This is the greatest I have felt since adulting started. My body is healthy and glowing; my mind is free and alert; and my soul is whole and happy. Here are some activities that I have been doing that I attribute to these feelings of newness and joy. I tried to divide them by mind, body and soul but my experience has been that these three are so interconnected that one activity might involve one aspect but actually impacts the whole being. Let’s dig in.
- Eat good food
My sister pointed out how our view of what is good food has changed overtime. While burgers and fries used to be the best thing, now ugali with kale also hits all the spots. I think the trick is to keep eating food that is good for your body and let the cravings catch up.
I drink water whenever I am thirsty and I can tell that my body deeply appreciates that.
In this weight-loss post, I mentioned the lunch with Kangai Kinetics, that changed my view on exercise forever, go check out her page to know what I am talking about. Swimming is my favourite exercise of all time but since there’s no pool near me, I have taken up running on the treadmill. I am still working on my consistency and the Nike Run Club app has been a great cheerleader. After attending a dance class with Uncle @Ginga I have promised myself to dance more often too.
4. Do some yoga
I had tried a few yoga sessions last year but they didn’t quite catch on. But my friend introduced me to the Down dog app and there’s no going back. I love that yoga engages my muscles and calms my mind at the same time.
5. Do a body scan
This is my favourite meditation practice. Something about checking in with every muscle in my body helps me be more aware of how my body is really feeling. I also realised that my body stores up a lot of tension especially in my shoulders and when I do a body scan I am able to let go.
6. Bask in the sun
Apart from Vitamin D the sun helps me calm down and relax. I do some cloud watching while at it too. NB: sunscreen is a must.
7. Spend time in nature
We have this beautiful towering acacia tree in our backyard and there’s just something about being underneath it. Maybe it’s inhaling the oxygen or just getting lost in its expansiveness, but it does wonders for my body (and mind).
8. Care for your body
This is what would initially come to mind whenever I thought of self care. Even though my practices have since expanded, bath soaks and massages still do wonders for me. Doing a face mask, moisturising my skin and washing Cheblocs are the more frequent ways I care for my body. I make a big deal of doing these and make sure to enjoy every second of them. If you are interested, I talked about some of the body products I have been enjoying in lockdown in this video.
9. Adorn your temple
Beating my face, putting on an outfit I love and topping the look with earrings is an act of self-care for me. In thinking of my body as the temple of God, I imagine that it must reflect that outwardly so the aim is to look like the masterpiece I am as many times as possible.
10. Sleep enough
While I struggle with my sleep pattern (anyone else sleep at 4 and wake up at 11? ), I always get my 7 hours of sleep in. The few times I have slept for less hours, the exhaustion even shows on my skin.
My goal is to read one book every month. However, August is ending and July’s read is not halfway through. Let’s blame this on the environment that has shortened my attention span, hehe. Anyway, I am not giving up because nothing beats that feeling of disappearing into a book. I also joined a feminist theory book club which is so lit. Loving that it allows for my mind to engage in different ideas and perspectives.
12. Reduce time on social media
I use the down time/screen time limit on my phone to track this. Most times I extend the time by 15 minutes or for the whole day🙈 but I think half the work is being aware of just how much time I spend on social media. I have found out that spending less time on there frees up more time for me to pour into myself.
13. Listen to podcasts
Yep, I am becoming a podcast person. What I love most about podcasts is that I can listen while doing other things. There’s also so much wisdom and tips that challenge the way I think about things.
I feel like when my surrounding is messy it affects my mind. Therefore, I consider acts such as folding clothes or keeping my room neat as self care because they improve my mind’s clarity
15. Ask for help
The mental pressure that came with thinking I had to know everything, wah! Nowadays, I more readily ask for help and it has made such a difference to my mental health .
I used to have a narrow view of what meditation entails. After participating in different sessions, I realised you can actually turn almost any activity into meditation. My favourite one to do is journaling – I highly recommend subscribing to Alex Elle’s newsletter for wholesome journal prompts. I also light candles and speak out affirmations. I am slowly getting into breathwork too. Meditation always leaves me feeling so grounded.
While this may also be a form of meditation it deserved its own point. If the others ground my soul, this one grounds my spirit. My most important lesson when it came to prayer is that there is no right way to do it. So me and my God we just talk about things and have a good time.
18. Mood check-ins
Before I incorporated this practice into the beginning of my day, I realised I always led with what other people around me needed. Knowing how I feel and what I need helps me get better at drawing up boundaries, that way I am able to pour from a full cup.
19. Plan weekly
I am currently on a gap year and I knew the whole year could go by without me doing what I wanted to do if I did not have a plan. I started with setting some general goals for the whole year then for the month then further broke them down into what I would need to do each week to achieve my goals( I document the progress on my youtube channel here). This also helps me to know when to say no to things that may not align to my purpose.
Uuuh! It is so hard for me to know when I need to stop. I was listening to a ‘Brown Girl Self-Care’ podcast here on the toxicity of grind culture and I was nodding so hard. I am learning to not feel guilty about taking a break. Yes, even when I am doing work that I thoroughly enjoy.
21. Listen to music
This one is simple, the kind of music that lifts you up can do wonders for your soul. Also my sister made a playlist that is sure to vibrate your soul here.
22. Watch a good movie, show or youtube video.
23. Spend time with a loved one
Family, sisterhood and friendship mean so much to me (that’s why they are whole categories in this blog). I try to make sure that my people know how much they mean to me by just being there or asking what interesting thing they did or thought about in the day then I listen. Funny how this actually works to happy my soul more.
24. Study scripture
Even though the Bible takes the cup for me in answering questions about injustice, death and purpose which trouble my soul; I said scripture because think pieces and philosophical texts have helped me too. This is the part I plug BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and the YouVersion Bible app which have literally changed my life.
This is one of my favourite spiritual practices. Being with people who largely believe what you believe and can encourage and uplift you is the best part of religion for me. For this reason worshipping with my family every Sunday has been very enriching for my soul.
And yeah! That’s what I have been doing to self care. I believe there is no one right way to self-care and that everyone should find whatever works for them. Hopefully this gave you some ideas of things to add to your self-care routine. Feel free to share your ways with me too.
Wishing you a beautiful new week and month!
P.S: If you aren’t part of the Chai Geng the newsletter drops on Tuesday. Sign up for the lessons August taught me.