I promised Rochelle I’d be her biggest supporter for 2018. This started as 5 simple resolutions with my best friend; one goal: self-care as she accurately documents here. A lot were resolutions I’ve already had in the past and things I usually did well with, but of course, it’s only human to fall from the bandwagon sometimes and drift towards less than optimum habits.
I’m at varying stages of mastery of these 100 tips; some I’ve already mastered, started, restarted or plan to gradually include and improve on over the next few months and years. I’m also doing away with that perfectionist all-or-nothing mentality. Life is a journey and so mastery of self-love and self-care is a continuum. We are constantly changing, reinventing, readjusting and improving ourselves so I thought I’d compile a self-care manifesto for myself as a present & future guide. I decided to share it online in case it helps anyone else too! Thus, here are 100 ways to feel alive, be more mindful, have loads of energy to enjoy each day and all around just live our best lives.
You Are What You Eat
- Drink loads of water. Eight 8-ounce glasses per day is a good start.
- Never leave home without your water bottle.
- Eat at least one fruit and as many veggies as you can each day. The deeper and darker the colours the better.
- Drink more unsweetened tea.
- Drink more coconut water, straight from the coconut if you can.
- Consume less sugar. That includes sweetened juices and drinks.
- Consume less sodium. Better yet, go ital.
- Less fried. More baked, broiled, roasted, jerked, steamed, stewed, raw.
- Eat less meat. Have meat-free meals throughout the week. If you choose vegetarianism or veganism, do so responsibly. Research from reputable sources. Vegans, take your quarterly B12 shots or daily B12 tablets.
- Read food labels. Make sure all words are pronounceable or don’t eat it.
- Less refined, more whole grain. Whole wheat bread, flour, pasta. Better yet, choose new grains and starchy vegetables. Quinoa. Sweet potatoes. Yam. Plantains.
- Eat more nuts and seeds, just within healthy servings. Say yes to nut butters.
- If you must have dairy, try to keep it as lactose-free as possible (yoghurt, lactose-free 1% milk). If you’re old enough to be reading my post, you’re likely lactose intolerant by now. Suck it up and be kind to your body.
- Better yet, choose alternative milks. Almond, cashew, hazelnut, rice, oat, hemp.
- Choose alcohol wisely. A lil’ red wine or Caribbean rum or beer never hurt anybody though.
- Learn what portion sizes look like for starches, meat, legumes, dairy, fats & oils, fruit and vegetables. Try to adhere to them.
- Try not to comfort eat. The food-high doesn’t last. You always feel worse after and it’ll hurt your weight management efforts.
- But if and when you do, don’t be too hard on yourself. Eat normal the next day. Never restrict or punish yourself the next day.
- No food is off-limits. Every food has a place in your life. Some just belong there more than others.
- Never skip breakfast. Or other meals for that matter, but never breakfast. There’s always time for toast and a scrambled or boiled egg, oatmeal, overnight oats, cereal, a shake etc. Pancakes, waffles, breadfruit and ackee & saltfish if you’re feeling fancy.
Break A Sweat
- Try to be as active as you can every day. Park further. Only take the stairs. Walk more. Run errands on foot if you can. Carry your groceries. Wear a pedometer and track those steps up to 10,000. Do the cleaning yourself. Clean more often. Put on some music while you do and turn cleaning into a dance party.
- Break a sweat for at least 30 minutes each day. Run. Jump rope. Home workout videos (no excuse, YouTube?!). Treadmill. Gym if you’re feeling fancy.
- But learn to recognize when your body needs a day-off so you don’t get injured.
- Get a yoga mat. Use it. Remember to clean it. . .
- Don’t forget to condition those muscles. Bodyweight exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, triceps dips, crunches, squats) are great. Weights and gym props too, if you’re feeling fancy.
- Run 5Ks. Or walk if you’re not at that level yet. Charity + fitness = win-win.
- You’re more than a scale number. Find other ways to measure your weight loss, gain or maintenance. What happened to just using how your clothes fit or the mirror?
Nurture Your Spirit
- Meditate daily. Start small. Deep mindful breathing. Progressive muscle relaxation. Yoga. Shavasna. Read your holy book if you’re religious. Start somewhere.
- Sorry, this needs its own point. Read your holy book if you’re religious. Be open to exploring the teachings of other faiths and incorporating some into your own philosophy if they’re to your liking.
- Pray. Not just when you want something but thanking God for your blessings or simply expressing awe for his vast endless universe and for allowing you to enjoy it.
- Listen more. Talk less.
- Learn how to appreciate silence.
- Listen more music. Buy more albums, download more songs. Listen to more songs where the words are audible and the lyrics have meaning. Strictly upful vibes.
- Put down your phone. Be present in the experience. Memories and human interactions trump carefully orchestrated and filtered photos/videos.
