Self Care is an Art Form

Shot by @AudieAli

Self-Care is not something that has always come natural for me. As a kid, I wasn’t really taught how to take time for myself. Mental health issues are prevalent in my family and I have been affected since I was a young child. I can only speak about certain traumas in retrospect because when I was experiencing them I was too young or too overwhelmed to articulate my feelings. I was taught that being busy was a good way to keep your mind off any problems that might have been going on in your life. I never learned how to let go and recharge.

This school of thought has followed me into my adult life. Survival has always been a top priority in my life so grinding it out and working a crazy amount of hours and playing sports in high school was my go to. When I got to college, there was a point where I had three jobs and an internship while going to school full time. Even now, I’m working two jobs–three if you count this blog and managing social media. Four if you want to include any attempt at having a normal social life—which is near impossible these days. My past life has created a level of fear for me which causes me to literally fight internally with myself. Everyday I am fighting between the version of myself where survival is the utmost necessity and the version where I want to be fearless in the pursuit of what sets my soul on fire. It is mentally and emotionally exhausting.

As an introvert, I often need time alone to recharge and find my center. Lately, it seems that I haven’t been able to do this. The ironic thing is, I work with people for both of my jobs. One is with the public and the other is in my full time work with kids. Everyday, I am constantly surrounded by others’ energies and more often than not, I don’t get it go home and recharge. I end up just crashing from sheer exhaustion. I can’t remember the last time I was able to be alone and just be. As of lately, I’ve definitely felt the need to take time for myself so that I can recharge—I just haven’t been able to.

More often than not, we lose sight of the fact that self care is so important for our mental, physical, and emotional health. Self care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness—especially in times of stress. Self care can be something as simple as showering or eating. It can also be as complex as becoming a Reiki Master or gallery artist. Self-care at it’s very finest, is itself an art form.

The art of self care is simply knowing the things that cause you pain and drain your energy. It is finding and identifying all the things that bring you peace and strength. For a long time, being able to all my Grandmother on the phone was my main form of self care. But after her death, I was forced to find my own way. On my journey through grief and a deep depression, I discovered that candles, tea, and lavender lotion increased my frequency. I learned that sunshine on my skin resulted in rekindling my fire and put a smile on my face. I found that cooking and crafting were like therapy for me. I am a jackeline of all trades when it comes to crafting. I love to paint, handcraft pottery, and I even love woodworking and interior decorating.

Books and writing have been an outlet for me for as long as I can remember. I am much more fluid with my words on paper than I am in conversation. And a lot of that has to do with my comfort level and the fact that I am so introverted. Over time, I have found that makeup, skin care, working out, and getting my nails done are re-energizing for me. My grandmother always told me that when you look good, you feel good. And for me, most of the time that is true.

For many artists like myself, the act of creating is our biggest form of self care. On our darkest nights, the art seeps through our pores and is visible for all to see. We create masterpieces with our mind and with our souls. If we can’t create, we are often depressed or feel incomplete–at least that is true for me. There was a period in time where I was in so much pain that I NEEDED to write every day, multiple times a day. But then after awhile, it wasn’t enough for me and I completely stopped. Even recently, I’ve been MIA from social media and Finding Fenix because I haven’t had the energy to collect my thoughts and make them make sense to readers. I haven’t felt the passion or the motivation to write.

To be honest, I have been doing the bare minimum of self care for the last year or so. I tend to put others before myself. That’s who I am. However, I cannot give from an empty cup. I need to relearn how to take care of myself and be assertive with my need to recharge. It’s so important for my mental and emotional health. My needs are as important as those around me. And in order for me to empower and give ya’ll this Fire content each week, I needed to recharge. Sometimes I need to do what’s best for me so that my cup can runneth over. So we can all flourish together. Ase.