I have learned that my journey toward self-discovery and deeper personal growth has begun with self-care.
But what does self-care look like?
Well, I think it takes many forms...
I actually believe self-care hits all five of our senses.
If you're confused, I will explain.
The five senses are smell, sight, hearing, touch, and taste.
Self-Care in Smell
I'm going to start with my favorite: SMELL!
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE me some great smelling scents! From perfume to candles, I basically cannot get enough!
Growing up, my dad would religiously shower himself with cologne... in the car... with the windows up... while the engine was off... 👀
If you didn't guess it by now, I usually felt slightly suffocated by the strong, trapped smell.
Nowadays, I do have my own ritual of spraying myself down with an elegantly, grown, musky, yet sexy feminine scent.
Most times I spray my perfume just before leaving home for the day and each time after a restroom visit.
Other times, I purposefully grab my perfume or candle as a way to trigger happy, lovely thoughts.
In order for this to work, I must thoroughly enjoy the scents I've chosen.
Self-Care in Sight
Let's move on to SIGHT.
When I am surrounded by beauty, I am in awe.
Whether that's an art gallery, a fashion show, the nearest botanical gardens, a local zoo, or even my favorite local mall... I enjoy seeing beautiful things.
I believe it is so important to surround myself with positive messaging because it can ultimately influence my mind and penetrate my thought processes.
This includes social media posts, movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, the things I write down on sticky notes and on my bathroom mirror...
Self-Care in Hearing
This takes us straight into HEARING, which many times is coupled with sight because of the video medium which we have grown so much more fond of using since the inception of COVID-19.
If you continually hear and see something you will learn to view that something as truth.
This is in reference to yourself and to others. So, because I know this, I choose to surround myself with positivity in hearing and in sight.
What does this look like?
Well, on a typical day, I will write down an affirmation, read a devotional or read a section of my bible, browse my Instagram and read self-help or personal development book via the Audible app on my phone.
That's up to five opportunities that are built into my daily life for me to change my mindset about myself, about someone I have issues with at work, about my life, about a situation I may be struggling to understand, etc.
Recognize I said, "change my mindset"... this is where the power lies...
Self-Care in Touch & Taste
Moving on to TOUCH and TASTE, which many of you may already understand the value and impact of.
There are thousands of people, maybe more, who communicate love with a simple hug or a kiss.
For this reason, touch is undeniably a trigger in self-care.
If you live alone, give yourself a hug every now and again... Or hug your pillow really really tight and imagine is your favorite loved one who happens to be miles away right now.
I have done this several times in my life, including kissing myself on the shoulder/arm and I feel the love so unexpectedly that the smallest most peaceful smile stretches across my face.
So, give it a shot!
Taaaaaaste! Oh my goodness taste... smh...
(sighs and sinks into the chair as I daydream about my favorite ice cream and my favorite cake and my favorite sushi, which I know is in a totally different category than the first two items I named, but it doesn't matter because I'm daydreaming about random foods that make my tastebuds happy!)
I meeeeean.... it's taste! 😅 Must I say more!?
There is some serious food therapy many of us go through... So I think we're pretty much on the same page with that one 😅.
So, how would these five senses help me care for myself throughout the day, week, month, and year?
I'll give you a workplace example.
I could really feel like I am not good at communicating with my current boss or coworkers, but today I understand that I get to choose to activate all 5 of my senses for my own benefit.
For example... I have to work 1 on 1 with a person whom I feel does not communicate well and I tend to feel intimidated by them due to the tone they use when speaking to me. Before entering that work environment, I can arm myself with a boost of confidence, courage, and an open mindset by activating my five senses. I can spray my favorite perfume, write a quick affirmation that says 'I listen to understand the speaker, not to plan what I will say next', then repeat it back to myself aloud and say 'You've got this. It is going to work out. And if it doesn't, I will have learned something about this person.' Just before I head out, maybe I pop a peppermint in my mouth to help me feel fresh or a jolly rancher to help me feel relaxed.
Note: This strategy may not be apparent if you don't do some research before going into the preplanned situation. So, say the night before, I may have read a book on communication that armed me with different verbiage I could use to help convey my point of view in a way that they may better understand... use your resources... whatever they are...
My point is, it doesn't matter what you choose when activating your 5 senses... so long as it is positive and helps YOU feel better about YOUR situation.
All the things I mentioned in the examples above, can help empower me, Kahdija Imari, to go into a situation being the best version of myself.
So, what are you allowing into your life through your five senses that could be degrading your self-worth, self-confidence, self-love, etc, and you not even know it?
Take caution what you let into your life...
Whatever comes in, will flow out.