The Self-care series: Part 1.
It’s been a while. I hope you are keeping well and staying safe.
I have been debating what to write about, too many ideas sometimes.
Considering that a new war has just started, it felt inappropriate to write about myself.
It’s really sad to see what’s going on. I am also concerned about my own country, Romania. They have been bombing really close to the border too…
Wars shouldn’t exist. It’s heartbreaking to see so many lives taken and countries destroyed because people are greedy for more power.
I hope this will all end soon, not only in Ukraine but in all the countries that are still experiencing this horrific war. It’s even worse to see people still failing to see that we are all humans, no matter our skin colour, country, religion.
Nobody is superior, everyone deserves to be treated humanely and with kindness.
I know a lot of people don’t want to hear it, but the Universe does not care about any of these.
All that matters at the end is the type of person you are.
Like I said, I don’t feel like talking about myself today.
Let’s start by talking about the importance of creating a daily self-care routine.
We are so used to taking care of others, but I doubt that many of us were ever taught how important it is to take care of ourselves, or how to even do it.
Creating a new habit is not easy, it can be equally scary and frustrating. It takes more than motivation to improve your life. It takes commitment, consistency, and accountability.
So how do we get started? The answer is: baby steps!
I would suggest to write three goals down on a piece of paper. Self-care means prioritising yourself and your well-being.
My advice is to consider: expressing gratitude, meditation, improving your sleep, and learning about your nervous system.
There is so much to write about these subjects that I am afraid I won’t be able to cover them as much as I want in one article, so I will try to make it into a series of articles.
Also, today marks one year of daily meditation and I am just so proud of this!
Today’s topic: gratitude!
Why is gratitude so important?
A lot of people find it very hard to express gratitude. I have to admit, it was difficult for me as well. I was depressed, sleep deprived and a ‘negative’ person.
What happens when you create a daily habit of expressing gratitude is rather fascinating.
Did you know that it can rewire your brain?
Neuroplasticity, also known as the brain plasticity, refers to the brain’s malleability.
This term is used when talking about the brain’s ability to adapt and change.
I will keep this simple because it’s quite a complex subject, and I will try to focus mostly on how gratitude plays an important role.
After many studies, it’s understood that the brain possesses the amazing ability of creating new neural networks, reorganise pathways, and to change its molecular structure in ways that can make us healthier and happier.
The brain regions associated with gratitude are part of the neural network that lights up when we experience pleasure and we socialise. The same regions are also connected to the areas of the brain that control stress relief and emotion regulation.
When you experience the feeling of gratitude, your brain releases ‘happy hormones’ such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These hormones are not only associated with happiness but also mood regulation, and pain management.
Practicing gratitude can shift you from fight-or-flight mode into a calmer mode, therefore it helps your nervous system and teaches you to handle stress better.
Gratitude can significantly reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and improve your sleep.
It's best if you start practicing gratitude right after you wake up, and make it your morning routine.
It can set the tone for the entire day. Five minutes are more than enough to begin with.
I will tell you how I started. Struggling with self hate I couldn’t really think of anything about myself that I was grateful for, so I started looking around.
I love taking pictures of the sky so I focused on this. I bought a gratitude journal but this is optional, a regular notebook will do as well.
I wrote: ‘Today I am grateful for…’, and I tried to write three things, such as: I am grateful that the sky is clear today, I am grateful to feel the cold morning breeze on my skin, I am grateful to see birds flying and chirping.
This is not an easy practice, no matter how simple it might seem at first.
It genuinely takes daily practice until you can start expressing gratitude towards your own life and yourself.
I won’t sugar coat it, you don’t go from disliking yourself to loving yourself in a matter of days. Remember that the damage caused by years of neglect and negative patterns will take quite some time to improve.
Some days, you will feel like you are not making any progress, but you cannot give up.
It will get challenging when you try to name things about yourself that you are grateful for.
I want you to remember something, you need to be your own saviour!
The most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself!
Change starts with you and it comes from within.
The truth is that you are responsible for creating your own happiness and well-being. I know that it requires a lot of work, and it’s really painful to feel your own feelings sometimes, so most people run away from it and they would rather numb themselves with people, activities, different substances...
Pretty much anything that can distract them from feeling their own feelings.
It seems like the easy way of ‘getting over’ and ‘moving on’. That’s a pretty lie!
However, repressing them won’t do any good, they will still come back in waves and they will be even more intense. Acknowledge them and let them go before they take control of your life and you become a prisoner of your own mind.
Change and healing take time, you owe it to yourself to put in the work, no matter how hard it is, to improve your life.
Time doesn’t wait for anyone, don’t wait until tomorrow to start working on yourself.
New beginnings are always difficult but we all start somewhere.
Healing doesn’t mean avoidance. Healing requires courage, hard work, vulnerability and exploring your own emotions, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.
Change truly comes from within, you are the author of your life, don’t let others write your story!
Count your blessings! You have no idea how impactful this can be.
I really hope you found this article useful. As always, I am always willing to learn more so if you feel like it needed more information, feel free to tell me.
I will try to post every two weeks to complete this Self-care series.
Remember that you are not alone and I am always here for you.
You can be the change you want to see in the world, don’t be afraid to let your light shine.
Take care of yourself!
Today's song is not related to the article, I just really like it: https://youtu.be/ZB5yS1i72pk