in front of me. So many of my burdens have been centered around regrets. Though challenging, I’ve started to focus less on the past, more on the future. I’ve made peace with knowing I can’t guarantee the latter and with the realization that I don’t have it all together. Never will. It’s most gratifying to know that constant self-care will have properly prepared me to maximize the moment when I’m as close as I’ll ever get.