• Ri


" Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

For many years now, I have been on a journey of caring of thyself. My most valued possession. the one that requires my utmost attention and commitment. The only thing on this earth I could rightfully exert control over. Me, myself and I.

We all have our own definition of self care, it is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health. Moreover, it is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular period of stress. (Oxford dictionary)

A long time ago I realized that I craved a love so deep that I could only satiate it through two sources : Self care & God.

Self care through religion

I worship God through islam. By my worship, I seek Allah's love and blessings, I ask Him to grant me patience, discernment, protection, peace of mind and peace of the heart. According to Ahmad Ubaidillah, Islam is a religion that encompasses several aspects of our life, spiritual, mental, physical, familial, and social. From practicing islam according to the teachings in the Qu'ran and the prophetic tradition, goodness and positivity will shine from our actions and words. However while Islam teaches us to be selfless and to think of others, it also undoubtedly places importance on caring for our well-being too. In his article, Ahmad Ubaidillah shares three out of the many ways Islam teaches us to care for our well-being :

  1. Islam teaches us how to overcome our negative feelings: " The beauty of Islam is that it doesn't deny that humans possess the baser-self that is harmful to us if left unchecked. Islam acknowledge this fact and teaches us how to overcome it. "

  2. Islam teaches us to take care of our physical health: Islam " teaches us several ways on how to manage our physical health. Our bodies are our vessels after all that are given to us by Allah s.w.t It is, therefore our responsibility to take good care of our physical bodies." Diets and cleanliness are examples mentioned in his article.

  3. Islam teaches us to preserve our relationships with people : "Being a Muslim means that we have roles to play in our community and society. This means that our relationships with the people around us play an important part in our lives. In fact they can impact our happiness and mental being.

For more insight into this, I suggest to read Ubaidillah's article (here), if you are looking for specific verses for any emotions you might be feeling, you can also click here.

Self care through love languages :

In recent years, everyone been talking about learning the love languages in order to better care for our significant others. However, I have a different take on this. How about we learn the love languages in order to apply them to ourselves?

Words of affirmation :

Word of affirmation are any spoken or written words that confirm, support, uplift, and emphasize with oneself or another person in a positive manner.

I started a self love process where I just sit in front of my bathroom mirror and just stare at my face.. At first it was really awkward, I hated it.. I couldn't last more than 5 to 10 sec.

In a life full of face altering items such as make up, filters, etc.. it can be hard to just stare at ones bare reflection. In the intimacy of our home, we no longer wear any mask. We no longer have to play any role. We no longer have to perform. We are and that is all.

It took me a while to fully be comfortable but now I can last a minute or two, I speak kind words to myself and I learn to love any dip, any wrinkle, any scar and any bump.

Now when I look at that reflection, I have that voice in my mind whispering :

" How can you not love such a beautiful face.. all these scars, all these bumps, all these wrinkles are products of the numerous traumas you've endured.

All these stressful moments you have survived left a mark on you & it is ok. How beautiful is such a face? The face of a survivor.. Your face is a testimony of your life. Your wins and your losses. A map of your journey through this world. How could you not love and cherish such a thing? "

Words are very important for me, and associating endearing words with my self through my mind and my body really uplift my mood and my self love. I encourage you to try this exercice, with your face, your body and your mind. Speak kind words to yourself and watch how you fall in love with your most prized possession.

Physical touch :

A lot of people communicate their love and affection through physical touch. When was the last time you touch yourself in a loving way ? Hair care is self care, skin care is self care. When you take a moment for yourself, that it is to apply lotion all over your body, or yet wash and style your hair. Take the time, to really feel your body. Take some time to massage your body. Such an exercise only 5 minute a day, every day would increasingly improve your mood. Who else than yourself knows what your body needs and crave..

