10 Self-Care practices to cultivate black girl joy
“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”
– Jean Shinoda Bolen
My self-care practice began in 2017. I was overstressed and burnt out. I started to develop migraines so bad that I spent days in bed. In addition to seeing a Neurologist and taking migraine medication, I started practicing self-care. Self-Care was never a priority growing up. I was raised in a single parent household and my aunt worked hard to raise me after my parents passed away; in addition to raising her two children. Black women have the highest rates of heart disease and one of the biggest contributors is stress. Stress is a natural part of life but we must find healthy ways to manage it. Here are my top 10 Self-Care practices that brings me black girl joy:
Meditation and prayer are the most important things I do to get my day started. I read a daily devotional every morning and I meditate on scripture. Journaling afterwards helps me to digest what I just read. During the day, meditation helps me to focus and recharge. I meditate for 3-5 minutes each day. I take deep breaths and I perform a head to toe scan of my body to check in. I have used the calm app to help me during my session. It’s a great app that helps you with mindfulness. Meditation takes practice, so be patient with yourself.
The power of saying “no”
My grandmother once said to me, learn how to say no without an explanation. Saying “no” can be difficult for people. It definitely was for me. I always thought it was selfish or uncaring to say no. I was afraid of what people thought or what they would say about me. Saying yes to everything and everyone to keep people happy takes a toll on your emotional, physical, and mental energy. After giving everyone everything they want, what is left for you? Instead of feeling good you feel resentful and drained. I learned to place some boundaries and just say no.
Say goodbye to toxic relationships
This one can be tricky. We can get tied into the “history” of a friendship or relationship. We think to ourselves, I can’t let that person go I’ve known them for “X” amount of years, we have history. History with a person should not make a difference. How do you feel after you spend time with that person? Do you feel drained and bagged down with their negative thinking? If you aren’t growing and the relationship is not edifying to your soul then they need to go…“Snip, Snip”.
Develop a Tea time ritual
Yes, drinking tea is a self care practice! I’m a tea addict, I drink it more than coffee. I feel like a cup of tea can fix or at least help almost any problem. Headache? Drink some peppermint tea. Sour stomach? Ginger Tea! Period cramps? Raspberry leaf tea. Need to detox and need energy? Green Tea. I’m getting into Chinese herbal medicine tea and my favorite blends are from the brand Your Tea; I drink Skin Magic and Fertility Tea.
Become a plant mama
My plant addiction was an accident. I bought a groupon for a plant nite as a fun date night idea for my husband and I. We each made our own terrarium and had drinks. After that night I fell in love with plant care. I went on Pinterest and googled as many plant articles I could find. I went to a plant nursery two days later and the rest was history. I love taking care of my plants. It’s so relaxing to water and tend to your plant babies. If I’m having a rough day seeing all this greenery when I get home cheers me up, especially if I see new pups!
Start a gratitude journal
I started a gratitude jar last year and I haven’t looked back. No matter how bad things may seem there is always something to be grateful for. Every day I think of 3 things that i’m grateful for and I thank God for them. Taking the time to write it down puts things into perspective.
Take bubble baths
Taking bubble baths is a new practice for me because my old apartment only had a shower. Bubble baths have become a weekly ritual. It’s my alone time to decompress. I usually light some aromatherapy candles, read a book, and drink a glass of red wine or drink some tea and soak for a while. I use epsom salt and lavender so it really helps to soothe achy muscles.
Practice yoga or get active!
Yoga is the best activity for me to nourish my body and soul. Whenever i’m on my mat I feel like i’m recharging. I use my ClassPass membership and I try to take yoga at least 1-2 times a week. My favorite is hot vinyasa. I take it in the evenings and my body feels relaxed and ready to sleep afterwards. If you aren’t into yoga you could go for a walk or a jog, take a zumba class, lift some weights. Any form of physical activity releases feel good hormones and help you feel fit!
Going vegan was the best decision I made. It feels so good to know that i’m taking care of my body and the environment. My overall health has improved and it has made me more environmentally conscious. If you aren’t ready to take the leap try to incorporate a meatless monday every week or choose a nondairy milk when ordering a latte!
Use natural products
When I chose to go vegan I also started to look at labels other than food. I wanted to seek out more natural and nontoxic brands. A cruelty-free feminine hygiene brand that I love is called The Honey Pot. It is black owned and uses clean ingredients in all of their products. I use their sanitary napkins, feminine washes/wipes, and tampons. I started to buy natural cleaning products for the house as well. I feel good knowing that the products i’m buying is animal cruelty-free and good for the environment.