You ever leave the company of an elder, a seasoned diva, and she bids you adieu with the adage, “Take Care”? Something about that directive, even if short-lived, resonates within the soul of a younger Queen. Why? Because she means it. Every single word of it. She means it because she remembers the days that she forgot to do just that, but she revels in the moments she actually remembered. It tingles within our psyche because we know what she’s telling us is true and real and necessary and hardly ever really done. For some reason, we as brown girls often have a hard time taking care of ourselves because we spend waaayyyy too much time taking care of every. one. else.
The barriers to self-care are easily bucketed, right? Budget. Money can be funny and often times it goes away faster than we can remember we need, let alone want, anything for ourselves. Time. Who has enough of that these days! Energy. When there is the time I just want to sit the hell down somewhere! Space. Sometimes, it’s hard to escape the world around us. Being a mom, small people could care less where you are…when they come looking, you will be found! So how do we take these barriers and transform them from obstacles to opportunities?
Be intentional: When possible, try to survey your week. What does it look like right now? Sunday or Monday are good days to gauge the upcoming week. Once you do that, be intentional about carving out time for YOU. What that looks like can vary, but be purposeful in MAKING time just for you. The key word here is MAKE. It’s not going to automatically populate in your calendar sis, you gotta put it there. Make time.
Be committed: When you carve out that time, don’t renig. Weigh your options. If you have a nail appointment and you know that those 45 minutes is the only time you will have to yourself for the next few days, then you have to be willing to say no or offer other options when necessary. Sometimes, you can say, “Not today, but what’s your Thursday look like?” However, other times it has to be a flat out, “Nah.”
- Be guilt-free: When you live a life in which many people rely on you, be it family, friends, church members or co-workers, it can often feel wrong to take care of yourself. Here is where the challenge comes, the struggle between matters of the heart and your actual sanity! Here is the fix: Do the math! If you decide to go to the spa and get a 1-hour massage, factor in your commute (and maybe the 2 minutes the masseuse spends waking you from a much-needed nap), you will have possibly devoted two hours to yourself. Now, add up how many hours you will have spent, in that one day, doing, getting, saying, being, listening, asking, comforting…all for people that ARE NOT YOU! That, ladies, is how you remove the guilt. Get it outta here! Miss me with it! If your day consists of roughly 18 “woke” hours and you only spend 2 of them on yourself, the ratio indicates that girl you eeaarrnneed it! *in my Weekend voice*
Here’s the hard, fast truth: There is no precise science to taking care of yourself. Even when the budget is low, taking a walk in a local park or sitting in Barnes and Noble flipping through a magazine is all yours for the time you allot. If you are not taking care of you, you are no good to anyone else. And let’s face it, many of us need to be good FOR many, so it’s necessary for us to be good TO ourselves. Be intentional; be committed; be guilt-free…and take care.