I decided to get a haircut and refresh my highlights. It’s been more than a year since I last saw my hairdresser.

Did you miss me? It’s been more like an hour (not even a minute) since I have last crafted a blog post. I needed those months to redirect my life and to drive in more self care.

Self-care is a ubiquitous term that varies in meaning depending on the person. Some may say getting a gel manicure bi-weekly is self-care. Other’s may focus more on binging on trash-tv on the Pluto channel and sum that up as self-care.

For the past three months, I developed my own path to Self Care (ofcourse, I am open to trying new things too):

1.) See an eye doctor: Eye health is important. I took this time to see an optometrist, renew my contact subscription and get two pairs of chic-framed glasses. One pair is black and kinda oversized, and the other pair is gray with the perfect fit. Seeing an eye doctor is a common visit to make but that’s also important self care in itself. Protecting your health.

2.) Dental Cleaning: As I was riding on the eye health phase, I made an immediate appointment to see my dentist. After seeing him, my teeth feel smoother, smile feels healthier and I have a brand new toothpaste I really enjoy using. I get that no one looks forward to seeing the dentist but proper oral care is so important for your overall health. I mean, do you want a pearly smile at 80 years old or a chompy smile with dentures?

3.) Get the Vaccine: It’s a given and this had to be done. You can honestly go anywhere (CVS, a vaccine drive through, state buildings, any hospital) and get Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. Your health insurance will cover this. Not only does the vaccine protect you from catching Covid but this reduces the severity of any symptoms you may get from other strains such as the Delta variant. Many workplaces across the country actually require employees to get vaccinated in order to return back to the office too.

4.) Walk More: Like everyone else, getting back on the exercise train can be hard. Mentally, I wanted to relax more at home but logically I know that working out daily is key to being my best self. Sometimes I walk around my neighborhood and other times I google local hiking trails so I can make a mini adventure. What I love most about walking is being one with nature. I’m not a hippy, I just love the outdoors a little too much.

5.) Reduce Sugar Intake: Common sense, right? Hidden sugars are found in ketchup, starch breads, and even salad dressing. Even fake sugars like sweet and low, stevia, and agave can increase your weight gain. You literally are what you eat so I rather be healthy than unhealthy. I started to reduce the sugar I put in my coffee, reduce having sweets for dessert, and focus more on veggies than fruits. What you eat now affects the health you have in your 60s, 70s, and 80s so it’s best to start eating right now.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

6.) Get a Facial: I haven’t had a facial by an aesthetician in so long. My normal skin routing is using a face wash, exfoliate every other day, using an intense moisturizer, and sunscreen. My skin is pretty good with this routine but, like everyone else, who doesn’t have whiteheads/blackheads and pore issues? By getting a basic facial once every 2 months, you can reduce the pore size of your skin and remove all kinds of facial gunk. Plus there’s this shiny glow your face has that no makeup brand can give you. Getting a frequent facial can also reduce the need to wear makeup on the daily too.

7.) Get my Hair cut and Styled: Due to the COVID pandemic, I refrained from getting my haircut and dyed. I wanted to remain safe. Unfortunately, being safe meant having long, ragged, hair with unpredictable roots sticking out from my faded highlights. Once I got the vaccine, I made an appointment with my favorite hairdresser and she went to town on my hair. I did basic layers and highlights. After the haircut, I felt well groomed and ready to take on the world. Maintaining your appearance is truly self care at its finest.

8.) Update my Work Wardrobe with Professional Pieces: Although the pandemic created a paradigm in work appropriate-wear (athleisure replacing suits, sneakers replacing shoes, and ponytales replacing buns) that doesn’t mean you cannot dress for success. I was rummaging through my closet and noticed some of my favorite pieces had holes, didn’t fit and had more wear for tear. So I donated what I could to Goodwill and scoured the clearance sections of Nordstrock Rack, TJ Maxx, and even Thredup for new work suits, purses, and shoes. You only need a few good pieces and that should last you a couple (if not) several years. If I invested in cheaper pieces, that would not be a wise investment because those pieces would break apart in less than 6 months.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

9.) Clean my Car’s Interior: Sounds strange, huh? Cleaning the inside of your car can truly correlate to self care. If you want to feel balanced, and in control, you keep your home clean, desk organized, and clean your car. Mess, disorganization, can affect your thinking pattern and emotions throughout the day. Aside from taking my car to a local car wash, I vacuumed the insides thoroughly, recycled a ton of water bottles clogging up my seat, and scrubbed a history of gunk off my cup holders. I felt really good that day and I actually look forward to maintaining my car again.

