I know it’s hard to find time to incorporate relaxation and calm into a BUSY day or week. But, sis, did you know practicing self-care regularly can improve your focus, enhance your self-esteem, reduce stress, and foster healthier relationships? These are just a few benefits of self-care; there are many more.
So, what is self-care?
Self-care is an activity that helps us relax, refresh, and refocus. That’s it, plain and simple.
Consider these essential areas of self-care: emotional, mental, spiritual, professional, physical, and social health. Self-care doesn’t necessarily cost you anything, but it does require time, consistency, and intentionality to reap the benefits. Sis, YOU ARE WORTH IT! YOU DESERVE time to care for yourself!
So, how can we ensure that we practice self-care daily? I’m glad you asked! I’ve created a 10-step checklist to guide you towards a successful daily, weekly, or monthly self-care routine. Check it out below and be prepared to feel absolutely AMAZING!
Set daily reminders! (Most of us carry our phones everywhere, so why not set a SELF-CARE reminder to help ensure you get it done daily. Be creative!)
Add it to your calendar or to-do list. (If you have a list of things to do anyway, why not add self-care to the list as well?)
Prepare your mindset. (Believe you deserve peace and calm. If you don’t believe it for yourself, no one else will.)
Feed your mind. (What can you focus on or meditate on that will bring you a sense of calm? Consider positive quotes, motivational videos, or books.)
Decide on the activity you will do. (What does your body and mind need today? Focus on how long you will indulge in this self-care activity to relax and replenish. Just decide to DO IT!)
Examine your work schedule. If you work, identify where you can fit in self-care, plan time off, and take mental health days. Use your paid time off as often as possible.
Connect with your support system. If you haven’t in a while, call someone or get out in the community. Find a support group, reach out to your church, and seek out others who care about your well-being.
Prepare for a restful night of sleep. Set your phone on Do Not Disturb at a certain time, turn off the TV one hour before bedtime, and focus on positive things.
Self-reflect. Think about what you did to take care of yourself today. How did it make you feel?
On this day, I want to take the time to honor my Father. Honestly, I have NEVER taken the time to do this.
As I write this blog, I’m starting to tear up, you see because my Father was not actively in my life growing up.
He was an absent father, which made me feel rejected and abandoned.
He and my mother separated when my brother and I were young.
Sadly no one told me WHY.
I was young and didn’t know how to ask questions. I bottled up all my emotions because I didn’t know how to express myself appropriately so I started coping negatively.
I get into more of that negative behavior later-
So, I’ve decided to honor my Father on this day, as God said.
Now that may sound a little weird to you if you don’t understand how God works, but if you do, then we are on the same level of understanding when it comes to God telling us to do something.
We know that it has a purpose, and I believe that many women might feel the same way I think or not but can at least identify as a fatherless daughter as I do.
Over the last several months, I’ve been on a mission to learn and read books and articles about fatherless daughters. I found that 1 and 3 women identify as fatherless daughters. Ranging from the loss of their Father due to parents’ divorce/separation, emotional neglect/absence, death, addiction, jail, desertion, abuse, or never meeting her Father.
Now I’m not going to get into a lot of statistics, but I did want to share a few findings I thought would be helpful. These findings were interesting because the parent divorce/separation was 28% but what was mind-blowing was the complete emotional absence was 26%. This means that the Father, even though his presence was in the home, he was NOT present with his daughter. Now my Father was not in the house with us, but just thinking about the percentage of daughters that have their fathers in the home yet still feel rejected and abandoned is devastating.
So why is Fathers Day so important?
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve NEVER honored my Father for anything. I never said Happy Father’s Day, Happy Birthday, or Happy anything. I never spent Father’s day or a birthday with him, because to be honest, I didn’t know how to. But today, I honor him simply because he was my Father. I praise Him because I have his DNA. Because God chose him to be my Father. And because I wish I had taken the time to spend with him while he was still alive.
For years, I unknowingly displayed anger, insecurities, low self-esteem, and not loving or understanding who I was.
I had a poor attitude, attracting unhealthy, abusive men. I discuss in detail the two abusive relationships I was in in my first book, Love Thyself, which is available on Amazon.com.
I wore a MASK and constantly compared myself to others because I didn’t believe I was worthy. All of these were symptoms of my rejection and abandonment issues.
It has taken me years, and to be honest, I’m still healing. Still, I’m so blessed to finally be in a place of understanding who I am and finally forgiving my Father.
Yes, FORGIVE my Father.
I get it; forgiveness is NOT an easy thing to do.
I certainly can not and will not tell you what to do, nor do I feel qualified to do so but forgiving my Father has been life-changing for me. It has allowed me to release the pain, hurt, anger, and feeling unloved. And forgiving him has opened me up to unconditional love from my God-sent husband, allowing me to use my voice and take off the mask.