Receiving gifts :

I am my first love, and as such I love to treat myself. Handbags, clothes, accessories, you name it. Treat yourself has a whole new meaning with me. No matter the size or the price, a gift can mean many things. Just take a moment, to put a smile on your face. You do not need a man to gift you flowers, get your own. You do not need to wait for you friends to be available to go on a spa day, book your own. Gift receiving does not need to be a performative behavior.

Quality time :

When was the last time you took a day, an hour, a few minutes just for yourself. The same way as quality time is focused, intentional time spent giving your partner attention, it could be just it for yourself.

My favorite quality time are the ones I spend journaling. Alone, in the comfort of my home, in my special journal diary, at night I write down every single thought crossing my mind. All my fears, my worries, so I could sleep with less anxieties running through my mind. In the morning, I write down all my aspirations, my daily goals and wishes and I speak kindness into my days.

Quality time for me is journaling, but it could be anything else for you. It could be lighting a candle at the end of a long day and taking a long bath. It could be cooking a delicious meal for yourself, or having a full work out.

The goal is principally for you, to set a time aside for your own self.

Act of service :

Some people feel the most loved when they're being served and in a capitalistic world, act of services are easily attainable. Every 2-3 weeks, when the stress of my life has build up, I do the one thing that makes me happy. Book my manicure & pedicure at my favorite Spa. I am big in act of services, I know my strengths and my weaknesses, and I refuse to let myself suffer unnecessary. I also love to help others and by treating myself through act of services I allow myself to receive all the help I need. that it is by booking a uber after a long day running errands or getting foot massages at the SPA. I deserve to be served as much as I love to serve others.

"Learning to love in the way someone wants to be loved is far more the definition of love than just loving in any way" Jay Shetty ( English author, former hindu monk and life coach

Hence learning how to love ourself, and putting daily effort into nursing that love is the greatest act of love we can accomplish. When we learn how to love ourself it is easier for us to love others. Self care means a lot to me, and I am pretty sure it means just as much to you. Therefore, for this article I asked a few questions to dear friends regarding self care:

Sam T., 29 years old, ♀ :

1. What does self care means to you?

Self care is a way of healing your body, emotions, thoughts and soul. It is needed as it helps to regulate your spirituality and the energy that goes through your body and soul.

2. How many times a week do you practice self care ?

Every day and in different ways.

3. What activities do you practice for self care?

I work out at least three times a week for the physical part. I pray 5 times a day for the spirituality. I meditate and write a journal for the emotions. I read mantras and affirmations for the thoughts.

4. Why is self care important to you?

It has helped me to relieve stress and anxiety. I am learning more about myself and my life purpose. I am able to control my emotions and thoughts. I can attract the things that I desire. I can relate more to people and better understand them.

I can better tackle some obstacles that I might encounter in my life.

5. What is the best self care tip you could give to someone?

Read self-help books, pray daily, meditate daily, be compassionate, heal yourself, forgive yourself and let go of the past.

Khadijah I., 26 years old, :

1. What does self care means to you?

Self care for me revolves around my mental, physical and spiritual well being. It is about taking care of myself, my body, praying and performing Ibadah the right way and my internal happiness which consists of feeding my soul and thoughts with positive attributes.

2. How many times a week do you practice self care ?

I try to practice self care to the best of my ability every day, but sometimes it's hard to feel accomplished.

3. What activities do you practice for self care?

Skincare routine, body care, hair days, wearing nice clothes and perfume, praying and making duas.

4. Why is self care important to you?

Self care is so important to me because if I don't take care of my general well being, I feel sick, down and demotivated but when I take care of my self, I see myself finishing up tasks, routines, etc. other than that, when I take my self care regimen seriously, even those that are spontaneous, I see my mood and happiness being uplifted.

5. What is the best self care tip you could give to someone?

The best selfceare tip I would give to someone is to take it easy, think of yourself as an asset and take care of your mental, physical and spiritual well being, stay away from toxic thoughts, people, environment and routines. What won't matter in 5 years shouldn't take up more than 5 minutes of you worrying. ( easier said than done but worth it).

What about you? What does self care means to you ?

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