A few months ago it was made apparent to me that I don’t pamper and encourage myself the way I do others. I was scratching my arm from one of the many mosquito bites I suffered when my mom said, “Neha, you are grating you skin!” A day later I was combing my hair and my boyfriend exclaimed, “Why are you brushing so hard, you’ll go bald! I paused. I never noticed this roughness.
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Although I will argue that I do take decent care of my physical fitness and eat pretty healthy, I was indeed harsh to myself. I started to notice even the way I washed my face and brushed my teeth. Rough! What was most interesting was that this roughness mirrored my self-talk.
I started to make a conscious effort to be gentler in my actions towards my self-care. I smiled and used delicate gestures as I applied lotion or washed my face and pressed gently as I brushed. In a few weeks time, these small actions had an extended effect. They made me think nicer thoughts about myself. I took it a step further and stopped holding my bladder and waiting until I was too hungry to get up from work.
Over the past few months I have observed how much negative self-talk has been dissolved and replaced with more self-encouragement and a new found freedom to think and express myself without self-judgment. With less negativity in my thoughts and in my actions, I feel happier and less overwhelmed. Its constant validation. I’m also learning that this self-care is what allows me the ability to push myself toward my goals in a sustainable manner. By putting myself first, I’ve reduced mini-breakdowns, complete mental and physical exhaustion and I’ve been much more in touch with my emotions.
If you recognize that you are a little rough on yourself, it’s important to make effort to put aside time for what I like to call ‘pampering minutes’. There is a difference between self-care and self-love.
Here are a few small things that you can do for better self-care:
- Self-oil massage
- Regular pedicures
- Cooking a nice meal for myself and plating it beautifully
- Practicing Yoga
- Foam rolling to release tensions from sore muscles
- Spending a few extra minutes on my hair in the morning
- Wearing sunscreen daily