It’s been a minute, but I’m back with a long-overdue Back to Center update.
One of the best things I’ve discovered this year thus far is the song “Go Lay Down” by NaJe.
Lemme tell you something. This song is a testimony that stirs my spirit. This song is also a reminder that self-care doesn’t always been to be about material things. Sometimes, all you need to do is rest.
I’m getting better with the timing of these Back to Center updates pats self on back. I’ve made mention of self-care (click here and here for earlier blog posts) in the past, but I wanted to devote this update to journaling.
I’ve always had a journal/diary of some sort. During my teenage years, I wrote to document the highs and lows of my life. I was never consistent in my journaling. However, now that I’m older, I’ve learned that journaling is a key part of my self-care routine.
For example, I have times where I have too much going on in my head. I could be worried about something and that worry manifests into anxiety. Once anxiety has made its way in, a chain reaction occurs. I can’t concentrate and restful sleep goes M.I.A. I hate feeling that way, especially when I don’t have control over the situation that’s causing the anxiety.
So one day, I had the bright idea to dust off the journal I’ve been sporadically writing in and conducted a brain dump. Soon as the pen hit the paper and the syllables became words, the anxiety that had my stomach riddled with knots dissipated. I didn’t want the anxiety to come back to cripple me again. Writing in regularly would have to become my new normal. But again, consistency in my journaling wasn’t important to me.
This is where Google comes in for the win.
So, about two weeks ago, I got an email from Google telling me that the Google Calendar app I was using on my phone was out of date and that an update was available via Google Play. I updated the app and boy was I impressed.
The updated version of the app allowed me to set goals for various reasons, specifically “Me Time”. I went ahead and set a goal to practice journaling once a week for 15 minutes in the evening. In return, the app finds the requested time within my calendar to schedule the goal. For me, making journaling a goal AND having it scheduled in my calendar is a mind trick. If I have it scheduled in my calendar, I have to do it.
So far, adding journaling to my calendar is working. It feels good to keep the anxiety and stress away. Tell me, do you journal? Is journaling part of your self-care plan?
The last couple of months have been challenging to say the least. Stress had my physical and mental health in shambles. By the time I got to do for myself, I didn’t have the time nor energy to devote to my well-being.
I’m writing this post to not only remind myself but to also remind you that we have to take care of ourselves. Our mental, physical, and spiritual health depend on it. We gotta make sure our needs are taken care of before we take care of others.
[tweetshareinline tweet=”You can’t be there for everyone if you don’t take care of yourself first.” username=”2n$28p1ijG!jkr6qAqbM5JM&XPcH%QfD:1:0″]
When I get off work, the first thing I want to do is wind down from the day. Those 1-2 hours allow me to calm my mind and get back to my normal.
In Back to Center: Update 4, I briefly mentioned that having a decompression period was a crucial aspect of my relaxation plan.
Since then, my decompression period has become a huge part of my self-care routine. For this update, I wanted to expand upon the specific components that make up my decompression period.
There’s at least one day during the week where by the time I get home, I really don’t want to touch anything electronic other than my TV. I can try to get SOMETHING productive done, but my attempts are futile. My brain wants no parts of productivity sometimes and that’s fine.
Listen to Music
It feels great to grab my noise-cancelling headphones (truly a lifesaver) and listen to instrumental music to wind down. Lately, I’ve been enjoying Joey Alexander, in addition to The Piano Bar and Piano Chill playlists on Spotify.
Sometimes, there’s too much going on in my mind. My mind won’t stop and that prevents me from getting a good night’s rest. When I can feel that coming, I tend to write my thoughts in my journal so my mind can relax. As soon as the pen hits the paper, I feel better.
Take a Nap
Look. LOOK. LOOK! When I tell you naps are the BESTEST (yes, bestest) thing ever…I ain’t lying. Sometimes you need a nap just to regroup yourself. It can start as a power nap and end up being hours long. But when I wake up from a nap, I feel good all over. Whew!
Drink Something Relaxing
Whatever it is (e.g., alcohol, tea, coffee, water, etc.), I hope it helps you feel better. Cheers!
Scream, Laugh, and/or Cry
I have moments when I go through the motions of wanting to laugh, cry, and/or scream.
When I want to laugh:
I watch YouTube videos. My favorite ones are people doing stupid things and kids being kids.
I watch/listen to a lot of comedy shows. My favorites are by Bernie Mac, Katt Williams, Richard Pryor, and Gary Owen.
When I want to cry:
Crying in public is a no-no for me, so I do 99% of my crying sessions at home. As soon as I finish sobbing, I feel sooo much better.
When I want to scream:
Like crying, screaming in public is a no-no. If I’m driving, i just turn the music up and let it out. If I’m at home, I put a pillow over my mouth and let it rip. Immediate relief.
When I get home from a rough day, most of the time I don’t want to watch anything that requires a lot of thought. Watching comedy and reality shows along with cartoons really help me to relax.
I love to read. Being able to escape from reality for a bit works wonders.
That’s it for now. Tell me, how do you decompress? What works best for you?
This year’s mantra developed on a whim. For the past couple of months, I’ve been brainstorming ideas for this year’s mantra. Nothing seemed to stick out. While washing my hands, one word literally invaded my thoughts:
Immediately, realizes this was my 2016 mantra, I dried my hands, grabbed pen & paper, and started expanding on that idea. Here are a few that immediately came to mind:
All four of the above things are necessary if I am to accomplish all the goals I made while prepping for 2016. I’ve also struggled with all four above things in 2015. This is probably why I haven’t accomplished as much as I could have this year. That stops now.
[bctt tweet=”Knowing is half the battle. When you know better, you do better. “]