Amy Eksteen

When I started my blog, long ago in January, I promised myself that I would hold myself accountable to write and publish one post every week. One of my main goals for the year is to post one blog post for every week this year, a total of 52 posts. Creating this goal has honestly helped to motivate me, prioritise my writing as well as to stay pretty inspired and creative.

I want to start off by saying that this year has been a busy and unexpected one, filled with many good distractions and spontaneous adventures. I have been loving and appreciating every second of it, but among all of the distractions and spontaneity, every week I would still try to ensure that I was meeting my goals. I was still posting once a week, every Wednesday, no matter the circumstances and I am proud of myself for that.

This past week I’ve been away on holiday in Cape Town. I took a road trip with my sister, making memories and visiting many special people. I, however, found myself stressing about writing a new post and not being able to post on time. I realised that my thoughts and concerns started to affect me negatively and as a result, I wasn’t allowing myself to be fully present in what I was doing, where I was and who I was spending time with. I do like to challenge myself to be mindful and present as much as I can. I often don’t get this right, but I believe that it is a good principle to keep in mind. It helps me to live more intentionally. And because of worrying about posting and sticking to my goal, I started to feel like I wasn’t staying true to my need to be mindful, present and intentional with my time.

Even though my goal for each week has proved to be a good source of encouragement, the effects it was having on me in the space I found myself in were beginning to feel more negative than positive. I realised that I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed out more than I was eager to write. It was within this moment of introspection that I realised that it would be okay for me to take some time off, to rather choose to be present and to cater to my needs. Among all of the guilt I was feeling by not staying true to my goals and promises I had made to myself, I had to realise that the world wouldn’t end if I didn’t post this week like I usually do. I needed to understand that my need, to spend time with family and friends and to make the most of my holiday was meant to move to the very top of my priority list and that it was okay. And while I prioritised my needs and some time to rest, I began to recognise that I was still feeling tired and overwhelmed due to the loss my family has recently had to deal with. I feel as if my recent experience therefore stood as a testament to the importance of self-care, something that can be so easily overlooked. We can get so caught up in life’s busyness, the deadlines, the expectations, our goals and responsibilities that we forget to focus on what is most important, ourselves. We tend to forget that it is okay if our ‘to-do lists’ for the week look a little different than they usually do. We tend to forget that when we prioritise self-care, it also allows us the opportunity to identify and recognise feelings within ourselves that we might not recognise at first glance. We are given the chance to look after ourselves and understand what we are going through.

For me, I think I needed the opportunity to notice that it was okay to stop prioritising my writing for once and to prolong my posting by a few days. When accepting my decision, it actually felt like a relief. With the holiday season fast approaching, I think self-care is something important we all need to take note of, especially since we are all heading into the busiest time of year.

I truly believe that it is so good for us to practice introspection and the act of checking in on ourselves and our needs – to be able to prioritise self-care and self-love. I think for me, this past week was about realising and accepting that I wouldn’t be letting anyone down by choosing to put myself first in order to recharge my batteries. It in fact, impacted my work in a more positive way because of it. It also helped me to realise how important my writing and my blog meant to me. It helped me to want to cherish my moments of rest and self-care even more, knowing how it improved my well-being and my work as a result.

For the last week of September and from my own experience these past couple of weeks, I wanted to remind myself and my readers that it is okay to take some time off to focus on ourselves and our needs. It is okay to press pause, even if it is only for one hour or when things start to feel too overbearing. It should be a main priority of ours to rest, to check in on our mental health, to destress and to recharge. Our hearts, our feelings and our emotions are important and sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to identify and understand them.

So consider this blog post a personal self-care reminder. Self-care is important because it creates a space for us to invest time and energy into the relationships we have with ourselves. It allows us the chance to remember to prioritise our mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual health – all the special dimensions that make up who we are. It reminds us to ensure that as an individual, we are functioning in a positive and healthy way day-to-day. I can guarantee that the benefits that will stem from our self-care time will overflow into the other areas of our lives and no one can put a price on that.

Here are 6 ways prioritising my self-care this week has helped me:

  1. It has helped me to destress
  2. To be more present, mindful and intentional with my time
  3. To prioritise people that mean a lot to me
  4. It has improved my mood
  5. It has helped me to feel more energised and motivated about writing
  6. It has helped me to identify and understand my feelings/emotional experiences

10 self-care hacks:

  • 1. Drink water
  • 2. Do some exercise
  • 3. Paint your nails
  • 4. Plan an amazing outfit that will boost your self-esteem
  • 5. Write out a gratitude list of 3 things you feel grateful for that day
  • 6. Stretch
  • 7. Call a friend/family member
  • 8. Pick up seashells on the beach with a loved one
  • 9. Make something
  • 10. Do something small that will help the planet or that will help your current environment to feel more clean

What is one way that you can prioritise self-care today or this week?

Until next time xx