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  • Writer's pictureAnita Vandyke

Do you need a commitment to self-care?

I’ve physically and emotionally let myself go lately, trying to juggle a book deadline with some health hurdles and also moving house! It’s taken a toll on my self-esteem and I no longer recognise the tired person in the mirror. It’s time for a reboot!

Over the years, I’ve come to realise, if I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of others. It's the same for most women I know. We strive to achieve goals, look after others, but we forget to look after ourselves. Do you need a commitment to self-care? Here is how I plan to do it...

Here are my new commitments to self-care:

1. Sort out my diet – I usually eat a plant-filled diet full of home cooked meals, but lately, due to exhaustion, I’ve found myself dining out a lot and not being careful with what I eat. Food is medicine, and as a Medical student, I’ve always understood that, but lately, I’ve chosen convenience over self-care. It’s time to reinvigorate my diet. I am making a list of tools in my kitchen that needs to be updated to make this transition easier. This includes getting a new high powered blender to make green smoothies. As summer is approaching, I also love home-made ice blocks, I am going to get some popsicle moulds to make some healthy, zero waste options.

What are ways that you can reinvigorate your diet?

  • Do a quick diet challenge such as meatless Mondays? or try going sugar-free?

  • Plan some new meals to add to your usual repertoire

  • Clean out your pantry and fridge and eat up your stores!

2. Making time for a luxurious skin care routine – I hate fussing with long skincare routines, but after watching some Into the Gloss Youtube videos I’ve realised my current skin care routine is not reflecting the care I need for my acne-prone, oily skin. My skin has been looking lack lustre and it’s a reflection of my lack of self-care. Rather, than rushing through my beauty regime, I should use it as a time to caress, massage and take care of my skin. If nothing else, it is a bit of ‘me’ time that I should prioritise for myself.

What are ways that you can reinvigorate your skin care routine?

  • Make your own products (see my recipes section)

  • Treat yourself to one product that you've been meaning to try

  • Set aside time to give yourself a facial

3. Exercise – a little bit goes a long way. With my current health hurdles, it’s been difficult to get motivated, also the streets of San Francisco are not conducive to a relaxing walk. I am moving to the South Peninsula and I am hoping this will change. I am committing to returning to yoga, swimming and gentle walks. It doesn’t have to be much, but I do need to have some form of movement everyday.

What are ways that you can reinvigorate your exercise routine?

  • Try a new sport, hobby or exercise

  • Invite a friend to join you

  • Try an online challenge

4. Stop watching mindless television – have you noticed as a society, one of the ways we relax is to watch television. To distract ourselves or to unwind from our day we fill our minds with mindless television. I am guilty of doing this myself and it needs to stop. I have no qualms about watching mindful television, but using it as a distraction has become a bad habit. To unwind, I am going to listen to gentle music, do some light stretches, read something nourishing or just sit quietly. I need to retrain my concentration muscle to be able to sit quietly in a room without the constant need for distraction.

What are some things you can do instead of watching television?

  • Go for a neighbourhood walk

  • Visit your local library

  • Try new recipes and enjoy the process of cooking

5. Buying tools that you need – being a minimalist makes you question every purchase, however, this can also go too far. I’ve realised that over the past few months I’ve been reluctant to buy things for fear that I will accumulate too much stuff. But I’ve realised, I do need some new tools to help make my life easier. I am making a list (and checking it twice) and going to go a small splurge to make my life easier. Things such as new underwear, face towels and blender are needed.

What are some things you to sort out to make your life easier?

  • Do you have old appliances that need replacing?

  • Do you need to do a mini-decluttering challenge?

  • Do you need to update some essentials such as underwear, socks, pyjamas?

Remember, self-care is not a dirty word. It’s not about vanity, rather, it’s about self-love. Women in particular have a hard time placing themselves first. I am learning to say no to overcommitting myself, and yes to more self-care. Surrendering to the needs of my mind, body and heart is not weakness, it is a sign of strength. We can’t flog a dead horse, it’s time to stop pushing and start taking care of ourselves.

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