By Sade Andria Zabala
Perhaps one of the most significant realizations I’ve come to this year is that Consumerism really is a bitch. Along with its partner, Capitalism, the movement is so insidious that it has somehow infiltrated our most personal moments. Capitalism and Consumerism have managed to tie themselves with our self-worth, that we’ve begun to buy into the assumption we need to constantly spend money to be happy.
While this may be true to an extent (since, after all, money gives us access to resources which may lead to happiness), it has also warped how we view self-love and care.
Many online posts on self-care seem to indicate that the concept is exclusive for individuals who possess the means to date themselves and indulge themselves once in awhile. This shouldn’t be the case. Self-care isn’t necessarily about treating yourself to a bubble bath, scented candle, sushi dinner, juice-fasting detox program, gym membership, or vacation.
Self-care is more than just little luxuries. It is a discipline that ought to be open to everyone.
There are ways you can practice self-care, even if you can’t afford to spoil yourself with a face mask, new book or liquid lipstick.
1. Take care of your body.
Treat yourself to an early bed time where you can catch up on some well-deserved rest. Brush your teeth, shower, get up not too late in the morning.
If you can’t afford to go on an organic diet then try to eat well, enough, and on time. Take your medicine routinely. Stay hydrated and commit a portion of your time to exercising (such as running or doing push-ups).
Change your perspective on meditation if you believe it is relegated to expensive yoga classes (which you don’t have time to attend even if you could afford to).
You can easily meditate 5 minutes a day, anytime and anywhere!
3. Indulge in a break.
Give yourself a mental break when you’re tired, even for just a few minutes or hours. You can do simple things such as walk to the park to appreciate the nature and fresh air, watch the sunrise or sunset, gaze at the stars in silence, or take a nap.
4. Let go of unfulfilling or unhealthy relationships.
Whether it’s a bad friend, abusive parent, or insensitive romantic partner—if someone is constantly dragging you down, then you’re better off without them. Don’t be afraid to be alone!
5. Stand up for yourself.
Speak up if you feel as though you’re being used, taken advantage of, belittled or ignored. If someone discriminates against you for whatever reason, call them out. If you’re a grown-up who still has a verbally abusive parent, fight back.
6. Forgive yourself. Forgive others.
Cut yourself some slack especially when it feels like you fall short of something you’ve been striving to attain. Allow yourself to get a C in an exam or to screw up with a task. Things don’t always need to be perfect, and you always have the option to learn and change.
7. Be your own cheerleader and best friend.
Encourage yourself to try things you’re scared to do.
Celebrate, love, and accept yourself, even when society’s ridiculous standards make you feel otherwise.
You don’t need to pay for material things or fun activities in order to love yourself. You can love yourself by refusing discriminatory social norms, not adhering to beauty expectations, and by doing many other non-costly practices.
9. Ask help and accept help.
Perhaps you find it difficult to reach out to others for help, whether it’s asking someone to talk with you when feel lonely or asking someone to assist you with a work-related task. Maybe you’re shy, or proud, or afraid of repercussion, or anxious to disturb others.
But every now and then, we need support and guidance. Admit when you can’t handle something, and don’t be afraid to inquire other people for their advice and expertise. Go ahead – call a friend, seek a colleague.
10. Be you.
Just be you, and don’t feel guilty about it. Whether that you today is grumpy, or sad, or exhausted.
Sometimes self-care means not pushing yourself to be happy and positive all the time. Sometimes it means canceling plans and taking a timeout when you’re too drained to go on social media, or reply to text messages, or go out with friends.
11. Allow yourself to be average.
Don’t stress about your reputation or about being the most smart, successful, or beautiful person in the room. Don’t overwork yourself trying to compete with others in order to appear the best and brightest.
The truth is, the majority of us are just average people trying to survive an average existence. There’s nothing wrong with that.
12. Remind yourself that you are worth it.
You shouldn’t wait for others to verify your value. Tell yourself gentle and affectionate affirmations. Start with this:
You are never too poor to take care of yourself. You are never too poor to deserve to feel loved, at peace, and happy.