The Importance of Self-Care

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

Ever since I became a mama back in 2013, I’ve realized how important it is to take care of myself. And if you’re reading this, I’m sure you can relate: With all of our roles and responsibilities as women, it can be difficult to find — or should I say make — time for ourselves. What I’ve learned is that while people love and care about you, they, more than likely, aren’t going to make sure you make you a priority. You have to do that yourself, or it won’t happen. You also have to learn that you can’t give to and care for your family, clients, etc. if you’re depleted with nothing left to give.

I learned this the hard way after burning myself out a few times and just feeling extremely frustrated with how things were going in my life. I now know that if I don’t make sure I’m taken care of — spiritually, mentally, physically — I can’t do my best. So, I’ve made a commitment to putting myself first and taking care of me. Of course, as with all things, some days are better than others, but I see that when I make an effort to take care of myself, I find that I’m much more at peace and am better able to handle the curve balls throughout the day.

If you feel like you don’t have time to take care of yourself, I encourage you to remember this quote from Eleanor Brownn:

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

 

 

How to Create a Gratitude Journal (and Why You Should)

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

I can’t remember when I first heard of gratitude journals, but I started keeping one back in 2008. That year, I’d graduated from college and had really gotten into reading self-help books, which is where I learned about the power of gratitude, affirmations, visualization, and the Law of Attraction. So, I started writing down five things I was grateful for every day. And while there are sometimes I forget or am tired, I now write in mine every night before going to bed.

Why should you keep a gratitude journal?

  • A gratitude journal helps you keep things in perspective. It allows you to see that no matter how bad things may be right now, they could be worse, so you always have something to be thankful for.
  • It encourages you to begin looking for the positive throughout the day.
  • A gratitude journal puts you in a positive mood. After a while, you begin to see all the good you have in your life — big and small.
  • It helps you not take the little things for granted. You’ll have those days when nothing seems to be going right, and you can’t seem to think of anything to be thankful for. That’s when you dig deep, and think about the fact that you have breath in your body, some food, clothing, shelter, a family, etc. — the things you usually forget about because they’re always there.
  • According to an article on Forbes.com, gratitude can help you sleep better and increase your mental strength.

How to Keep a Gratitude Journal

Find a journal. Or notebook. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy (unless that’s your thing). I’ve found cute journals at TJ Maxx, Ross, Citi Trends, and even Dollar General. There are also apps you can use (the one I currently use is simply called Gratitude Journal. 

Set aside time to write in it. I like to write in mine before I go to sleep (it’s part of my nighttime ritual), but you can write in it whenever you want. I suggest writing in it right when you wake up or right before you go to sleep since it’s easier to remember to do it.

Write down three to five things you’re thankful for. Usually, I like to think about things that have happened during the day that I’m thankful for, but sometimes, I write about the things I might take for granted like my family or having a bed (especially for those long days when I can’t wait to crawl in it).

Gratitude should not just be a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good, even in unpleasant situations. Start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.” – Marelisa Fabrega