By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
The topic of self-care and mental health awareness has never been more in the spotlight than it is now, when the entire world has lived through nearly a year of challenging and extraordinary circumstances.
Celebrities and influencers are coming to the forefront to share their stories, unashamed to speak of their personal struggles in an effort to inspire others who may be having a hard time coping with the new normal.
Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, for exampled, advised people to write a book, learn an instrument or a language, or learn to code online, draw or paint. Reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian offered self-care tips to her followers that included working out, calming techniques and sexual health advice. Singer Camila Cabello said mediation has changed her life in the last few months, helping with relieving stress as well as anxiety.
Tribune Woman asked a number of Bahamian women to share their personal self-care tips that have helped them take better care of their mental well-being.
“I cannot say this enough, but it is so important to pamper yourself. There is nothing shallow about it either,” said Shandra Bethel.
“As moms, we are taking care of our homes, making sure we are on time for our jobs and our duties, and we cannot afford to fall off in anyway. But what we don’t realise is, as we are doing all of theses things – you know, making sure everyone is good – who is making sure we are? You have to find something that you enjoy and make it a habit of putting it into practice on a regular basis. I get my hair and nails done and I have just recently got into getting my lashes done. Seeing myself all fixed up makes me feel good and all bubbly inside, and that is how I want to feel. Apart from this, something as simple as lighting a candle, turning on your iPad, dimming the lights and sitting in the bathtub is pampering yourself; it feels good and it is important.”
Vanessa Simon said her “me time” tip is to take social media breaks often.
“I can’t be the only one who found myself waking up and the first thing I am picking up is my phone, and the same before going to bed…on my phone.”
She said while the internet offers a lot information you need in daily life, and social media can keep you abreast of what’s happening in your vicinity and around the world, like with all things we consume, too much of a anything comes with its own problems.
“My friend invited me over to spend Thanksgiving dinner with her and her family last year. It was about five of us, and what got me was when she had to repeatedly tell me ‘to be present’. Yes, I was there with her, but on my phone 24/7. We took photos, but as soon as that was done, here I was trying to decide which photo to upload via Instagram or what caption to think of. As we are on a curfew, I was obviously only there for a short time. But in the end I realised how much time I wasted on my phone, something I was taking home with me. I didn’t really get to spend much time with my friends due to restrictions, but I realised how much social media consumed my time. I am not saying never go on social media, but I encourage people to set boundaries and limits when it comes to your time and your phone; I encourage people to be present,” said Vanessa.
For Anastasia, self-care takes on the form of “dating herself.” She said there was once a time when being single made her feel depressed and alone. So typically when one relationship ended, she found herself in another shortly after.
“Boy, was I doing it wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be wined and dined. I love a shoulder to lean on, but most of all, I love me. My friends would laugh when they would call and find out I am in the movie theatre catching a show all by myself, or at a bar enjoying a mojito by my lonesome; sitting up at Starbucks at any time of the day. I want and enjoy my own company. I even have some of my friends trying it, and I love to see it,” said Anastasia.
“I am now comfortable with it and it doesn’t bother me at all. There are many lessons in dating yourself, but one that stands out to me right now is: you are not going to give yourself less than what you deserve. And once you are familiar and comfortable with what you deserve, you won’t settle for less. I thank God for giving me the provisions to be able to treat myself in this way, I am truly grateful.”
Michelle Duncombe said her number one tip is to pray and meditate.
“Just recently...my fiancé and little sister, we all went to the beach where we enjoyed some time in the water. I said to my fiancé, take some stress off of your shoulders and get in the water. Before he could respond, my sister, she is six by the way, she sat with her legs crossed, closed her eyes and put her fingers together. She said, ‘Come on, you can do it like this.’ Mind you, I had no idea she was even aware of this. I was blown away and so touched by it, that a child knew how to practice quieting her mind and letting it all flow. So there you have it, I offer you advice from my six-year-old sister,” said Michelle.