In 2015, the term self-care has become a little more than a buzz term – it’s become a mantra for unplugging from our unnecessary commitment to being constantly ‘’busy’’. Busy with work, school, side-projects, managing friendships, family commitments, partners and for some of us, mountainous social causes that we don’t have to do but have chosen to be committed to! To add to the daily drama of our lives, there’s social media to give you FOMO, a much needed laugh or to make your blood boil considering some of the things that we encounter on the internet. To add to that, I am also subconsciously troubled by an underlying feeling of guilt, a feeling that I’m not doing enough, that I’m not fulfilling my obligations fast enough, or well enough, that I can’t win both at work and in my personal life. I say yes to having lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, not because we need to but because I bumped into her at the market and we did the ‘’let’s have lunch’’ thing and one of us, the sincere one, took it seriously. Or someone in a group email is sending mails at 1.33 am to subliminally show you how hard they are working and even though you know better, you compare yourself to them and feel like you need to push yourself even harder. When you’re a freelancer like me, there is no weekend to structure in your rest time, you have to create that time for yourself. It’s easy to get lost in a pile of endless professional and personal tasks. It’s difficult to unplug from our responsibilities to others and plug into taking care of our bodies and our minds and most importantly, feel okay about that moment where you are just being yourself, not a mother, not a wife, not a manager, not a caregiver and not a landing strip for your friends’ relationship gwans.
I’ve been freelancing for 8 years this year and while I’m not at my optimum, I’d say I’ve done pretty well with balancing my professional life with my personal life. As a writer, my inspiration for seeing and telling stories is boundless. Every encounter with another human being is an opportunity to have an exchange that could turn into a story, so my antenna for such don’t really shut down. I’m always plugged in looking for my next subject. This means I can sometimes overdose on the internet. When I see myself automatically reaching for my phone when I don’t need it, when the last I checked I was trying to call my mom but I end up on Kim Kardashian’s Instagram looking for pictures of North, when I am on Facebook looking at pictures of old school friends’ that I’ll never see again’s children when I’m supposed to be writing, when I find myself emotionally taking on struggles that I’m an ally to but aren’t my own struggles – that’s when the need to delete an app for a week arises and swiftly happens. That’s when I go into radical self care mode. I have to remind myself to slow down, to take breaks and most importantly to be present. Taking a break for me can be anything from washing the dishes slowly and conscientiously to driving silently to wine’o’clock with my friends (which I do more often than I promised myself at the beginning of the year).
But the really wonderful breaks, the moments I truly live for are those pockets of silence where I’m not doing anything but just sitting or lying on my bed looking at the ceiling. It’s the moment after the great de-bra (when you finally get home and take off your bra) at the end of the day when my feet are swollen but I’ve been productive, when I stop and forget about everything while maybe sipping on a cup of chamomile or a glass of chardonnay. Those little moments with self are my joyous moments, those are small odes to the art of self-care.
I find that are a lot of my friends are going thrrrrough it at the moment. Some are being hospitalized, some are on anti-depressants, some are suffering from insomnia, some are collapsing at work and some are stressed out by their many achievements. My biggest achievement this year has been learning the term ”bazobastrongo” and my mission is to live by it. To detach myself from things no matter how hectic they seem in the moment where I’m de-braring, as an act of survival and sanity. Your boss will be strong. Your child will be strong. Your professor will qina. Your friends will learn to be strong.
I want to invite you to have those moments of declaration of self care where it’s just about you and your joy. I’m happy to announce that I’m working with Cadbury as they launch a new chocolate dedicated to the art of practicing and savouring joyous moments, especially for us black women, who are always looking after other people’s feelings when few care about ours. For the next month, I’m going to share this practice with you on my blog, Facebook and Instragram pages in an effort to spread the message. I encourage you to share your ”joyous moments” in pictures, videos or sentences on my Facebook page or in the comments section of this and other posts.
I’m not a chocolate person, I’m more of a bag of chips kind of girl but someone got a slab of the new Cadbury Silk bar last week and finished it while watching a movie. I felt a little guilty because I am still programmed from childhood to eat a slab of chocolate over a few days. My favourite childhood chocolate, Whole Nut, was an end of school term treat or something that we had when our rich cousins visited so it was very unlike me to finish a slab in a day.
I like this campaign because of the underlying call for women to put their feet up, put their records on forget about it. I’ll be giving away some hampers of the new Silk every week so keep your eyes peeled and as mentioned above, share with me some of your joyous moments!
Take care of those areolas 🙂