Before I jump right into it, I want to say THANK YOU for visiting this here blog post, where the Bliss Bean March of Self Care all began, and I want to provide you with the links to the rest of the blog posts in this series. Enjoy! :)
13 Ways to Show Yourself Love (Self Care Ideas)
1: you're reading it!
2: 50 MORE Self Care Ideas for Total Wellness
3: 23 Resources (Books, Websites, Videos & more) to Continue your Self Care Revolution
Growing up a perfectionist
I definitely have a perfectionist, workaholic type personality. Even since I was a little kid, I couldn’t do anything halfway. In 5th grade I remember spending hours using tutorials to draw a bunch of Valentine’s day characters on a paper bag, making little openable doors, drawing teeny tiny details behind them - all to win the a class decorating contest. Or in that same grade, when for a book report project I decided to take on creating a whole newspaper about the book I’d read, and then staying up until midnight the night before to finish it (okay, I was also a bit of a procrastinator then, but you get the idea). The impressed reactions of my teachers each time would only add fuel to the fire. I always wanted to do more.
It worked fine when I was in elementary school, but backfired once I hit middle school and realized I didn’t actually have the time to do everything at 100%. I kind of broke down in the winter of that year. When I was at school, I would feel fine. Surrounded by my friends and kept busy with whatever we were working on in class, everything seemed okay. But at home, it was a different story. For weeks, I cried and cried and felt like I couldn’t control my thoughts. My weakened immune system caught colds and stomach bugs. I was just sad. My parents made me drop some of the things that were on my plate and I got through it eventually.
I’m definitely not saying I was able to drop my perfectionism. I kept working hard through middle school, and then into high school. And while I never again found myself in that hopeless feeling, I still experienced a lot of stress. 8th grade especially was really overwhelming. At my middle school, expectations in 8th grade were for some reason extremely high, and teachers gave a lot of extra credit. They didn’t actually expect any students to do all of it, but that year there happened to be a lot of type A students like me. After our class left, they had to re-evaluate how they offered extra credit.
After that rough year, freshman year was almost too easy. I hit a different kind of wall. Now I found myself feeling guilty that I wasn’t challenged enough. I didn’t give myself space to just “be a freshman” and felt that I should be excelling right away.
Learning how to take care of myself
I would say that where I am right now, as a junior, is the best I’ve ever been in life. I’m kindest to myself while also achieving the most. Which proves that you don’t need to pick and choose between happiness and success.
A lot of things changed for the better these past few years. In high school is when I sorted out my eating patterns, learned to love exercising, gave myself permission to not take challenging classes in subjects I didn’t like, and pursued my own passions.
And all of that comes down to self-care. I’m not saying that I’ve got everything figured out. Gosh, at the end of the day, I’m still me. I feel guilty when I’m being unproductive, I feel the need to get a 4.0 GPA, and I never want people to be disappointed in me. But I don’t know if you truly ever overcome all of that… maybe only after many many years of living. But what matters is that I’m fighting it bit by bit. I’ve created morning and bedtime routines that ground me, I meditate every day to quiet my mind, my journal has become a safe haven, and I’ve learned how much spending time with my family and friends refreshes me.
I’ve gotten to know myself - what makes me tick and what shuts me down. And I’ve been able to set boundaries based on that. An example: I do not eat and work at the same time. I don’t focus on my work and I don’t focus on the food. I end up doing both things at 20% and feeling crappy. So even if people around me are doing that, I will take a little break to finish eating before I return to working.
The 28-day self care revolution
So with all that I have learned, all of the progress that I have made, and all that I still have left, I have decided to dedicate this coming month of March to SELF-CARE.
I’ve come up with a 28-day self care challenge to do this. Each day, there’s a little self-care task like “go on a walk” or “create a morning routine”. There are 7 categories that I divided the tasks up into.
Mental: Nurturing curiosity and encouraging mental clarity and productivity.
Social: Nurturing relationships with other people.
Adventure: Bringing excitement and safe risk-taking into our lives.
Environment: Intentionally creating an environment that is conducive to happiness.
Spiritual: Encouraging mindfulness and creating a feeling of wholeness.
Physical: Taking care of the physical body through movement, sleep, nutrition, etc.
Emotional: Tending to and being accepting of stress and other negative emotions, and doing activities that bring joy and relaxation.
Honestly, the idea of adding a self-care task to every one of my days for a full twenty-eight days scares me. But, “if it scares you, it might be a good thing to try” (Seth Godin). If you’re living a very fast-paced life and hustling hard, this might seem like a CRAZY idea. Which is exactly why we should do it!! Imagine that - a little bit of time set aside every day to do something that will take care of YOU.
So join me in this challenge. Commit to it by commenting on this blog post. Tell me why you want to practice more self-care. Put it on your story and retweet it to share the self-care love. Share it with a friend to commit yourself! Your self-care revolution begins on March 1st.
Much love, friends.