I started watching Queer Eye Season 3 this past weekend because I needed to feel the love in myself and in humanity. With my menstrual cycle coming to an end, I was more susceptible to depressed thoughts and to negative energy, so I tried to find ways to feel uplifted and positive.
Watching Queer Eye again made me fall in love with the Fab Five for the third time. While they definitely love themselves, a love they’ve each worked hard for, they use that love to relate to others and to teach self-love. No matter what. No matter your gender or sex. Your race or sexual preference. Your age or income. What you’ve been through or who has rejected you. Just plain and simple love for yourself.
Watching now the third season, it appears to be a common trend that those who need self-love the most seem to practice it the least. Maybe it’s because of what self-love triggers — a bad memory or a tragedy — something that upsets someone even if they don’t know why. No matter what the case, the Fab Five get to the bottom of it and teach others how to love themselves again. And they do it beautifully. Genuinely. In a way we all could learn from.
We are, after all, here for one other. So we might as well be there for one another too. Sharing, like we learn when we’re young, is caring. For ourselves and for others.
And mental health begins with self-love. Because when it comes to mental health, it’s not just about managing the bad thoughts, it’s also about inviting the good thoughts in. The ones that make you smile. Feel comforted. Stand a little taller. Assert yourself more. Put yourself first and be true to yourself above everything else. Have unconditional love for yourself.
Since self-care is the path to self-love, you must engage in acts of self-care every day in order to love yourself. Do the things that bring you joy even if it’s difficult to do them. And that's why routines are so important.
My routines have gotten me in the habit of performing acts of self-care throughout each day. No matter how difficult the day may be. To help me find myself when I’m lost. To remind me of who I am. To show myself some love.
Aside from all of the basic means of self-care like getting my hair cut, flossing and following my sensory diet, I practice a number of acts of self-care every day. I meditate first thing every morning; I use my weighted blanket as I drink my morning tea, while I eat lunch and at night before bed; I exercise before lunch; I use essential oils after I shower and at night before bed; I read and write throughout the day; I listen to music when I take a bath or a shower, when I exercise and when I cook dinner; And I do yoga in the afternoon and in the evening.
My yoga teacher once instructed me to have a space in my house specifically to do yoga. A spot I would enjoy being in where the purpose was for me to connect my mind and my body and my soul. A space to physically move through all my troubles. I happened to find the perfect spot to lay my mat where the sun shines in in the afternoon. And every afternoon, when I see the bright sun shining in on that space, it’s a reminder to go to my mat. To take some time to do something that brings me joy. Even if I still have work to do. Even if the sun isn’t shining that day. Even if getting into my poses is difficult, I find myself wandering over to my mat. An act of self-care that has become a routine. A way for me to find joy every day without even having to think about it. To practice self-love as the Fab Five would want me to.
This story originally ran on Psych Central on April 11, 2019. Since Psych Central has been sold, the link to the original is no longer available.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay