Self Care, Millennial Style: Diary of an Expat

As a millennial, you may be often criticized for wanting things that are different that the desires of past generations. A millennial myself, I can agree that I am definitely in a different place in my life currently than my parents were when they were my age and thankfully I’ve learned early on that it’s impossible to have everything figured out.

After all, we are the pioneers of selfies, memes and social media and more often that not, it may be difficult to gain the respect of an ‘older’ person in either a professional or personal setting because of the assumptions that as a generation we are ‘lazy and entitled’. Additionally, we may take a lot of heat for doing crazy things like enjoying life, snapping our food before we eat it or on a different spectrum, prioritizing self-care. While the topics of self-care and mental health are now discussed openly and with significance, in the past, these matters carried a lot of weight and were regularly stigmatized.

While our older counterparts may see us as selfish, we may just be smarter than the rest as the practice of self-care has been proven to be a sign of emotional intelligence. The concept is simple: you’re no good to anyone else if you aren’t good to yourself first.

Taking care of oneself is a necessity and it’s a topic I am personally very passionate about. An unofficial ‘self care queen’; I have proudly smashed my 2018 resolution to dedicate more time and energy to myself and the results are significant. Not only do I feel happier in general and more at peace with myself because of this, I have also made strides in my improving my physical, mental and spiritual health all of which have positively impacted every area of my life.

As an expat, being alone without a solid support system can be daunting and without proper help it is an extremely slippery slope. Asking for help is not always easy and it’s definitely something that I’ve struggled with in the past. While our families may just be a whatsapp or Skype session away, there really is nothing that can compare to hug from your mom/dad when you’re feeling down or a chat with a longtime friend during gloomy times. One thing I’ve come to accept in this journey is that it is okay to not be okay.

It is okay to feel overwhelmed, anxious, under pressure or even struggle with feelings of inadequacy. We are all human after all. What’s not okay is being reluctant to seek help or finding comfort in the negativity. Self-care is a choice and it’s one that we must all make.

In the past year, I’ve had moments where I would suddenly feel guilty or alone, question all my decisions or decide that I no longer want to live so far away from my loved ones. I’ve struggled with feelings of sadness and guilt and while I consider myself a very positive person 99% of the time, the negative feelings are sometimes inescapable. My decision to prioritize self-care has been instrumental in improving the overall quality of my life, and the simple practices are easy enough to do at any time in the day. Read on for a few of the ways I practice self-care in my every day life!

JOURNAL:

An old school technique definitely! While most venting sessions are now done through Twitter or Facebook Statuses, there really is nothing that can compare to laying out all your thoughts on paper. Journaling is extremely therapeutic and gives you the opportunity to somehow see your feelings from a third person perspective. Through this, it’s easy to gain more clarity and lift the weight off your chest in a positive way.

EXERCISE:

The people who know me best definitely know that exercise is my go to self-care practice! Whether it’s a spin class or weight lifting session, my mood is always 1000% better after a workout. It’s certainly easy to get caught up in life and buy the excuse that we are too ‘busy’ but if you don’t choose yourself first, the no one else will- and that’s a fact!

SAYING NO TO THINGS I DON’T WANT TO DO:

This one isn’t always easy but at times it really is absolutely necessary. I’ve learned that it’s okay to say no to things that you’re not sure about or straight up don’t want to do. While we aim to please our friends and keep those around us happy, nothing is worth beating up ourselves over or just depleting our energy in an unenjoyable way. If you want to skip that party to stay home and watch Netflix, then do what your heart tells you!

UNPLUG FOR AN HOUR:

Being in touch and online is definitely important considering that I live away from my family and loved ones but it’s essential that some time is taken during the day to simply disconnect. During a work out or when I’m having lunch, I put my phone on airplane mode and it’s worked wonders in helping me appreciate the present moment and just relax.

 

Throughout it all, it’s important to keep in mind that self-care isn’t a one-time deal but a conscious choice at all times. It’s the constant repetition of many tiny habits, which together soothe you and make sure you’re at your optimum—emotionally, physically, and mentally.

The XX Team

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