SELF-CARE AIN'T SELFISH
** THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY DEMUR.CO IN THE GAB'S AFRO MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK ON THE 7TH JULY 2019
To you readers that make sure my column keeps coming back: I appreciate you!!
This article is of course about self-care, by self-care I mean, taking time for yourself, and therefore allowing yourself to be the centre of your world for what can be 10 minutes a day or an hour every day. And that excludes necessity time that you have to dedicate to your curls because we all know that requires effort and precision in order not to look like a busted mess.
In Black culture, we are led to believe that time spent dealing with our feelings and emotions is time wasted, I say NO to that, mainly because self-care to me means lighting up some candles, slapping on a facemask and turning the music up as loud as possible. What does that do to me? It regenerates me, it recharges me from people’s requests and prevents me from burning out. Some of you will use sage and cleanse the room from negative energies and have your own ways, that’s as good as my own routine.
In a way, we think self-care should be at the bottom of our list as it is a first world problem (which is true, it is a first world problem) but we have to remember that so many things come in between what we want, that’s why we need to refuel ourselves in order to keep fighting to reach our goals. In today’s society we are somewhat expected to always be beautiful, understanding, never to be too aggressive towards others and perfectly woke, now all these attributes are very difficult to maintain when you can barely give five minutes of time to yourself. Something that no one teaches us is that self-care is an act of love towards ourselves, the moment you dedicate more time to your own feelings the easier it becomes to acknowledge others needs.
Personally speaking, I thought for 20+ years that others should come first and kept giving and giving until I had nothing left. Sometimes we crash and burn and this is due to our generosity and because we are lead to misuse two terms that are complementary to each other and not polar opposites. You need to learn how to be selfish in order to practice self-care which will lead to greater self-love. Selfish is who does not allow others to take care of themselves first.
So, apply that face mask on that you bought three months ago and is now collecting dust on your shelf, run a bath and fill it with essential oils, grab that book that you have only read halfway. Lay down and enjoy that time you are gifting yourself because the little things can have a massive impact on your mental health and that is something you should not take for granted.
Take care of you babe.