I’ve spent the last few years exploring this idea of self-care, what that looks like for me, how to stand up for my mental, emotional, and physical health, making time for me, discovering what brings me joy, how to truly rest, and learning to embrace myself through it all. You might be like, But Erica, self-care is just taking care of yourself, it can’t be that hard. Let me make one thing clear: in a society that tells women to eat right, weigh a certain amount (be skinny), look beautiful but not too beautiful (don’t be #fake), work hard but also focus on marriage, exercise but don’t get too buff or too skinny, smile more, accept compliments etc. it is really easy to loose yourself.
Society tells you that your worth is defined by these standards and how well you measure up. As a women I’ve felt that pressure to make myself smaller to fit in more. To make less waves. To go along to get along. Society wants us to be genuine, but only in a way that is acceptable. Society tells us how to measure our worth and that it can go up and down like the stock market. But my worth is not flexible or malleable, it is set in stone. I am worthy because I am me.
I am worthy. Period.
I have come a long way in loving myself as I am and committing to self-care on a regular basis. It’s the best choice I’ve ever made and I try to make that choice everyday. Yoga before bed, meditation as I fall asleep, a glass of water when I wake up–these are some small steps I take everyday to show myself love.
Being in Rwanda I’ve had to adjust my self-care routines a little, especially in the way I eat. Rwanda is a poor country, but that doesn’t mean it’s all dirt roads and clay huts. They have most of the foods we do in the States but because most people can’t afford expensive food they tend to stick to rice and beans, bread, porridge, and tea. It’s a carb-heavy diet because they need to stay full as long as possible since they don’t always know when their next meal will be. I didn’t pay much attention to what I was eating when I got here since I was trying to adjust, but now that I’ve settled in a bit more I’m re-evaluating my diet.
Since all the food sold at the market is fresh, that has been a great way to get healthy fruits and veggies into my diet (plus, I’m supporting local merchants!). The avocados are huge and so delicious! The bananas here are smaller (apparently what bananas are supposed to look like) and the tomatoes are heavenly! There’s no way around eating rice and beans for lunch since I eat with the teachers at school, but I don’t mind. Eating with the teachers has created a community that I’m so glad I’m a part of (community is another aspect of self-care!). Drinking lots of water has been a life-saver as well. It helps me stay alert and hydrated throughout the day; I used to drink maybe one glass of water a day (Gasp! I know) but compared to the water I drink now it’s made a huge difference. I have a water bottle with a life straw (Great product, I highly recommend) so the water is filtered as I drink it, which makes it a lot easier to drink water where ever I am. Drinking water is a simple way to show your body how much you love it. Finding new ways to love myself and my body in a different country has been a bit of a challenge, but it’s a challenge I am enjoying every step of the way!
Self-care looks different for everyone and that’s how it’s supposed to be! This coming week focus on how you show yourself love, even if it’s in really small ways–thinking positive things instead of weighing yourself down with doubt and disappointment, drinking a smoothie in the morning instead of coffee, making sure you take time for lunch, calling up a friend at the end of the day just chat.
What are ways you engage in self-care? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments, maybe I’ll add a few to my own routine! Have a lovely week and know that you are loved all the way from Rwanda!