Tag Archives: radical self-love

Radical Self-Love: Personal self-care plans

Self-care sounds like such a simple concept, doesn’t it? Not terribly radical at all. But in a society that rewards overtime and discourages vacations, self-care easily falls by the wayside for so many. We’re often so focused on things we need to do for work, for school, for family that we forget about ourselves. I think that taking the time to step away from outside obligations to do something solely for your own good is pretty damn radical these days.

Self-care is talked about quite a bit within social justice communities. As Lauryn Hill once sang, “How you gonna win if you ain’t right within?” So true. How can we do the difficult work of community building, organizing, dismantling systems of oppression if we’re run down, exhausted both mentally and physically? It’s hard to extend compassion to your fellow humans if you can’t even extend it to yourself.

When I talk about self-care, I don’t necessarily mean pampering or self-indulgence, though those things can be wonderful self-soothing techniques and can function as temporary self-care acts. But to truly practice self-care is to make a lasting commitment to yourself, something less fleeting than a pedicure. It takes time and practice to really get into a self-care routine. It’s something I’m still working on.

Here are some things that I’m incorporating into my own self-care plan:

*Drink more water. I know that I feel bad if I don’t drink enough water throughout the day so I’m attempting to be more cognizant of how much I’m taking in, especially while I’m at work (which is when I tend to ignore my own needs the most).

*Get regular bodywork. My job is very physical and as I’ve mentioned before, it’s slowly destroying my body. I recently discovered the amazing Sage Community Health Collective and started getting regular Asian Body Therapy and shiatsu.

*Stretch more/do yoga. Again with the job causing stress on my body. I don’t stretch enough, nor do I use my foam roller as much as I should (though I made the commitment to try to use it daily after my practitioner at Sage felt my IT Band).

*Get more sleep. I’m really bad at this most of the time. I tend to get 6 hours a few nights a week and then end up sleeping anywhere from 9-12 on my late days/weekends. I know it’s not healthy and I need to work toward consistently getting 8 hours of sleep a night.

*Dance! For reasons I’m saving for another post, I stopped belly dancing several months ago and before that I was only attending class sporadically. But a few weeks ago I committed to a 3-month class.

I also try to have at least one evening per week where I can just veg out and not feel guilty about it.

All of these things seem so simple and for the most part, they are. The hard part is carving out time in the day to achieve them without feeling guilty for doing so. That last part is key because a major component of starting a self-care plan is learning that you are, in fact, worthy and deserving of this care.

How about you? What do you do for self-care?

Radical Self-love: Walking the Talk

It would be an understatement to say that my relationship with my body has been a rocky one, the reasons for which could (and maybe will) be fodder for numerous separate blog posts. Over the years I’ve vacillated between proudly embracing my physical being and waging a neverending war on it. The latter tends to be my default setting, and I’ve been stuck there (although on a slightly kinder scale than usual) for a while now.

I talk a lot about body positivity and self-acceptance but it’s something that I have yet to fully own for myself. I’ve spent so many years being on the verge of loving myself. ‘I like myself but I wish my skin would just clear up already’ or ‘I’m okay with my size but my clothes would fit better if I just lost 10 pounds or so.’ The waiting is exhausting. And I’m not going to do it anymore.

Today is the day I stop wishing for a better me and start loving the one who is here now. I’m fat. I’m 5’1″ and I’m a size 14. I’m not saying that I’m fat to put myself down. I’m not fishing for compliments or hoping you will disagree with me. I’m merely stating a fact. I’m fat, just like I’m an Aries and I’m right-handed. I’m still just as fierce as I was when I was a size 8 (only now I’m healthy and not downing diet pills and Slim Fast daily).

I am tired of the idea that one cannot be fat and beautiful. And I’m really sick of the assumption that fat is inherently unhealthy. It isn’t. According to my former fat-shaming nurse practitioner, I am obese based on my BMI and should lose at least 20 pounds. Nevermind that my heart sounds great, my cholesterol levels are fantastic and my blood pressure is picture-perfect, despite having a pretty dismal family history in all three areas. Nothing about my general health gives any indication that my weight is causing me any physical ailments. Yet my health care provider insisted on spending a good portion of my last visit focused on my weight (while completely ignoring other actual health concerns that I had that day).

I refuse to continue listening to that nonsense and letting it eat away at me. I’m vowing here and now to commit to the work of unlearning years of self-hate heaped upon me by the media, doctors, family, advertising.¬†As of today, I will stop pining for clothes that no longer fit and trying to squeeze myself into things two sizes too small. You know that scene in Pretty in Pink where Andie is convinced Blane isn’t going to show up for their date but she keeps hopefully reapplying makeup anyway and Iona tells her she’s “wishful makeupping”? Well I’m wishful wardrobing. And I need to cut it out. I deserve to be comfortable and look fabulous too, dammit! Now, not later. I will not waste any more time waiting for a better me because the truth is, I am a better me. I’ve worked really hard to get here and I’m not going to let this hold me back any longer from being the truest version of me I can be.

I’m letting go of the idea that I need to punish myself in order to feel “physically fit.” I’m getting rid of the workout DVDs that I hate so much but used to force myself to do. No more wasting money on gym memberships or home equipment I will never use either. I’m going to focus only on things that make me feel good, regardless of how many calories I may or may not be burning.

I’m going to start truly loving myself and treating my body with respect. A simple idea but I know it won’t be as easy as it might sound. I’ve spent over half my life treating my body as my enemy. Peace negotiations are going to take time.