I know you have probably heard it said that forgiveness is NOT for the other person, but forgiveness is for YOU. I hope that if you are a woman that feels rejected or abandoned by her Father, You can relate to feeling anger, hurt, pain, or not feeling worthy. You will take a moment to find ways to heal and understand it was NOT your fault. The healing process takes time and can be challenging, but it is life-changing. My healing process has involved lots of prayer, journaling, counseling, reading relevant books, and understanding the importance of self-care. I’m still in the process, but I’m happy I can see growth. I believe it’s essential for everyone to take the time to explore the areas of our lives that hurt to flourish and live a happy, fulfilled life. If not, we stay stuck.
Letter of Forgiveness to my Father from my book Love Thyself.
I love you. I am so sad I didn’t tell you how much I loved you when you were alive. I miss spending time with you. I hate that I didn’t get to know you the way I wanted. I know you and mama didn’t get along very well, and I realize there was a need for you all to separate. Still, I am disappointed it happened and affected us negatively. We needed you to be there with us, spending time with us, helping us with our homework, going to the movies, and just talking about life. I needed you to show me what type of man I needed. So many years passed without a phone call or visit, and mama felt the need to consistently overcompensate by buying gifts or allowing us to get away with things because she wanted us to have the best. Your absence from our lives affected us in ways you couldn’t even imagine. As I develop a more intimate relationship with God, my heavenly Father, I forgive you for not being aware of what you were doing. I forgive you for not understanding how to parent your children and not knowing how to be a father to your daughter and son. I believe you loved us but didn’t know how to show it. I believe you were thinking about us just as much as we were. I believe you wanted to spend time with us but didn’t know how. Father, I love you and pray for you to rest in peace.
The other reason it was important for me to honor him is that this month marks 20 years of his death. My father died on June 25th, 2002.
At the age of 15 I was sure I had found love, love that would last forever, but little did I know that this love would turn into one abusive relationship after another; leading to years of insecurity, low self-esteem, shame, embarrassment, and guilt. I was looking for love in all the wrong places trying to seek validation in men that were not aware of how to love themselves let alone love me. To be quite honest, I went into both abusive relationships not knowing who or whose I was. I had no clue how significant my life was and is on earth. You see because I lack the knowledge and understanding of my value, I allowed what the world said about me to supersede what the Word said about me. Despite the fact that, my grandmother and mother had communicated how much God loved me and I could talk to Him about anything anytime and the fact that it was a rule I had to go to church every Sunday if I lived in their household, I was still led astray by the enemy. You see, I knew God, through my mother and grandmother, but I did not know Him for myself. My father was not in my life growing up which also played a huge part in my need for validation by men. I craved the attention of men because of the lack of attention I received from my father. It has taken years for me to heal from the hurt, pain, and shame of it all, but I am so thankful God’s plan was so much better than mine. It is interesting how we think we have life all figured out from A to Z, even when things are jacked up and the red flags are stirring us in the face. In both of my abusive relationships, I experienced physical, emotional and psychological abuse and it took me 21 years before I finally found the courage and strength from God to walk away. Yes! It was all God’s strength and power that pulled me out and kept me out. Then God in his boundless Love, sent an angel, my husband, to rescue me from the chaos.
My Love Story
My husband, Freddy and I first met in 2004 during basketball season, my daughter started playing for his traveling basketball team and he was the coach. He was very handsome, and there was something special about him that I found attractive; but when I found out from another basketball mom he was married, that ended my interest in getting to know him better. Every basketball season I would see him and that same feeling would emerge but quickly dissipate once I remembered he was married. Eventually, I accepted the fact that he was taken, and wished him well in my mind. He never knew I secretly had feelings for him until I admitted it to him after we were married.
In November of 2007, I had just ended my second abusive relationship when my now-husband, Freddy, called me after my daughter’s basketball game and asked me out of a date. He told me his life story in the first phone call stating he was no longer married, along with a long list of other likes and dislikes, and that he wanted a chance to get to know me better. I was surprised and super excited all at the same time, and of course, I said yes. To make a long story short, we fell in love and got married 3 years later April 8, 2010. From the moment of our first date until this very day my husband has made me feel like a Queen. Because of his love for me I desired to know God more intimately. It was the first time I felt comfortable and free to praise and study God’s word and seek Him for myself. My husband was gentle, slow to anger and eager to make me happy which I never got from any one of the relationships I was in before. It took me years to heal from the brokenness of my past, and to be quite honest I am still healing. But I am extremely grateful my husband has stayed with me through it all. We are regularly active, traveling and making special time for date nights weekly. I am always excited to spend time with my King. I love my husband and I am so happy God sent him to me to show me what true love is all about. To anyone wondering if true love really exists after abuse, I am here to tell you it does. Never stop believing and trusting God for true love! You are enough, God has not forgotten about you!! I have never felt so much freedom, peace, and love for a relationship before as I do with my husband. He makes my heart sing ever day God allows me to wake. Finding this type of love has been one of my greatest joys other than God’s love for me.