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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Soulful Sundays: Self-Care is the New Black

Soulful Sundays: Self-Care is the New Black

I know you probably hear the word “self-care” thrown around a lot and when you are a busy woman, finding time for self-care probably sounds as realistic as winning the lottery, it just ain’t gonna happen. As a life coach, I cannot stress enough the importance of finding time for yourself, even if it’s as little time as 15 minutes. One of my favorite quotes is ” you cannot pour from an empty cup,” because it is so true. 

You simply cannot give other people what you don’t have, and yet, we still try to. We still try to tend to everyone else’s needs and make sure that everyone else is ok, even if it is at the expense of our own health and wellbeing.

As black women, we are generally the glue that holds the family together. We are often times the care givers, the providers, and the protectors.  Most days it feels like nothing gets done unless we do it ourselves. We were raised from birth to put others first so it seems and feels almost unnatural to put yourself at the top of your priority list.

Even from a young age, while our fairer skinned counterparts were off playing with dolls and pretending to be fairy princesses, we were more often than not caring for our younger siblings or aging grandparents. We didn't always have the luxury of being able to be just a kid. Our childhood was rushed as there were things to do and mouths to feed and everyone had to pitch in and do their part.

We tend to get jobs earlier in life so that it took some of the burdens off of our parents and also so that we could have not just the things that we needed but to also enjoy some of the things that we wanted, but with that, it left little free time in between school work and actual work to prop your feet up and pamper yourself.

I believe that our parents did the best that they could with what little time and resources they had available, but the example we more often than not from our mothers was a woman who was tired from working her fingers to the bone to provide a roof over our heads and to put food on the table.

I honestly cannot really recall my mother taking time for herself or doing fun things for herself and so somewhere it was imprinted in my brain at an early age that I either didn't need or didn't deserve a break. 

I learned early on that fun thing could be done when all the work was done, but that was the gag because the work was NEVER done. There was always something that needed to be done or someone who needed something and as the girl child and eventually as the woman in the house, it was my duty to take care of those needs.

I didn't realize until much later in life that I did deserve time for myself, even if it was just spent doing nothing. I did deserve to have things that were just for me. Things that I didn't have to share. Things that were not hand me downs or things that were gifted to me, not that there is anything wrong with those things, but I had to retain my brain to realize that I mattered, and my needs mattered just as much as anyone else's. Now I am able to share this message with others.

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I honestly believe that most people do not subscribe to the theory of self-care because they think that it  has to be indulgent and expensive. Now don't get me wrong, it can be, it just doesn’t have to be. 

There are a ton of things that you can do to show yourself a little love but if your time and budget allows, by all means, do it BIG!

Self-care can be taking a much needed vacation or it can be taking a much needed nap. It can be sipping an expensive wine or savoring your favorite two buck chuck. It can be eating healthy and hitting the gym for an hour a day or it can be binge watching your favorite tv shows over a big greasy plate of nachos.

I personally am a HUGE fan of a two minute dance party. I can do it anywhere and it doesn't cost me a thing. Dancing a little jig brings me so much joy. My style of dance varies based on my mood and on the music I am listening to.

Sometimes I pretend I am on dancing with the stars and I am doing my final dance before claiming the coveted glimmering mirror ball trophy. Other times I am auditioning for a spot on the 2017 twerk team. Either way, when my two minute dance party is over, I am stress free and smiling from ear to ear. Granted, I may look a little crazy to anyone on the outside looking in but hey, that's their problem not mine.

Whatever it is, it just has to be something that brings you joy and restores your peace and sanity. It is that thing that you do that makes the world seem a little less stressful and a lot more manageable. It is your reward for a job well done.   

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In my private Facebook group, “Live Your Dreams In 2017,I have theme days and I have a day set aside for self-care. Self-care Sunday’s is our time to share with the group what you’ve done to take care of you. 

I feel like being part of a group that promotes taking care of you and seeing how other women take care of themselves makes you a little more likely to make room in your busy schedule to take care of you too.

I think when other women are doing it as well, it begins to feel a little less selfish and starts to become a little more normal. I want self-care to become the new normal. I want every woman to see it as her birth right to enjoy her life and to be a little selfish with her time, attention and resources. 

You owe it to yourself to be the best you that you can be but you will never feel like you are your best self if you are constantly putting others before you and you are burning the candle at both ends.

Do yourself and your family a favor and do you!

Ciao For Now,

Leressa Joiner

Owner/Life Coach

Soulful Sundays
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Photo Reference:
Venessa Steinmetz

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