The other day my therapist asked me how I felt about myself.
You’d think I’d have a great answer for that at 28 but, if I’m honest, I still don’t know.
I’ve spent so much of my life hiding behind my grades, my achievements, my highlights, and my career, that if you asked me who I am when you strip all of those away I can honestly say I’m still figuring it out.
And, in a month that acknowledges mental health, I’d be remiss not to talk about it.
You see, while I may not know yet how I feel about myself, I’ve spent the last few weeks focused on how to feel, generally: to feel alive, to feel happy, to feel hopeful, to feel peace.
That’s why, unsurprisingly, near the end of my session, my therapist asked me to spend the next little while really focused on the things I do throughout the week that make me feel, but more importantly to really focus on the things that exemplify self-love and self-care.
So in light of the little things, in light of transparency, and in light of the fact that I hope maybe this might help someone (anyone), here’s my list of little things I’ve been trying to do just to feel a little bit better, to love myself a bit better, and to feel a little bit prouder of just how far I’ve come.
Going on Walks
My one friend joked I looked like I was outside more than I was working, but in all seriousness I try to go for 1 to 3 walks a day during my lunch break or after work. My one friend and I always hit up the beach area close to the city to go on boardwalk walks, other times I make sure I at least pass the lake.
There’s something about the sunshine too that has just made everything feel better! So get your 10k steps in a day, because I promise it’s a mood booster.
An Elevated Skincare Routine
While I’m sure most (if not all of you) have this down pat, I recently splurged on some Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Hydra-Gel Eye Patches (because I am not a fan of bags or dark circles under my eyes) and honestly it really is a little added thing that makes my day. Not only does it help wake me up in the morning, but it just makes me feel a little bit better when it comes to caring for myself.
Enjoying a Bubble Bath
I know some of my friends hate the thought of sitting in a tub, but I have always (and will always) treat the bathtub as my happy place. Bath bombs, bubble baths, essential oils… and maybe a glass or two of wine… maybe it’s my inner Pisces, but I’m hoping to eventually transform my bathroom into a dark jungle vibe of coziness with dark paint and wallpaper.
Starting New (Creative) Projects
I find I’m my happiest when I’m passionate about something and pursuing things that bring me joy. While the past month has seen that in the form of decorating my space and making it feel like home, I’ve also been trying out other creative avenues.
Over the course of the pandemic I started drawing again and purchased the Procreate App to try my hand at digital illustrations. It’s been so long but I really enjoy it.
And while I won’t be talking about it too much yet, I have a future series of work I’m excited to share (with a little help from some of my awesome friends!).
Taking Photos (Especially of Flowers)
About a week ago, my mental health was in the best place it’s ever been and I had to share this news on Instagram. And one friend in particular mentioned taking photos of flowers to be therapeutic. And I did. And I made this. And it really was everything.
It sounds so, so, so weird, I know, but I’m very much a stress cleaner and I find that when my space doesn’t look cluttered my mind feels less cluttered, too. Lately it’s taken the form of decluttering my desk and keeping everything in its rightful place, while also (unsurprisingly) planning my next home decor purchase. My most recent one involves my balcony and turning it into a pandemic oasis.
Also, it’s nice coming home after a long day of errands to an already clean space so I can just fall into bed without having to fret about sweeping or dishes.
I know so many of us are all Zoomed out, but I call at least one (or two or three or four) friends a day just to chat and to take conversations past texting. In a time where human connection is more important than ever, it’s nice bringing it back to basics and actually sharing a laugh instead of an “lol.”
Also, I really appreciate everyone who has been there for me through my highs and lows the last little while. Support really is everything.
I don’t know what it is, but I have been obsessed and eat one of these a day. Just add 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil as a dressing, and I top it off with parmesan cheese and ground black pepper.
Also stay tuned for a future blog post about all the fun recipes I learned to make over this pandemic. One of the things the last guy I was dating was good for was encouraging me to enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen. Verdict: it isn’t terrible – and for some of you, it may just be a little thing you’ll do and add to your list.
I know for a fact each of us struggles with something (whether publicly or privately). And I also know it’s not easy.
But what I’ve discovered in the last two-ish months of my own journey of self-love and therapy, is that on top of the unpacking and unlearning and facing your traumas… it really is also all about the little things in the inbetween.
It’s about the baby steps you take, the small changes you make each and every day to get to where you want to be… to get to who you want to be.
While I’m admittedly the type who needs to reach a destination to feel like I’m making progress and/or seeing results, I’m learning to embrace that this process in and of itself is a step, a little thing, a little change I’m learning to make.
And some days it may not seem like much, it may not seem like anything at all.
But, take it from me, I promise you, they really are everything.