- Restrict your social media usage. Abandon or delete an account or two. Don’t share every insignificant life detail on there. No one cares. Call or text a friend about your day instead.
- On that note, don’t believe everything you see when you do use it. Use social media more mindfully. The grass isn’t greener on the other side. Yours is green enough. Water your grass more.
- If there’s something you’re hesitating to do, do the 2-point check. Is it likely to cause me harm or may harm another? If yes, ABORT. If not, go ahead. Life’s too short to have regrets.
Hygiene & Beauty Tidbits
- Create a skin regimen. Good skin is rarely pure genetics.
- Sunscreen, even if you’re Black. The SPF protection in melanin is overrated. Get a 2-in-1 moisturizer + sunscreen.
- On that note, moisturize!
- The skin around your eyes ages 3 times as fast. Take special care of it. Cucumbers, tea-bags, fancy eye serum, shades. Youth doesn’t last forever.
- You only get one set of permanent pearly-whites. You already know what to do so DO IT… brush at least twice daily, FLOSS at least once daily, use mouthwash, chew sugarless gum after meals if you can’t brush immediately and visit the dentist every 6 months.
- Pamper your feet. You only get one pair and they carry you everywhere.
- Create & stick to a grooming schedule. Find the hair grooming/ removal method that best suits you.
- Take care of the hair on your head. Moisturize, deep condition etc. Figure out what works best for your strands and stick to it.
- Know when to trim those ends. Don’t fear scissors.
- Take care of your nails.
- Get to know your body. No part of your external anatomy should be foreign to you… think this one applies more to us women. Learn about the external bits of your urogenital system.
- Wear flattering clothes no matter your size. If it no longer fits, get rid of it ASAP. Don’t keep them saying “one day.” It may never come. Don’t try squeezing into old tight pieces nor wear clothes which are now baggy for you either. Make the sacrifice to update your wardrobe as your body and tastes evolve.
- Don’t postpone wearing what you want because you’re not in love with your body yet. Go ahead. Buy that bikini. Feel sexy.
- Love your body! Do you think it’s easy for your heart to perfuse your trillions of cells 72 times a minute, your lungs to breathe 18 breaths per minute, your red blood cells to carry all that oxygen and cope with oxidant stress, your kidneys to filter your blood 72 times a minute, your musculoskeletal system to contort your body into any posture your brain tells it, your neurons to fire millions of times per second, your liver to purge your body of all your toxins and that ethanol you drink, your gut and enteric nervous system to keep it moving and absorb your nutrients, (you get the picture), then you turn around and tell your body YOU HATE IT? You ungrateful creature.
- Sleep, sleep, sleep. Not too much. Just enough (6-9 hours each night in a dark room).
- Do only two activities in bed. Sleep and have sex, and always do the latter responsibly.
- Budget, budget, budget. Save first, spend after. Never spend more than you earn unless of course you have a valid emergency (health issue, disaster etc.).
- Make loan repayment your priority.
- Keep a journal. Write in it often.
- Read, read, read. Never stop reading. Read at least one non-academic book a month.
- On that note of academics, never stop growing in your chosen field. Take a small course. Revise your old college notes and textbooks to keep knowledge fresh. Build on your old knowledge. Read new material and stay updated. Or take the plunge. Start your Bachelor’s, your Masters’, your PhD, your post-doctoral studies. There’s no such thing as being too old to go back to school either.
- Update your resumé at least once a year. Keep up to date with the most recent resumé styles. Have someone good with that sort of thing review it before sending it off.
- Become comfortable with sending professional emails, responding to emails and making phone calls.
- Ensure your job always brings you at least some degree of fulfillment. If it doesn’t, make sure you’re actively looking for a new place of employment, studying for a new career or figuring out a way to start working for yourself.
- Pat yourself on the back for every hurdle you cross in the academic arena. Every credit earned, every semester accomplished is a celebration. You didn’t have to make it, but YOU DID! Go YOU!
- Learn to come to terms with failure. Cry and feel sorry for yourself for a week then MOVE on. Just because you failed one thing doesn’t mean you have failed or will fail at life. The quicker you realize that is the quicker you will succeed the next time.
Make Your Home Your Haven
- Adapt feng shui principles in arranging your rooms for less stress. Your house should be a haven and your favourite haven your home, reflective of your tastes and sense of style.
- Keep a houseplant or two, especially one which can clean the air.
- Find natural ways to keep your space clean, reducing your chemical load as much as possible.
- Don’t underestimate the power of good lighting.
- Practice aromatherapy. Candles are nice too and genuinely make you feel better, especially during long luxurious baths.
- Conserve electricity and water as much as you can.
- Recycle as best as you can.
- Start a herb/ vegetable garden.
- Keep a compost heap for your garden.
- Focus less on clutter and material things. Only keep what’s essential and put the rest of your money into experiences like that road trip, gym membership, cooking class, plane ticket or concert you thought you couldn’t afford.
