A few years ago—after spending most of my 20s running around on fumes and overcommitting every front— I began to struggle with debilitating anxiety attacks. I also learned that my immune system was shot. I was not taking care of myself.There was no quick fix to moving into freedom and a more balanced way of living. It was a slow road filled with small, intentional steps.
I used to think self-care meant spending a ton of money on massages, weekend getaways, and manicures…But some of the most beneficial self-care rhythms I’ve implemented in my life over the last few years have been completely free.
One of the first things I began to do was go back to the basics to create a more sustainable rhythm to my days. I used to think self-care meant spending a ton of money on massages, weekend getaways, and manicures. (By the way, I love all of those things!) But some of the most beneficial self-care rhythms I’ve implemented in my life over the last few years have been completely free.
Here are a few of my Back to the Basics of Self-Care that cost you nothing
- S L E E P
- In college I pulled all nighters, and in my 20s I thought sleep was for when you’re old and grey. I learned the hard way that this is not an effective long term plan. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can be linked to weight gain, high blood pressure, comprised immune system, memory loss, and type 2 diabetes. Other than diabetes I experienced most of these symptoms when I was getting sleeping less than 6 hours of sleep.
- Now I am committed to sleeping at least seven hours a night. And I’ve noticed I have more consistent energy and focus throughout the day, and am less foggy headed.
- Q U I E T // T I M E
- I was in a bad habit of checking email and social media before I got out of bed. Immediately my day would start with the jolt of to-do’s. This started my day off with stress and anxiety. Now, I don’t check emails or social before 9:00a.m. I give myself an hour and a half to wake up before I start my day. The first thing I do is make a cup of coffee, and snuggle into the corner of my couch with my journal, Bible, and sometimes a book or devotional. I use this time to pray, sit in silence, read, and journal. Instead of starting my day inundated with stress, I now begin with rest and peace. I allow an hour for this each morning, and I soak up every moment. If you’re new to this, try sitting quietly in a comfortable place for 15 minutes before your day gets started.
- M E A L // P R E P
- Doing meal prep and having snacks on hand has changed my life. Before, I’d find myself running from one thing to the next. I’d blink and realize it was 3:00 p.m. and that I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. I’d have no plan and would be in a desperate place so I’d just go grab something quick. This usually meant something that tasted good, but wasn’t feeding my body the nutrients it needed.
- What I do now is look at the week ahead, and figure out where I’ll be during my days. Then I’ll spend a few hours cooking on Sunday afternoon or Monday night and make to-go lunches for myself for the week. I’m no chef — I make things simple and easy. But having meals ready that I can grab and take with me helps prevent me from headaches, making less healthy choices, and maybe the worst symptom of all: being hangry. Also, having snacks in my bag is clutch. I’ll get raw almonds, RX Bars, and a few apples, and just throw them in my bag. That way if I do get in a bad spot and need something, I have options that are healthy and fueling my body. This has allowed me to be more healthy and save a lot of money.
- R E S T
- This one was hard to implement. The first thing I had to do was let go of FOMO. The second was to trust that creating space in my life to rest was setting me up for success to be more present throughout the rest of my week. I look at my calendar for the week and block off at least one night where I’m at home with no plans. I found that when I planned ahead for it, and treated it like a meeting with myself I was more likely to keep the date. And it’s fun to have something to look forward to — especially in the midst of a busy week.
All of these things may seem simple, but they take time, forethought, planning, and intentionality to implement. Do you feel exhausted or stuck too? Girl, I get it! I challenge you to practice these four things for the next month. I’m living proof that it’s possible to create new rhythms. It’s all about starting slow with small decisions, being patient, and committing to the process!
Thank you for reading this month’s Refined Collective. Please be sure + check out the other women sharing their stories this month: Brynn Watkins, Yvette Jain, Jessica Hoffman Shakir, Sarah Shreves, Rebecca Hajek. Michelle Kim