The Power and Purpose of Recharging: A Playlist and Ode to Self-Care

*cue up Solange’s Borderline*

Let me start by saying that the past week has been a mental health hell for me. I feel it’s important to say that first because it colors just why I believe this post -- and the practice of self-care in an age of comparing our lives based on “likes” -- is necessary. For reasons that I don’t care to disclose, I’ve found myself feeling out of alignment lately. I’ve powered through it (usually with a smile), but the discontent is still there. My mind feels it. My heart feels it. My spirit feels it.

When you reach a space of mental negativity so overbearing that it’s physically palpable, there is no, “don’t sweat it” that will counteract it; which is where the need for self-care comes in.

Generally, self-care is described, “as any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.”

However, finding the balance in covering all three of those bases can be difficult in practice. I’ve personally been so focused on bettering my physical health that I didn’t stop to realize how neglectful I’d been to my emotions until I was sitting in the locker room at SoulCycle balling in tears and still can’t articulate why.

What I do know is that I am a person who bottles up feelings until they are ready to explode like an over shaken soda. I’m also chronically afraid of conflict, which further lends itself the appearance of being okay.  

And while we’re on the subject -- saying “How do I appear?” instead of “How do I feel?” is probably one of the most problematic questions that one can ask themselves. We’ve gotten so caught up in worrying about if others think we’re fine, that we miss out on doing the work to get to that point. For me, the SoulCycle episode was enough to say it’s time to slow down, recharge and be better to myself. Here’s how I did:

  • Unplug.

This was absolutely the hardest part of this process for me. First of all, I love social media. I am admittedly the stereotypical Instagramming, tweeting, food photo-ing millennial that baby boomers complain about. To make it even worse my job requires me to spend hours at a time on various social platforms. Even still, I decided not to post for two days. It doesn’t seem like much to most, but for me it felt like two years. However, it also allowed me the rare opportunity to just be in the moment.

  • Assess.

Without the sorting through 50 slightly similar selfies and thinking of a caption I had lots of time to really ask myself, “Courtney -- what’s wrong?” The best part about posing that question to yourself is that you know you can be honest about the answer, even if it’s hard to do so. This is the time for introspection in the highest form because if you can’t be truthful about how you’re feeling with yourself, then who can you do so with?

  • Decompress.

The “decompression” (or stress relieving) process means burying yourself into something that feels good to the soul -- whatever that maybe. For me, music is by far the most stress relieving thing in the world. I don’t love anything more than making a playlist to fit a special occasion or singing along to my favorite song (loud and off-key as possible) or just being by myself and listening. It is my form of self-soothing so that’s what I did. Because I know I’m not alone in this rut of life, I thought what better way to share the call for self-care than by making a playlist to go along with it? So here it is - a soundtrack for those feeling out of balance and off-centered.  

One for us.

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