Over the years I’ve come to realize there’s a major difference between selfcare as an emergency service and proactive selfcare. When I’m at my best, I’m caring for myself before I need to. When I’m at my worst I’m depleted, and I find life very difficult—which certainly includes selfcare. At my worst, I procrastinate caring for myself and tend to engage in negative behaviors like the ones I previously wrote about https://betterbertie.com/2020/09/17/selfcare-basics/.
I define proactive selfcare as caring for one’s self as a habit, it’s something that’s folded into each day. I have many hobbies, for lack of a better word, that help fill my soul. If I don’t engage in these hobbies enough, I become irritable. Overtime I’ve learned to view feelings of irritation and frustration as a sign that I need to care for myself. Typically, if I’m feeling irritated, I haven’t taken the time to proactively care for myself and I’m in a state of depletion. As a way to mitigate this I try to proactively care for myself with the 10 habits below.
10 Ways I proactively care for myself
For a long time, I hated working out because I would force myself to do yoga, run long distances, or engage in a circuit workout—all of which I’m not a fan of. When I found lifting everything changed. Lifting alleviated anger and frustration and gave me a specify focus for channeling those feelings. I am particularly fond of going to the gym when there are experienced lifters there, which tends to be after work. Seeing different people’s routines and their intensity forces me to give my all. I find the gym to be restorative and it helps with my mental health.
I walk every day. I love to walk, and my dog loves it too. In some of the most difficult moments of my life I’ve gone for walks that have helped me channel my energy. I can’t exactly explain why I need to walk, but I know mentally and emotionally I’m not complete unless I’ve dedicated some part of my day to it. I come home feeling restored and centered.
Hiking is a hobby that I tend to engage in a once or twice a month. It is a spiritual practice that draws me closer to God. When I’m in nature everything in the world seems beautiful and full of surprises. It has taught me to depend on my body and to push myself mentally. By hiking a few times a month, I’m reminded of all that I can do and the beauty that surrounds me.
What a love-hate relationship. I love to write, but sometimes it becomes chore-like. If I don’t write enough, I become less creative, less interesting, and less interested in the world around me. Writing helps me see the potential in everything, every person, every moment. It has forced me to grow emotionally and to see the gaps in my growth.
I love food and I’m always gonna love food. For a long time, I felt a lot of guilt for eating food I labeled “junk.” I found myself in a cycle of restricting “junk” food and then binging because I had restricted. Slowly with time I’ve stopped restricting food and have made it a priority to enjoy the food I eat. Taking care of my body is a very important part of taking care of my mind.
Watching Good Movies
Can anyone say horror? It’s my favorite. I love watching good horror movies, in fact, I love watching bad horror movies. Watching movies has become a big part of my life. They keep me creative and show me the beauty in the world and some of the ugly parts too. I love being able to slip into someone’s mind for 90 minutes. Horror movies have allowed me to experience my fears in a safe space which has helped me overcome a lot of my greatest fears.
Present Who I Am to the World on My Own Terms
This is not a catchy subheading but it’s to the point. Somedays I love to wear makeup and somedays I don’t want to wear any. Some days I like tight fitting clothes and other days, not so much. Some months my hair is purple and some months my hair is blonde. The only thing that really matters to me is that I choose it because that’s what I wanted for the day. Each day has a different feel for me, with a different purpose, and it’s important to me to dress for that energy. Doing what I want with my appearance allows me to be creative and to feel at home in my own body. If I don’t take care of myself in this way, I find myself becoming bored and I suffer from low self-esteem.
I used to have major qualms with saying I went to church and I believed in God. I thought somehow this made me less scientific or less open to people from different backgrounds. I was wrong. Church is an integral part of managing my whole self. Listening to a sermon that forces me to grow and look inward has been integral to my self-acceptance. If I miss church, I lose track of who I am and the find myself feeling lost. Church allows me to recenter myself before the start of each week.
I’m in constant dialogue with God all day. If I’m in a conversation and it’s particularly difficult I’m praying about how to respond with kindness. If I’m scared or nervous, I’m praying about that. Through all points in my day I’m asking for courage or strength in some capacity. This has helped me better handle situations that honor who I’d like to be. I find myself behaving in ways I admire and responding instead of reacting. This has helped to boost my confidence and to live in accordance with my values and morals.
Hangout with friends
I have to hangout with friends at least once a week to get outside of my own head—even when I don’t wanna. If left to my own devices I will isolate which is very bad for my spirit. I’ve found that being around friends helps me laugh with ease and reminds me not to take life so seriously. Getting outside of myself is another important part to keeping my spirit healthy.
These are just 10 of the proactive habits I engage in to help me feel centered. I have lots of little micro-habits, which maybe I’ll write about later, that help me feel centered as well. Forcing myself to sit down and write what I need to do proactively to care for myself has been another step toward healing. Let me know what your habits are below so I can add them into my rotation! Thanks for reading!
Next week on Better Bertie:
- Will I get just a little bit better?
- Will there be another adorable picture of Bertie?
Tune in to find out…