10.) Update my 5 year Plan: Adulting is hard. But what makes it less difficult (okay, marginally) is having a 5 year plan for your professional, personal, health, and even academic life. A 5 year plan breaks down dreams into goals, and goals into actionable tasks you can use in your day to day. Without a clear plan, that you can also readily edit from time to time with changes, than you are living life aimlessly without achieving anything. If you want your own 5 year plan template, just Google 5 year plan template, print one out, and start using it.

11.) Created a New Daily & Weekend Schedule: During my self-care break, I took time to ponder how I can have better control of my time. So I decided to invest in a paper scheduler, with florals, prints, and gold emblems, and downlowded task-related apps. By planning my schedule out in advance, I was able to work faster and carve extra time to relax. The way you plan out your weekend directly affects your work week, so I learned to plan enriching activities ahead of time into my schedule. You are defined by the activities you invest in. Also trying new hobbies, sports, and meetups can directly boost your confidence and self esteem too.

12.) Spring Clean my Social Media: I believe in only keeping folks with good energy, good intentions, and forgiving hearts in my life. Life is too short to waste on folks with toxic personalities and you are defined by the 5 people you keep close ties too. So I not only examine my social circles but I also deeply prune my social media accounts from toxic connections. It’s nothing personal but another form of self care.

13.) Wrote out New Goals (Goal Setting): Happiness is something you can only make for yourself. You cannot depend on another person, material good, or even a flippant emotion to create it for you. The key to true happiness is to go after your goals and confront difficult tasks. I examined previous goals, redacted a few, and updated my goal list with new ones. To make a goal actionable, you have to make it into an actionable, daily task.

14.) Read Business Books: If you want to make strides in your life, read a book, listen to a podcast, and try to teach yourself a new skill. I am sure you get this advice all over the internet but it’s so true. I recently finished “How to Become CEO” by Jeffrey J. Fox and finished “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” by Mark Manson. Those two books are gamechangers with so many takeaways. What I learned from “How to Become CEO” is to create your own plan for your career and to never expect anyone to advance in your company just because. From “The Subtle Art..” I learned that we are all accountable for everything that goes wrong in life and that it’s okay. We need to embrace that life is full of good and bad problems, and to face it head on versus acting like a victim and blaming everyone else. A life worth living is one where we all take accountability and recalibrate measurements for happiness. For example, if someone steals your social media site, maybe you should truly examine yourself and take accountability for that versus blaming that unhappy person for that action. You cannot control insecure folks and their actions, but you can control your reactions and learn to take accountability so you dont end up like those people. Self care is also self reflection. And learning to forgive people on the daily. No one is perfect.

15.) Grooming on the Cheap: I have thick eyebrows so getting them waxed is quite costly. I, like most South Asian women, have peach fuzz too. I also don’t think it’s worth wasting $20.00 a week on a manicure too (it’s just an opinion, don’t hate) let alone a pedicure. I believe in proper grooming but if there are ways to cut back on the cost, go for it. So I searched on Amazon and found ways to scale back on facial and hand maintenance costs. Search for automatic eyebrow trimmer, facial hair trimmer, and automatic manicure. You will find these gadgets that use tripple A batteries and each item costs less than $20.00. From my own personal experience, each item works so well. I am basically saving so much money on personal grooming and I highly recommend many of you go this route to groom well on the cheap. It’s always important to look your best so you feel your best.

16.) Forgiveness: Out of all self-care tips I can share this should really be on the top of my list. I had plenty of time for self-reflection and I am grateful for all that I learned. I believe to truly take care of yourself, you must learn to forgive everyone and wish good intention. Our egos often demand an apology but a mature person can forgive without one. Why carry that toxic burden in you? It’s best to let it go and focus on making today, tomorrow, and the future better than the last. Folks who exact revenge over slights, and who keep hurting others only truly hurt themselves in the process. Let it go and forgive. Live a life with good intention.

17.) A Gratitude List: Whenever life brings lemons, I read my daily gratitude list and then drive to Chick Fil A for a small lemonade (small is the key word, not a large one, I do want to cut back on sugar). If you have a roof over your head, food in the fridge, family and friends than you are richer than most. If you want more out of life, have integrity and honestly go after it versus trying to take what is not yours. Have daily gratitude and work hard for your goals. Do not let any mishaps, daily grievances be an excuse for not going after your dreams.

I am deeply grateful for this three month break I took. Self care is so important and so highly underutilized. There’s a ton of smack talk about self-care being some mambo jambo millenial spiel but if you try to focus on your needs first, you will balance your mind, body, and emotions better.

I’m also excited to share that I wrote another article for Chelsea Krost. Tune in Monday, August 9, 2021 for my article on 10 In-Office and Zoom Business Etiquette Tips.

What are self-care tips you recommend? Which self care tips have you tried that didn’t work? Do you recommend any podcasts or books? Sound Off!

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