The following post is a guest blog from Ebony Harley!

Hello everyone!! I hope that 2018 is going well for you all. Before I dive in, I want to briefly introduce myself. My name is Ebony Harley and I am a sister, a friend and a perfectionist who is passionate about living a life that both God and I are proud of.  In my free time, I’m also obsessed with self-care and emotional/mental wellness.

I am so passionate about self-care because I realize that it is not only an integral component of mental and emotional wellness, but also is an important part of our relationships. As women, we are expected to give so much and it’s important that we fill our tanks so that we have something to pour from. In our relationships, how we treat ourselves is a signal to others of how we expect to be treated. One of my favorite quotes, which I’ll attribute to the Oprah Winfrey is, “You teach people how to treat you,” and this is absolutely true. People will treat you no better than you treat yourself because YOU set that standard.

What is self-care? It’s whatever you need to recharge and reflect. For some that means indulging in their favorite meal, for others it may mean creating and sticking to a budget, and for me it means working to create a life that I don’t need to constantly retreat from.

With that – let’s delve into my self-care routine, shall we?

1: Boundaries. One of the first things I realized about my own mental wellness is the vital importance of creating boundaries. There are some things that I won’t allow to even come across my consciousness because of how empathetic and sensitive I am to other’s energies (and opinions). For that reason, my Facebook is currently deactivated, and I take very seriously how other people make me feel. If the vibe isn’t right or if I find that a topic or conversation is making me feel a way, then I act on it. Now, I don’t get this right every time, but when I catch it – I remove myself. Sometimes that means leaving the room, “accidentally” ending the call, changing the subject or just saying how I feel.

2: Physical Activity. Almost nothing makes me feel better, at least for a little while, than working out. The process of getting to the gym is ALWAYS a long one and I surely talk myself out of it a million times over, but once that work out is over, I feel like a BEAST! No, seriously – I feel so much better and I know it’s scientific, but it’s also just knowing that I did one thing FOR ME and that, is amazing.

3: Creating & Maintaining Sacred Spaces. Recently, I began my quest to make my room a space that I could retreat to. I wanted it to be tranquil and inviting, so I did my best to include elements that felt that way to me.  I cleared the energy with Palo Santo, added a few candles to my collection, purchased a record player and vintage records for the vibes and did some rearranging to make the space more functional.

4: Looking My Best. I try to make sure that my clothes mimic as closely as possible what I want to feel on the inside. That differs daily, but usually involves my eyebrows being on and popping, smelling good, and having on at least one article of clothing that when I look in the mirror I’m pleased with.

5: Pouring into my Spirit. I am a Believer and stand firmly in knowing that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. I use my belief as another form of self-care by listening to worship music, reading and reflecting on God’s word, and praying and meditating that I can manifest His will for my life, which I believe is for me to live a happy, healthy and fulfilled existence. Whatever your belief system is, it is so important to align yourself to a practice that promotes your mental well-being.  Whether it’s meditation, prayer, church, yoga, temple, synagogue or mindfulness – just take some time to vibe with your highest self-knowing how special you are and that no one on this earth can you like YOU can.

These are just a few ways that I’ve learned to take care of me. Self-care for you may look totally different. What’s important is that you take the time to figure it out and do those things that you need to do to feel your best. Feel free to leave any ideas or your own personal self-care activities in the comments!

About Ebony

Ebony Harley is  a sister, friend, aunt, god-mama,  daughter and Believer. She is also a living testament of the power of education – with all the degrees (BA in Economics, Masters in Social Work + Business Administration) to prove it. Sometimes, Ebony blogs over on where she hopes to bring readers along on her journey of life, self-care and ultimately – genuine joy. Full-time, Ebony works as a CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield helping to advance the mission of extending healthcare to even the most vulnerable populations.