‘You cannot efficiently care for others without first caring for oneself’

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Top: Brother’s shirt from Ethiopia | Jeans: Topshop | Heels: ASOS | Hair: Adama

This post has been long coming, its a really important matter to me and is on the topic of self care. I have been practicing self-care way before I even recognised it as such. I suppose at the time it didn’t register to me that life could affect me so much as to require special care, me time.

So what is self-care? I could define it as taking time out to cater to one’s own needs resulting in a better more settled state of being. That is my definition as that is what I have found self care to be. Growing up as a black African girl, I had this perception that women just handled it all. It was as if you were just expected to be able to clean, cook, study and be social like it was nothing. I think there is a lot of pressure put on women to hold together the household, the family, themselves and everything else, without the acknowledgement of limits. Probably the reason I didn’t realise I was engaging in self-care practices was because such little emphasis is put on taking care of your wellbeing as a woman. Not of your children, or your family or your physical appearance (to please the opposite sex, or other women) but really of you – what makes you happy for no-one else except you to understand and enjoy.

In the world we live in, so many different factors outside our own lives affects us constantly. I find my time is spent between working my 9-5, catering to my family, supporting my friends and community. However, I have learnt to prioritise me time. I cannot serve anyone to the best of my ability without first taking care of me. Initially, I felt some guilt about doing things just for me. But I have gained so much peace and self-knowledge through this process that I now see it as essential. As an African black female immigrant, my journey is complicated by several factors from hair to skin,to perceptions and fighting stereotypes everyday as well as others’ expectations for my life. Even when I don’t think I need it, the unseen battles can get so weary that it is imperative for my sanity to shut out the world sometimes and spend some time with myself.

So I would like to urge you to make time for ourself. It might mean taking a long bath one evening with some candles and rose petals, or taking a hike in the forest like my friend Harriette, jumping on a plane to a far off city like my friend Amaira or just getting lost in a good book like my friend Shahrazad. Whatever you need to do, make sure you are taking care of you… you’re worth it! 😉 x MC

 

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