By Kevin Mzungu
Anyone who has had a toothache knows how painful it is. The nights become long and sleepless. You cannot eat well. Everyone seems to get on your nerves. You cannot open your mouth fully to talk or laugh because once the cool air gets to that cavity the pain that surges can almost make you drop down to the ground unconscious. Painkillers can only work for so long. That is when you know you have to go to the dentist and get that tooth pulled out. No talk of tooth fillings or root canals. It just has to go. And then you make a pact with yourself to limit your sugary food intake and to brush twice daily because the instruments the dentist uses look scary and they give you the chills. Even though you are numbed you can feel force they use to get that tooth off its socket. It is not a good feeling. The whole ordeal is almost traumatizing. You would never want to go back there ever. The relief after is such a joy though. You feel alive again.
Just as we cannot overlook a toothache, is how we should not overlook our physical, mental and emotional health holistically. Self-care is about doing activities that replenish your soul, body, and mind rather than drain you. It about being balanced and feeling contented with your life. Point to note is that self-care is not a matter of being selfish. It is about giving attention to your needs. It is a matter of ensuring that a person you function at your optimal level.
With the rate at which depression and stress-related ailments are on the rise, it is important that self-care be included in our daily routines. Self-care does not have to involve complex routines or activities. The secret is to find something that you enjoy and something that contributes to your life values. You will even come to realize it really does not require a lot of planning!
Some of the basic steps you can take may include;
- Start eating a nutritious diet. It does not have to be green and all boring. Find ways to spice it up. You will be amazed at how your body will be good for you. Do not forget to drink water.
- Exercise. A simple 30-minute walk or jog can be a start. You can even decide to learn a new sport.
- Sleep for the recommended hours.
- Read an inspirational book.
- Listen, sing along and dance to music. It reduces anxiety and tension.
- Start keeping a journal. It comes in handy when you want to decompress from all the anger and bad feelings you might have. In it, you can also jot down the good moments.
- Run from toxic relationships. Remember the toothache is not worth it.
- Forgive and love yourself. Do not be too harsh on yourself when your plans go haywire. It is important to be kind to yourself.
- Reach out to your trusted friend and talk or ask for help if needed. We are human. We need friends to lean on when times get hard.
- Say no to invitations you are not comfortable with.
- Set clear professional boundaries.
- Be aware of your relationship with money. This is important especially when it comes to expenses and saving.
- Stop socializing with people who look down on you and make friends with people who make you feel good.
- Cry. Shed those tears when you have to. It does not mean you are weak.
- Go for a trip. Get to breathe the air of different places.
- Find a quiet place to meditate or pray. This helps alleviate any psychological or emotional distress you might have
The self-care practices mentioned do not work for every individual as every person is different. Figure out who you are and what you want as a person. It will then be easier to incorporate self-care in your daily regimen such that it becomes a habit. Self-care is an active choice. It is neither forced nor is it not a temporary band-aid. It might get difficult but in the long run, the pros outweigh the cons and you will come out a better, healthier and happier human being who is productive in every aspect of life.
“Self-care is how you take your power back.”- Lalah Delia