Step One To Contentment

Self-care has become quite the ‘in’ thing on social media with hashtags making rounds on every platform. Though flippant at first, it was only when things started catching up to me in the past year that I’ve realised the importance of self-care and, as a result, I’ve become an advocate for it. 

Methods vary for everyone but here are a few things that have worked for me:

*Worry time*
The first time I heard about this, I may have rolled my eyes and smiled at the idea of postponing your worries. Worries – no matter what – constantly block our path in life and make living moment-to-moment more difficult. The aim of establishing a designated worry time is to postpone what’s bothering you in the present moment so that you worry about it at a later time in the day. By scheduling time for this, I’ve been able to focus on the task at hand, knowing that I’ll go through my worries later. I dedicate 20 minutes every week during which I write down my worries or talk through them. It’s almost comforting knowing that a piece of paper is carrying all my worries and that I can now take them out of my brain (someone I know likes to bin their worries – or burn them!).

That initial roll of my eyes very quickly turned into a smile of relief!

*A day to yourself*
Between work, uni, family and other commitments, I see my diary fill up pretty quickly – and, before you know it, days have turned into weeks. As wonderful as it is to give a part of yourself to others – be it time, money, service – I’ve noticed that sometimes I forget to leave a part of me for myself. And if you can relate, you know you find yourself too drained to continue doing what you do in life.

To tackle this, I recently started leaving a day free in my diary for myself. And yes, it is easier said than done, but it counts even if you can squeeze half a day in to jump into bed and read a book you’ve been meaning to for a while or watch the series you’ve fallen behind on in your most fluffy PJs or – even better – do nothing. To achieve this, I end up either cancelling some less valuable tasks, postponing them to a later day if possible or waking up earlier the following day to get it done. But it’s worth it. 

Charge your battery, fill up your fuel and then hit the accelerator. It has helped set the pace for the days ahead and has decreased burn-out in the past few weeks for me.

*Value your values*
Humans are social beings and we’ve always run around in groups since the beginning of time. Why should individualisation change that today? 

I’ve been brought up in a family committed to community service and, naturally, I’ve adopted that value. It gives me joy and fulfillment to be part of a wonderful community that has only ever showed love to anyone that has come their way. The projects I’ve been involved with at mosque have varied from food drives for the homeless and charity fundraisers to health awareness and sports. 

By either organising or participating in these, I’ve felt a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose. Volunteering with other people to bring your bit of goodness to the world has gone a long way for myself and the people around me.

So my question to you is: what adds value to your life? 
Do more of that.

*And finally…*
For someone to have written a self-care message, you’d think I have my life together all the time. Little do you know what a mess it often is! The methods I mentioned are my ways of managing my worries and I can’t say I religiously stick to them all the time. It may work differently for you but I’d encourage you to consciously give yourself some ‘me time’ because nothing works unless you do.

At the end of the day, knowing that I’ve done whatever I possibly could have to manage my worries/solve a problem/fulfill my responsibilities, relief comes when I leave it in the hands of God. He’ll sort me out; He always does.

God bless.