Throughout my life, I’ve realized that there are two words that have basically described my identity as a Latin woman: passionate and stubborn. Any time that I’ve been described as such, my reaction has either been: get angry (passionate) and/or to completely disagree despite the facts (stubborn). Now, if you’ve had the pleasure of knowing or having any kind of relationship with a Latina, you know there’s nothing that makes us more angry than to call us out when we are wrong. Yet at the same time, Latinas are among the most nurturing and loving women on the planet.
In my personal experience, I’ve noticed that while we are willing to do anything we can to take care of our loved ones, we don’t always care for ourselves in the same way. We learn to give love but don’t know how to receive it. So in a way, our identities and our worth is defined by the lovingness we have for others.
To make a very long story short, I’ll describe last year in one word: introspective. I reassessed my career path, what I want/need from personal/work relationships. I questioned what I was passionate about and who I want to become. No biggie, right? I couldn’t help feeling like somewhat of a failure because at some point in my life, I told myself that I should have it all figured out by now.
In an effort to have all these things figured out, I was anxious, most likely depressed and not fully LIVING. Sometimes I felt like life was just happening to me rather than being an active participant. That shit needed to change. I knew that if I wanted to get back to LIVING, I had to take responsibility for my happiness. To me, that meant giving back to myself as much as I give to my loved ones.
My mission was to find ways to practice self love on a daily basis.
There are three recurring moments when I usually feel the most compelled to taking better care of myself: when I’ve over eaten, when I’m PMSing and Sunday nights. Hmm— great, so I basically want to be my best self out of guilt. Cool. What if I chose to take care of myself because I love myself rather than doing it because I feel bad about eating a croissant and a slice of pizza on the same day?
I did some research (nerd alert!) on the whole “self-care” thing. I can’t lie and say I’ve never posted a picture on instagram with a fresh mani along with a #selfcare. As much as I love getting my nails done— powder gel anyone? I decided that self care doesn’t have to be something I do once in a while. It’s also not limited to things to buy or food to eat.
How to Create Your Personal Self Care Routine
Asking myself the next few questions, helped me create a list of ways I can practice self love. There’s a mix of things to do that also doesn’t cost much if anything other than time. Ya girl is on a budget but I also don’t believe you shouldn’t do what you want. Just save up for the bigger treats! So cozy up, answer these questions honestly and let yourself really envision what you want out of your new rituals!
Step 1: So, what do I like to do for fun?
I’m not kidding when I tell you that this simple question was so hard for me to answer at first. If someone were to ask me what I liked my job, I’d easily come up with a ton of reasons. We often forget that it is up to us to create beautiful moments in life. It’s easy to become a workaholic and devote all of yourself to build someone else’s dream. Remember that in the end, the memories we make are really all that ever matters. So ask yourself: what do you like to do for fun?
Step 2: What workouts make you feel strong inside and out?
When I go to the gym, I say I’m going in for a self-care session. It sounds more motivating to me than just saying I’m going to “workout”. What I love about practicing fitness is how it keeps me focused. The only thing that matters in that moment are the muscles that are making each exercise happen. There’s this sense of peace I get from the struggle of lifting weights. After it’s done, I can’t help but feel empowered, grateful and connected to my body.
Step 3: What foods make you feel nourished?
We’ve all had that feeling after we’ve eaten too much or when we have food that we know isn’t the healthiest. We feel like shit. I’m not talking about the guilt that may come from it, I’m literally talking about energy levels dropping, how bloated and generally BLAH we feel. I’ll never be the person who will tell you not to eat the foods you love but I will always encourage to choose healthier versions of those foods. I also understand that certain foods just don’t taste as great when it’s all healthy-fied like a bacon egg and cheese for example. You need to go to corner deli for that. Eating well is really about making mindful decisions about what you put into your body. (Stay tuned for a future post on this!)
Step 4: Make yourself a priority
Although this is the last step, it’s really the most important. It sounds so simple. Until you’re presented with having to choose between answering a work e-mail on your day off OR honoring your day to give back to yourself. Making yourself a priority can also mean saying no to friends, family and going out. That’s OK! Take care of you and you can better for everyone else.
I don’t have all the answers and I can’t control every aspect of my life. But by choosing my reactions to situations, choosing nourishing foods, getting my self-care sessions in, I can be a better participant in life. How will you take care of yourself?