Self-Care Tip #1: Read

Hello everyone,

And welcome to the first Self-Care Tip post! As I’ve stated before what makes this blog different from a lot of other blogs is my active encouragement surrounding personal wellness and self-care to help build self-confidence and personal value. Every couple of weeks in between outfit posts, I’ll be posting these tips on how to take better care of yourself and your personal wellness. Many of us tend forget how important it is to take care of ourselves in the midst of our day to day lives and can find ourselves stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious. I discovered self-care a few years back while I was in Grad School undergoing counseling after my own bout with anxiety and depression had gotten out of control and started to consume my life. My therapist at the time helped me lay out different steps and tools that allowed me to take my life back and regain control of it, which ranged from simply writing to getting out of the house and trying a new restaurant. As simple as it sounds, getting started can be the most difficult thing to do, so I wanted to make sure I laid out simple tasks for helping others take their first steps towards personally caring for themselves :)

This week’s tip is Read! Books have always been my favorite thing, and reading my favorite pastime. As a kid, I remember the numerous trips to the library or bookstore, Scholastic Book fairs, and even my favorite children books. I loved the idea of learning something new or getting lost in a story. I still have (and still read) my favorite Fred Crump, Jr. books from when I was a kid. When it was on my terms or a subject I enjoyed, I LOVED READING. 

As an academician, reading did became kind of a ‘job’, but I remained diligent in maintaining my love of reading, keeping my favorite books near for my own enjoyment and personal well being. That deliberate distinction I made for myself between reading for fun and school allowed it to became my safe haven and escape from the outside world. It not only enhanced my thinking, but opened my mind to new ideas as well, no matter how trivial the topic. It gave me a break from my personal stresses and allowed me turn my mind off and let my imagination roam as far as it wanted to. Reading can be the ultimate form of self-care because it’s something done for your OWN personal enjoyment and has been proven to relieve both stress and anxiety. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I like to take an hour or two out of my day, away from everything to just sit and read. You can either start your morning with it, use your lunch break, wait until the end of the day or even take time out of your weekend, it doesn’t matter when you choose as long as you’re taking the time to do what’s best for your self-care routine. And it can be any book of your choosing, as long as it is something you enjoy. The key is to make sure you enjoy it!

Here are a few of my favorite books and recent reads below:

My favorite books of all time are Jason & Kyra and No Disrespect. Now while teen love stories can be some of the cheesiest AND corniest things life has to offer, Dana Davidson’s Jason & Kyra does an amazing job of making teen love not only relatable, but realistic, it changed my life at 15 and I haven’t been the same since. It actually made me love LOVE, and I ain’t ashamed to say there’s nothing I enjoy more than a good love story. Sistah Souljah’s semi-autobiographic No Disrespect was gifted to me back when I was 17 years old going away to school, and was the perfect intro to my journey into adulthood and womanhood. I can appreciate anybody who can tell their story, but a black woman telling you her story while putting you up on game? Now that’s a classic for me, and No Disrespect was all that and more to me. Needless to say, I love reading books I can find myself in and relate to. 

While these books have remained on my shelves for years, I’ve also picked up new ones as well. These days, I’ve been doing a lot of self-improvement and self-discovery and recently got into self-help books and reads that evoke a certain level of introspection. A few months back I picked up The Four Agreements, Nayyirah Waheed’s salt., and Rupi Kapur’s Milk and Honey. Each of these books gave me new perspective and opened my mind to thinking differently about not only my own experiences, but life as a whole and the ways in which we choose to live. They encouraged a positive growth and change that I constantly find myself in search of during this stage of my life, and I highly recommend them for anyone looking to build on self improvement.

If you’re having trouble finding any books you’d like, you can start by looking up book genres or topics that interest you, and read summaries to find out which books may or may not interest you. It can be kind of challenging if you’re new to this, so if looking up books online is too much, head to your nearest bookstore and peruse the books in person (I'd suggest an independent bookstore so you have a wide range and variety to choose from while simultaneously supporting local business). If you don’t want to do that or use your money there are also these amazing government funded places that people tend to forget about with hundreds of thousands of books called libraries! If it’s anything I like I remember you can just go in there and sign up and they’ll give you a card that allows you to take all the books you want for a period of time :D You can even sit in there, be unbothered, and read for however long they open, I swear they’re a real thing, tell your friends LOL

Now that you’ve got your first task, go ahead and take time for yourself, your mind and your spirt will thank you :) I hope you’ve enjoyed, and as usual like, comment, and share. Until next time..