And Finally, Some Life Pearls
- Do something new that scares you ever so often (within reason of course). Drive on a new road, learn where it goes. Go to a new place, a new side of the park, a new restaurant, a new country.
- Strike up conversation with the person who looks lonely. Get over yourself.
- Be kind to everyone you meet. The defensive, the angry, the rude, they need it more than you know, even though it’s so easy to let their negative energy transfer to you.
- Learn how to graciously accept compliments.
- Love completely without holding back.
- Never do anything if you can’t give it your all.
- Laugh more. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh from the belly up.
- Smile with your eyes, not just your lips.
- Keep in touch with your parents more. They may have wronged you but they’re human too. The manual for how to perfectly raise you never came in the mail. Forgive them.
- Keep siblings and extended family close but sometimes refer to #13.
- Form new relationships with people at work, school, church, clubs, youth groups, community groups, your street! They may not last forever but they’ll have a purpose in your life for that minute, hour, week or year.
- Maintain old relationships from high school and college. Don’t allow them to grow completely apart, unless of course you’ve completely outgrown that friendship. Or,
- They’ve proven themselves to be toxic in their words, actions or deeds. You can do without that negativity. You’re allowed to let people go as you see fit but be mature about it.
- Learn how to say NO. You owe no one an explanation. Make excuses less, lie less, speak the truth more.
- Use all your vacation leave and even your sick leave. Take sick leave when you’re not feeling mentally well. It’s not just cold and flu which deserves sick leave. Your brain is an organ too. It gets unwell sometimes.
- Know when to request help. Friends, family, professional help. It’s worth the money.
- Listen to your body. You know when it’s ill before anyone else does (usually).
- Take your medications! You can’t be your best self if you’re not physically healthy.
- Visit your doctor for regular check-ups even if you feel physically healthy. Call and make your own appointments like an adult, do regular screening, stay up-to-date on vaccines or even better yet, get a regular physician in the first place.
- Trust your intuition.
- Don’t lie to yourself. Admit you’ve fallen in love or grown infatuated with the wrong person, admit that you don’t feel happy in this job, with that person, admit that you’re hurt, angry, lonely etc. The quicker you admit the truth to yourself is the quicker you’ll move on. Embrace your true feelings then set them free.
- Travel! It doesn’t always require a passport and money because if it’s new to you, it counts as travel! 🙂
- Donate more to charities in money or kind. You have it hard but someone always has it harder. Just be wise and ensure the charity is legitimate.
- Volunteer more. Time is precious and that extra pair of hands can’t be bought.
- Everyone loves gifts. Give small tokens to the people in your life especially around important times like birthdays and Christmas. Store-bought is nice but hand-made or hand-written is priceless.
- Support art more. There are too many types to limit yourself. Live theatre. Live music. Dance. Visual arts in so many media.
- Lastly, start making some decisions on your own without consulting anyone first. You’re old enough, smart enough, experienced enough. You matter.
Yay, you’ve made it to the end. 👏 Pin & share this post so others can self-care too!
‘Til next time! ✌🏽
Find Elle on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and now on YouTube.
11 thoughts on “Self-Care Manifesto | 100 Ways to Self Care”
For someone as young as you there are some very deep and wise insights in this post. I wish I was as wise at your age….good luck with your manifesto…3 years later I suspect it has been tried, tested and adjusted. 🙂
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Thank you so much! It’s certainly been tried, tested and updated. I’ve been both on and off the bandwagon, but just trying to keep moving forward even if occasionally I take a few steps back. Thanks so much for checking out my blog 🙂
[…] some time to take care of yourself. If you need additional ideas for self-care, check out this post by Adventures from […]
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Oh my word, Ms. Rochelle! How can someone so young be so wise? What a brilliant reflection on how to live a good life. Thank you for taking the time to share it.
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Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed. It took months of pondering to create and I’m in various stages of taking my own advice too, ha.
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Beautiful..So true..self care is often untouched behind the busy world of too much outside distracting from whats most important..
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Thanks Kerri! That’s so true. We often overlook ourselves in this busy fast-paced world which is so sad. When we get rundown, we don’t function as well. Self-care keeps us running at our peak. 🙂
EXACTLY, thank you for sharing and caring and helping others along the way.
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You’re most welcome and thanks for reading & commenting too 🙂 Appreciate it!
What a great list!!! Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I shared this in my FB group on my page Ladyhood journey, LLC. Please feel free to join if you are on Facebook. It’s a group for women where we share girl-talk, support, and give advice on dating, motherhood, marriage, single-life, and relationships, its called The “HOE” Truth (Healing Over Everything)
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I just submitted my request to join the group. I could always do with some ladyhood support on this journey called life. Thanks very much for taking the time to visit and read, and thanks too for sharing! 🙂