I have been all in to self-care and self-love lately. It has helped me and my spirit in the most beautiful ways. I believe that part of you can’t truly learn to love others until you first learn how to love yourself, just as you are, right where you are. Loving and caring for yourself is an act that exhibits value and appreciation. By doing so, you’re speaking strength, life and positivity into your body, heart, mind and soul.
Loving and caring for yourself isn’t selfish. It’s necessary.
The world likes to tell us what beauty, success, worth and health look like. They put labels and values on things that are so far out of reach for the average person, all while feeding our minds with unrealistic, unhealthy perceptions of what we and our lives should look like. What so many people don’t see is the self-doubt and self-hate that that ignites. We are surrounded every day by people who don’t believe in themselves, don’t think they’re worth anything, don’t see an ounce of beauty or strength in themselves. They have either told themselves or had others tell them for so long that they are fat, stupid, ugly, crazy, weird, that now… they believe it.
I have struggled with my weight, skin and anxiety for a while, and for a very long time, I walked around putting blame on myself. If I couldn’t lose weight, it was because I messed up. If I couldn’t clear up my skin, it was because I was doing something wrong. If I had a panic attack, it was because there was something wrong with me. All untrue, of course, but I had thought those things for so long that I believed them, and my perspective and attitude on life showed it. One day, I woke up and had the revelation that a year from now, I can either be looking back on this moment happy and healthy and where I’m wanting to be, or in the same (or worse) place, wishing I had just started.
So I did. I made some changes and I started to make myself a priority. I began to love myself enough, care about myself enough, to live a healthy, joyful lifestyle; to take care of my heart, mind, soul and body as the gifts and treasures they are. I’ve been super intentional over the last 6 months or so to start paying more attention to my physical, mental and spiritual health. I’ve implemented a lot of things into my routines and set aside time each day to do something just for me, and I cannot even begin to tell you how life-giving it has been.
I strongly believe that working on your mental health is the first step to launching you in to fully loving and appreciating yourself for all that you are. Overcoming the negative things you think about yourself and being in a good mind-set is the foundation of all other thoughts and actions. I have an extremely busy and fast-paced mind, a very small social battery, and went years speaking and thinking negatively about my appearance, a mind-set that I still have to battle and choose to not believe today. Having struggled with anxiety a lot through my later high school and early college years (and still some today), mental health is extremely important to me. For a long time, I didn’t really know how to care for myself in a mental capacity. I had pretty much just accepted the fact that I struggled with anxiety and went about my days telling myself that I just had to figure out how to deal with it, not knowing that there were so many things I could do that could help.
Being nice to and speaking positively of yourself, while definitely a struggle, is also a choice. I wake up every morning and choose to see myself as I’m seen by the Lord. I choose positivity and optimism. I choose happiness and kindness. Because that’s how I value myself. That’s the first step to loving yourself just as you are.
Taking care of your body is a way of showing appreciation and acknowledging your worth and value, and while I do know and believe that finding those things is not just physical, I also know first-hand just how much how you feel about yourself physically and how you see yourself affects your confidence and mind-set.
My self-love/self-care journey really began when I discovered my love (and slight….’ly massive’ obsession) for skincare. As I became more intentional and started to pay more attention to what I put on my body, I began to see really encouraging and exciting results. I’ve grown comfortable and confident in my own skin through learning how to take care of it! For me, taking care of my skin and seeing amazing changes has been the spark that ignited the self-care flame in me. I became happy with how my skin looked (for the first time ever), and I realized just how easy (and fun) it is to give my body the TLC it needs to thrive.
Since making caring for myself a priority, I have been able to learn a lot about how our bodies run and function, and, in turn, have learned how to listen better to mine. I’ve become passionate about healing my body from the inside out, and have really started focusing more on the natural, cleaner routes to health. I have cut gluten out of my diet, try to eat whole foods and work out on a regular basis, and do my best to use clean beauty and skincare products. And you know what? My body has definitely thanked me for it! Oh, and I’ve also started drinking more water or something… but like… you know… not a big fan. #doitforthehydration
My Bible studies and time with the Lord have become a very important and necessary part of my daily routine. I notice a huge difference in my mood and mind-set when I don’t carve out some time each day and make it a priority. Through worship, prayer, conversation, reading or studying, I love to just sit down, even if just for a moment, and spend some time pressing in to the season I’m in and what He’s trying to teach and say to me. I also do, what I like to call “heart checks”, on a regular basis. I take a step back and really evaluate where I’m at in the season I’m in. How’s my heart? Is there anything weighing on me, bothering me, causing stress or anxiety, keeping me from really getting the most out of my time with God? Then I spend time bringing those things to Him and walking through them.
Maintaining your spiritual health is more than just reading your Bible and praying before meals. It’s a daily relationship and a lifestyle that I, personally grow and dig deeper in every day. Go all in for Jesus. Do life with Him, and let Him come in and do work in your heart. There’s something about handing your life over to the Lord and knowing how deeply you are loved by Him that brings such a new, beautiful perspective to you, who you are, and the world around you.
I’ll be doing posts in the near future going more in depth on each of these 3 categories, sharing my personal favorite things I’ve found that help me the most! You’re also going to start seeing a lot more lifestyle posts here on Happily Ever Ginger! Some mental health, some spiritual health, and some physical health, with lots of skincare and natural, holistic bits and bobs thrown in for good measure. It’s something I’ve become extremely passionate about and can’t wait to share with you! Thanks for sticking with me as I dig deeper and work to make this space all that it’s meant to be!