Sometimes awful situations lead us to great things.
Please set your triggers to the side and read this post with an open mind and heart. I’m going to talk about a rough phase in my life that I am still healing from till this day. I will spare the details for maybe a future blog post(s), but for now I just want to share when self-care became a vital part in my life and how it got me out of the dark place I was in for so long.
It was my first year being a mom. A time I expected to be one of the happiest and joyful times in my life, but instead was filled with stress, anxiety, anger, and pain. A lot of pain. The following 3-4 years weren’t much different. In fact, it got worse. I will sum it up by saying one thing… I was suffering from abuse in many forms by a loved one. At the same time dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety. I was forced into a very dark place, and I had no idea what was happening. Life just passed me by. I was always so sad and hurt that I couldn’t enjoy my new baby or motherhood. I viewed myself in such a negative way it was heart shattering. I didn’t believe I was worthy enough of anything. I literally thought I looked “disgusting” with the extra baby weight and stretch marks. I would speak to myself so harshly when I made simple human mistakes. A lot of this was just me repeating what has been said to me so much that I started to identify as it.
I am so thankful to my doctor for noticing signs of postpartum depression from me because she was the one who referred me to this awesome therapist. Unfortunately, I withheld the part of spousal abuse when I spoke with her every week. Again, I identified with the things he was saying to me, so it was easy to claim them as my own words. So, she had no idea what I was going through and thinking back now I regret not telling her because she probably could’ve helped me more. However, during one of our sessions she asked me, “What are you doing for self-care?” I literally had to ask her what exactly falls under self-care because I cannot remember the last time I did something for myself besides taking a quick 10 minute shower, especially as a new mom. (btw a shower is a basic life necessity, not your self-care for the day!) I had no time, energy, or desire to do anything for myself after finishing all my mom and wife duties. But she goes on to say, “you cannot keep running on E. You have to fill your tank up too so that you can be the best mom and wife.” So I say, “Okay, I get that. But how do I even fit doing things for myself with my busy schedule? I don’t even see it being worth my time or effort.”
That’s where the problem was. I didn’t see self-care as being worth the time and effort which truly meant I didn’t see myself as important enough to care for. I didn’t value my needs and wants. I didn’t see the importance of my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellness. I needed to completely shift this mindset I had about myself because it was so damaging and extremely limiting. This kind of thinking kept me in this dark bubble. A dark comfy bubble. It didn’t allow me to grow or to even be mindful enough to see the signs my body was giving me. This kind of mindset kept me numb and going through each day looking forward to bedtime.
After talking more with my therapist, I realize I’m going to have to do some real work if I want a change in my life and to find the joy in things again. The first step was incorporating different forms of self-care into my life at least 1-2 times per week. This came in the form of journaling, yoga, doing my makeup, skin care, coffee outdoors, walks by the water, taking care of my natural hair, writing, and some other things I cannot remember right now. It was over the course of several years that I started these self-care habits so don’t think I began doing all of these things the next day. Journaling is the very first thing I started doing. I have always loved to write so this one was kind of easy for me to start. If you don’t make it easy or fun, you won’t be motivated at all to do it. Makeup was tough because I was limited on time, but it was something I really enjoyed doing before I became a mom so I would try to do my makeup whenever I could. Then I ran into skin care issues from wearing the makeup so naturally I transitioned to skin care and clean beauty products as a part of my self-care. I chose Sundays as my mini spa day where I would do hair and face masks (usually DIY from Pinterest) and eventually started painting my nails as well.
I just found things to do that brought me happiness, even if it was super small. I felt really good after doing my morning skin routine and going through the week with my nails painted. The more I noticed positive results from doing these self-care tasks, the more I wanted to do them. Whether it was feelings of happiness and being proud that I checked off self-care from my to-do list or seeing physical results from doing the yoga, walking and exercising and even my clear skin, I wanted to keep doing it. It made me feel good about my appearance, yes, but it made me feel so damn good inside at the same time. I felt worthy again. Like I deserve so much better. Self-care gave me a new perspective on life. It helped me crawl out of the depression hole and appreciate and love myself from the inside out, no matter what outside influences say. It made me realize how poorly I have been treating myself, how much I have been suffering and how much I have been suppressing my emotions as well. I was no longer numb to life.
If you related to anything I said, even if it was just one statement. I urge you to start taking self-care more seriously. Do things for you unapologetically with no regrets. Love all of you and pour into yourself consistently so that you can continue to pour into everyone around you. Self-care is defined by how you want to define it. My definition is taking care of all of you in every way necessary because you matter so damn much. Regardless of what, your presence in this world matters and you are here for a purpose!!
Continue to follow this blog for all things self-care, self-love and mental wellness.
Now go be great,