Friday, March 23, 2018

My Mindfulness & Self-Care Practices


I wrote this on a plane. I was on my way back to London after having spent a few days in Portugal with my family. The morning I left London, I started vlogging with every intention of making a video of my trip home, but then I stopped.

I think it’s really important to take a break. In reality, I am always doing something. I am always either working at my full time job, or I’m working on my YouTube channel, streaming on Twitch or writing for this blog. These are things I do for fun, but it’s also a lot of work.

Sometimes I just want to live life without a camera pointed at me. Sometimes I don’t want to look my best, and sometimes I’m not feeling my best. I have witnessed so many of my friends be harassed and bombarded with criticism lately, that it just doesn’t make me want to share the intricacies of my exceptionally average life.

We, YouTubers and Bloggers, are not reality TV stars. Those of us that share bits of our lives online are not doing so to receive the opinions and attacks of those who take it personally when we don’t live the way they do. It’s exhausting. We're not trying to shock the public for attention and we're not trying to cause controversy.

I decided I needed some quality time with my family and that my idea of "quality time" meant switching off from the internet. I didn’t film, edit, stream or write. I just spent time with them. The older I get, the more I just want to spend time with them. A weekend of self-care was exactly what I needed - it allowed for me to really identify the things that I do to show myself some kindness. All we really have is ourselves, so I find it really important to nurture my relationship with myself and my body as much as I would do with any other relationship.

I have put together a list of 5 mindful things I do for self-care:


1. Always having my nails done


This one is important to me because I’ve noticed that having my nails done always makes me feel more “put together”, no matter what I’m wearing or how I look. I really dislike my natural nails, so acrylics is something that really boosts my self esteem and makes me feel good about myself. I carry myself entirely differently when my hands look pretty, so even if it's entirely superficial, I prioritise this.

2. Taking the time to do things I love


Taking the time for the things that bring you joy can seem like such a given, but when was the last time you did something for yourself? This can mean literally anything. Taking the time to do your makeup exactly how you want, having a really long bath, watching several episodes of your favourite show in one sitting, taking your pets for a long walk or sleeping for an extra hour.

We have all become so obsessed with the idea of being productive and not wasting any time, that we almost punish ourselves when we switch off for an afternoon. I make sure to make the time for all the things that brighten my day. The happier I am, the more productive I will be.

3. Spending time with the people that bring me joy


This isn’t the same for everyone. The people who bring you joy can be your family, friends, your partner (or partners, if you’re not monogamous) and/or complete strangers. The people that bring me the most joy are my family, my boyfriend and my friends.

Making sure I book trips to see them or even just FaceTime them regularly is key to keeping my shit together. The people in my life make up for over half the person that I have become, and without them I would be entirely screwed.

4. Celebrating myself and my body


I am not the most confident person in the world. Becoming confident enough to share pictures of myself and to talk about vulnerable topics has been a long journey in the discovery of my own sense of self.

Taking time in the shower to feel my breasts for lumps, feeling every nook and cranny of my body so that I notice any changes as soon as they happen and spreading sex-positivity is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to celebrating my body. I exercise, eat the food I want to eat and I let myself rest when my body needs it. I do all of these things and I don't feel bad about any of it.


5. Being introspective


Introspectivity is a skill that was very hard to learn for me. We often talk about the importance of being honest with other people, but we neglect being honest with ourselves. Facing your truth and thinking about unpleasant things is extremely hard, and a lot of us have the instinct to switch it off and suppress negative thoughts and feelings. Let me be the person to tell you, from experience, that the only way through pain is through it.

Don’t get stuck on the idea of “overthinking” or “overanalysing” things. Every thought, feeling and reaction has a root, and it’s often easier to find if you’re willing to be honest with yourself. Understanding yourself to your very core is how you take control of yourself and stop letting fear and feelings get in the way of everything you want to achieve.

How I did this? Therapy, being open with people about the fact that I go to therapy, and allowing myself to feel proud that I was able to put aside my pride and opened up to the idea of going to therapy.

How do you practice mindfulness and self-care? How do you show yourself love and kindness on your day to day life? I would love to know!
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