Right now, self care means taking time to yourself to take inventory of what you personally need, to best function in your own life and to be a beneficial factor in the lives of others. But I haven’t always felt that way. Growing up, the idea of self care was as foreign as an undiscovered land. I was always in ‘go’ mode, and was conditioned to fill my schedule with something at all times. Otherwise I’d feel unproductive or like I was slacking off. I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed, although no one else around me enforced this self-inflicted sentence. Part of it was my academic surroundings; my high school and college were both places where overachievers thrived. Once I left college and entered the real world, I realized I didn’t have the rigid structure of school to fall back on. I learned quickly how much I needed to build in time to relax, and make sure my spirit was fulfilled and whole. Otherwise, there was no way I’d be able to truly be successful… and more importantly… HAPPY in my day to day life.
I hear people talk a lot about self care. But the people I admire most have one thing in common: they lead by example. It’s one thing to talk-the-talk, but at the end of the day are you living in a way that you also hope for your loved ones and community? One thing I believe we can all to advocate self-care, is to integrate it into our own daily practices. There is so much power in “being the change” and it starts at home and in our communities. Make an intentional choice to integrate even just the smallest elements of self-care and you’ll be surprised by all those around you that 1) notice, and 2) join you. This is honestly how my journey of self-care started; people I respected around me were loving and treating themselves in a way that I had never seen. And I decided I wanted that too. It’s a work in progress but once you get started, you’ve already won.
I definitely used think that self-care was costly in terms of time and money. But I’ve learned that it’s even more costly to operate without taking time to yourself, for yourself, by yourself. For me, my faith in God is #1 and if don’t take the time to at the very least, thank Him for a new day, then I’m not starting off on the right foot. It costs me absolutely nothing to start my day with gratitude, but it costs everything to go about my day without it.
Self-care is you telling yourself you are worthy. Worthy of time, space, nice things, gifting yourself, a bubble bath, a hike, a social media hiatus, a trip to the movies by yourself…whatever you want! But at the end of the day, its the things that cost absolutely nothing that hold the most value. So if you are balling on a budget (like I am often times!), just know you absolutely do not have to break the bank to show yourself some good ol’ TLC!
My personal self care routine is as follows:
PRAY & SLAY: I wake up and I pray. I thank God for my life, the people in it, and for the divine and unique way he has ordered for my journey to unfold.
EXERCISE: As a trainer, I am working out anywhere from 1-4 hours a day, 6 days/week. So it is essential to nourish myself properly which trust me, has been a long journey of trial and error! I am still figuring that part out but I am now in a place where I realize that is of the most importance and have been making steps to treat my body well both internally and externally.
NAPS: Naps are my favorite.
REMINDERS: I use the Reminders app on my phone to remind me not necessarily about tasks I need to complete, but ways I want to feel. Currently my main reminders “God has you, trust him”, “You got this”, & “Make sh*t happen if you really want it to happen”. I set them for random times of the day, multiple times of day, and they always seem to pop up right on time.
DANCE(or whatever it is that you are passionate about): Dance is my passion and is one of those things that I have always been able to depend on. However as a dancer in the commercial industry, it can be easy to lose sight of why you are here or be discouraged by the countless “No’s” you receive along the way. So taking the time to dance for myself whether that be in a class where the stakes are low, at home in my room, or at dive bar that plays my favorite Motown music (ask me where!), it is sooo extremely important for me to maintain the love I have for it and remind myself why I’ve chosen this path…or better yet, why this path has chosen me.
RESPECT YOUR SPACE: I enjoy cleaning and keeping my apartment and car in order so that my mental space can also be clear of clutter. When my space is a chaotic state, it is hard for me to stay grounded and focused.
SET BOUNDARIES: Sometimes I need my own space and do not want to feel accountable to others for a moment. It’s okay to put your phone on do not disturb or to take a break from instagram every now and then.
TALK TO THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE: I talk to my mom at least twice a day. She just gets me 🙂
I remind myself that I matter, by reminding myself of all the times God has brought me through something and has shown me that not only does everything works out in the end…but it works out far greater than I could have ever imagined. “Success leaves clues” — and I believe that our path to happiness and joy can be seen in hindsight through the steps you’ve taken to get the point you are at today. To better understand this blueprint that my life has already begun to follow, I journal daily and I often will flip through old journals and quickly be reminded of how far I’ve come.
I spread the message of self care by keeping it real with people. Those closest to me have seen me at my best and my worst. I want my life to be a testimony to what can happen when you walk by faith and just simply trust your journey. In leading my example in my own life, I think the message I communicate is that anything you want or seek out of life, is not going to happen overnight. But what you do to love and care for yourself daily matters in the end! Your journey may not look like anyone else’s and that is okay! Just keep on keeping on, follow your heart, and be kind to yourself; the rest will work itself out.
*Rachel Autumn is a professional dancer, fitness trainer, and model in the Los Angeles area. Currently she is a trainer with Tracy Anderson Method and Novo Body Fitness.