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Reflecting on my 2019 Self Care Challenge

For the month of August, I participated in a self care challenge by Want for Wellness. Through participating in this challenge, I learned a lot about myself and what self care means to me!

I have learned that certain self care strategies are not for everyone and that you have to discover what you like and what makes you feel good. I will be honest, there were days where I did not enjoy the activities - they may have felt uncomfortable or they simply did not benefit me. Nevertheless, I tried my best to remain positive and not get discouraged. There are always brighter days ahead and this saying runs true for a challenge like this. Although not every activity was an ideal fit, I could always count on there being a new or enjoyable activity the next day. This helped me look forward to what was to come! So, don’t give up just because one day does not go right, there’s always tomorrow.

I also learned that self care should not feel like a chore. It should not require an extreme amount of effort and most importantly, you should feel a sense of relief or joy from it! If you are forcing yourself to do a specific self care task, it probably is not meant for you and you should find something else. Knowing what you like and what makes your mind, body and soul shine is the first step to living well. It’s okay if something does not work for you, but it works for someone else. We are all unique - every one of us requires different things to feel and be our best selves. Plus, there are hundreds of things you can do for self care, so keep testing activities out until you find what is right for you.

But also don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone! This past month I tried self care strategies that I never considered doing. I found it exciting trying something new and seeing if I enjoyed it or not. What I’ve learned is that we can easily get stuck in a rut when it comes to self care - we stick to the basics but never expand our horizons. I’m not saying to ditch the self care strategies that work for you or are essential to your wellbeing, but take the time to explore some other areas. You never know what you’ll find!

Lastly, I have learned that practice does not make perfect when it comes to self care. Yes practice makes certain tasks easier, but when doing self care you are not seeking for perfection. Eliminate any internal or external pressure and seek to do things fully and wholeheartedly - no matter if you fail, make mistakes, or look silly doing it. While documenting my self care tasks, I felt a need to post aesthetically pleasing photos. As a result of placing those high expectations on myself, I sometimes dreaded doing the activity or knowing that at some point in my day I would have to do it. It really impacted my mindset going into the task, which prevented me from fully enjoy myself or staying in the moment. If you are experiencing similar feelings while completing the challenge, recognize them, put a name to them, accept them for what they are and try to let them go. Seek to enjoy the process as much as the end result!

For those of you who did not have the chance to participate in the challenge, I highly recommend that you do! It was a challenging yet fun way to implement self care and healthy living into your life - in a very manageable way! In order to keep up with it, I suggest setting reminders on your phone so you can get alerts - I set mine for every morning so I could complete it as soon as I could (sometimes that meant rushing through the task to be able to check it off, but hey, nobody's perfect). It may also be helpful to let other people know what you are doing. Often times, friends and family members keep us accountable!

And for those of you who completed the challenge, I encourage you to take it one step further by creating a challenge that is designed for you and your needs. Only choose activities that work for you and see how long you can keep up with it!

Remember, self care isn’t something that is finished in 30 or 31 days, it’s a life-long challenge! So start with implementing some form of self care into your daily life, it doesn’t have to be a large task but doing something for yourself each day can have a huge impact on your mental and physical health. And if you miss a day or even a few days, you are not a failure - you are human! While completing this challenge, there were days where I really struggled to even get out of bed, so self care was the last thing on my mind. But I realized in the darkest of times, we all do at least one thing to take care of ourselves. It may be hard to notice (because we often do it subconsciously or without thinking) but self care is a key part of all our days. So, make a conscious effort and take charge of your wellbeing! You deserve it.