Self-Care Truths From Tia Mowry
Dear Anser Community,
Thanks for visiting our new blog, a place where we're going to speak openly, candidly, and frequently about the importance and many different forms of self-care in your life. Let's start by losing any judgment and setting the vibe for this community space.
Our foundation is this: taking care of yourself does NOT make you selfish. In order to be the best mom, the best partner, the best CEO, the best entrepreneur, the best friend—you have to take care of yourself.
We’ve all gotten ourselves into a collective bad habit. We tend to put everyone first before ourselves. Especially as women, we take care of our children, our significant others, and our friends and family, and we forget about our own needs. It’s time to change that!
If we don’t tend to our own needs, what we’re giving to others isn’t our best. There are a lot of sayings about this, like, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” or “secure your own oxygen mask on before helping others,” and I have my own: “how can the goose lay the egg if the goose does not take care of herself?”
These all mean the same thing: take care of yourself first so that you can be the best you that you can be. And your family, friends, coworkers, and community want to see this best version of you!
Putting yourself first can be kind of challenging.
You really have to give yourself permission to prioritize yourself. And if you haven’t done that, that’s what this blog is here for!
I’m so passionate about encouraging women to take control of their health and wellness, and it comes from a really personal place.
My health and wellness journey started because of a battle with endometriosis—a highly inflammatory and painful medical condition that affects between 10-20% of American women. My doctor said if I didn’t want any more surgeries or to be on pain meds all the time, I would have to change my lifestyle.
And I am glad I listened. I gave myself permission to put myself first. I changed my diet, started managing my stress with yoga and meditation, and began exercising regularly. Because I was taking care of myself, everything in my life got better. I no longer had eczema flare-ups, my migraines went away, I was able to have my two beautiful children.
Since it’s so personal, EVERYTHING is an opportunity for self-care.
I know this year has been beyond stressful and anxious for a lot of us. Things have been feeling like they’re out of our control, and every day, it seems like things are only getting crazier and busier. Stress can show up in some crazy, funky ways like digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, headaches, lowered immune systems, irritability, low energy, and a lot more. Now, more than ever, we should be listening to our bodies and giving ourselves permission to take breaks and focus on our needs in that moment.
In a time of political unrest and social injustices, I like to remember that practicing self-care is even more necessary than it’s ever been. It’s so relevant to think about the origins of self-care. This concept first started to encourage patients to embrace physical independence and a sense of self-worth—especially among Black people and people of color who often feel unseen or unrepresented in the health care system.
But self-care really took off in America as the Black community adopted it as an essential means of staying resilient during the civil rights movement. I love this quote by Black feminist writer Audre Lorde:
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Taking control of your own health and wellness and owning your self-care is telling yourself and others: “I MATTER.”
So...what is self-care?
Basically, self-care is listening to your body - and mind and soul - and responding to what it needs. The “self” part of self-care is super important because self-care is so personal at its core. YOU are the only one that can do this for yourself. YOU are in control and in charge.
Self-care can totally be a glass of wine, bubble bath, face mask, candles. But it can also be going for a walk without your cell phone or FaceTiming a friend you haven’t talked to in months or even taking a nap!
The act of putting yourself first and listening to your body is SO important for every aspect of your life. Benefits of self-care include:
• Reduced stress
• More energy throughout the day
• Increased productivity and focus
• Being more in touch with your emotions
My self-care routine often involves food. I love to cook, and part of my self-care routine is eating foods that are healthy and nourishing to my body, but I also like to indulge. And in those moments, self-care is giving myself permission to eat what feels good (like homemade chocolate chip cookies!) AND—more importantly—to not feel bad about it afterward.
Self-care can be saying NO to things you don’t want or need, too!
Not checking your phone first thing in the morning is self-care. Unfollowing people on social media who make you feel bad about yourself is self-care. Saying no to a happy hour event when you’d really rather be snuggled up on the couch reading a book is self-care.
However...keep in mind that self-care is rooted in self-preservation—not numbness or avoidance or over-indulgence.
Binge-watching your favorite shows (or your hate-to-love shows) can be self-care if what you really need is rest and a good belly laugh. BUT if you’re binge-watching TV to try to numb yourself from feeling your feelings, you might want to take a deeper look at why you feel like you need to numb yourself in the first place. Even though it makes you feel better in the moment, is what you’re doing actually serving you in the long term? Or is it just prolonging some bad feelings you’re going to have to deal with eventually?
This brings me to one last point: sometimes, the biggest act of self-care can be exploring the deep, dark parts within yourself. Attending therapy or counseling, having a good cry, or journaling can be really useful to help you become the best version of yourself and equip you to show up for others in your life.
Sending my love and giving you permission to take care of yourself—today and every day!