Exhausted. Drained. Fatigued. Out of gas.
Whatever you want to call it… we all hit a point in which we need time to reset ourselves. Whether you become socially, physically, or emotionally fatigued – you are not alone. When I start to “burn out”, my inner flame flickers with no remorse. This burnout is not created through months of exhausting work schedules or huge changes in someone’s life; I’m talking about the fatigue of a long week. A long day. A long afternoon.
When this feeling starts to sink – I imagine there are thermometer looking valves inside of my brain, and the meter is slowly starting to creep to that “DANGER” zone.
Forgetting we need self care on a daily basis is the first problem. I’ve found there’s a misconception around self care: we, as humans, act as though it needs to be earned through “giving our all” everyday, day after day. Self care is not “earned”, it is deserved for everyone. Whether you sat on your couch all Saturday and binged on Chinese food – or you had a typical stressful day at your office 9-5, you deserve self care. You have earned self care because you are trying your best.
You might say, “No… I really didn’t try my best today”, and for that I say, “You did the best you could with the tools you have in your arsenal right now”.
These are some of my self care rituals that work for me. Everyone values their rituals differently, so I encourage everyone to find a pattern that works for them. However, if you need a few pointers, I’m here. If you practice great self-care already, you may find these suggestions a little romanticized or even elementary, as it is aimed for beginners.
I will blame this on being a Cancer (Sun sign), and my romantic nature for all things water. But, you cannot tell me a bath isn’t one of the most comforting things of all time. I understand how this can be considered the “standard” of what people think when they hear “self care”. I imagine a huge, overflowing tub, exploding with bath bubbles everywhere, and maybe even some rose petals….that isn’t necessary. Or practical. What I will say though, is that for me, a bath gives me a quiet, warm, comforting place to sit and feel completely alone. Not only do I feel like the warm (sometimes scalding hot) water helps me release any toxins I may be holding in my skin, but in my heart and emotions as well. Giving me an opportunity to scrub away the day allows me to move on from anything I may be carrying unnecessarily.
As weird as it may sound, being naked doesn’t hurt either.
My ritual: Run a hot bath. Light 3-5 candles. Turn off all artificial lighting. Play meditative music over my speaker. Put my phone in a place where I can’t reach it. Breathe.
I’ve been an advocate of journaling since the 4th grade, when my best friend gave me a diary for Christmas. My diary had a tiny lock with a matching key, black velvet on the front, and a faux leather binding. I can honestly say, that day changed my life. I have every journal I’ve ever written in since 2016… as for the 10 other journals I’ve written in before that… I believe they’re floating around somewhere in the universe.
For me, journaling means being able to “name and claim” everything from small details of my day to dreams and future goals. My journal is my buddy. My best friend. My one way conversation partner. My unfiltered thoughts. My confidant who knows me, even better than my therapist.
Your writing doesn’t have to be great. But, just the act of writing – especially writing about bothersome situations or your burn out itself, can help you realize so much about yourself and your own motives. Journaling is a safe place to flesh out everything on your mind.
My ritual: Burning incense. Sitting with my journal. Adding the date at the top of the page. Writing about my day. 3-5 times a week.
This is probably my most controversial suggestion, and one my friends will see and say, “Oh – so that’s what you were doing…. sure…..”.
Let’s get one thing straight. I am the Queen of cancelling plans. If I had a nickel for every time I flaked out on plans made, I would have at least enough money to buy a Sausage-Egg McMuffin and potentially an iced coffee from McDonalds. I’m not proud of it. There are other reasons I have cancelled plans with friends, which I’d like to dive into in another blog post.
As far as cancelling plans to reset yourself with self care: do it. If you are at a point of social exhaustion, there is no way to properly enjoy yourself at a party, event, or whatever, if you have nothing to give. I can imagine only a few worse things than being at a function you don’t want to be at. You get crabby, moody, and look absolutely miserable. Let’s not forget the feeling of being asked to take a picture with someone, slapping on a fake smile, posing, and letting your enthusiasm slip the second the flash turns off. I reflect on every college party I didn’t attend in order to take time for myself, and I have no regrets.
Cancelling plans to practice much needed self care instead: yes
Cancelling plans because you don’t think you deserve companionship: no
My ritual: I attempt to make the decision to cancel after imagining how I would feel at the function. If I feel as though I have nothing to give in a social setting and instead want to take some much needed alone time, I contact the friend as soon as possible. I ask for forgiveness, and explain it’s best for my mental health to take a night off.
Warm blankets, your favorite movie, and your favorite treat. There is nothing wrong with indulgence in a time of re-centering yourself. Whether you gravitate towards art, warmth, or writing a letter – you deserve to take the time to nurture yourself. Really asking yourself, “What do I need right now? What can I do to ease my anxiety?”, is all it takes, if you can be honest enough with yourself to answer the question and follow it through.
My suggestion: cell phone time is not comfort time. Consuming 7 different types of media by scrolling and clicking for hours is not comfort time.
My ritual: In times of extreme reset, I go back to the classics. Yes, movies. I will watch The Breakfast Club whenever I need a social reset (so yes, I can quote almost all of it). I reach for my paint by numbers and continue to work on a sunflower picture. I sit, covered in a blanket, and just breathe.
You’ve probably heard this term through “Spiritual” Tik Tok, your hippie friend, or the yoga instructor you follow on Instagram. Manifestation is a real concept with real results. Let me re-phrase that… Manifestation is what you make of it through your perceived reality.
Okay… Let me re-phrase that again, because even I rolled my eyes at that last statement. Manifestation is the practice of combining meditation and the belief that “if you dream it, it can become your reality”.
I make the claim of “real results”, because I have seen and experience what manifestation has done for my outlook on life, and my self confidence. It is the ultimate “fake it ’till you make it” ritual. Manifestation works in a way that you can “name and claim” ideas like your dreams, money “mantras”, self love improvement, and giving positive energy into the universe (that you may or may not believe is listening). If anything, these affirmations have helped me stay calm and in control, when I felt as though I’ve had no control.
Examples for anyone interested in learning more:
Yes Supply Blog : https://www.yessupply.co/20-affirmations-to-manifest-your-yes/
Happy Globalized Blog : https://www.happilyglobalized.com/how-manifestation-works-examples/
My ritual: To be honest, I’m still working this practice into my self-care routine – but, it’s a suggestion I’m making so we can all start manifesting our dreams more. The most powerful manifestation session I had was on the Jupiter/Saturn Conjunct on December 21st 2020. I took this day to write out my dreams and opportunities I want to strive for within the next year. Through a guided meditation session, and manifestation video I found on YouTube, I felt connected to my own direction going forward.
Take care of yourself as if you’re ill: Drink lots of fluids. Nap when you need it. Be kind to yourself. Eat soup. Treat your body as if it is battling the flu. You would never expect yourself to “give everything you’ve got”, show up to social functions, and do unnecessary house work while sick – so why do we expect to take care of it all when we are ill from a lack of self care? Take yourself at your own pace – but rest in whatever way you see fit.