Tips for Staying Motivated on Your Journey to Self-Love

Over the last few weeks, I have been experiencing what we call a creative funk here at themusingsofmara.com. I’ve talked about my process of dealing with creative funks in a post before, and one of the ways I deal with this is go to straight to the reason I create content: my audience! I asked my followers on Instagram what kind of posts did they want me to write. One of good friends and supporters wanted to know how to stay motivated while working on your self-love, even when it feels like you’re not seeing results quickly enough. I thought it was a great topic.

I’ll be honest, lately I’ve been struggling with my own self-love. My body-image has especially been a struggle since moving and the pandemic led to me gaining a good amount of weight and snacking wayyyy more than I was when I was going to a gym 4x a week. However, aside from that, I like to think I’ve come a long-way on my self-love journey in the last few years. In undergrad my self-talk was not kind at all. Now I catch myself when I am mean to myself. I’m going to try my best to explain how to stay motivated on your own journey to self-love.

Do something small related to self-love every day

I think when people think of cultivating their self-love, they think it needs to be a bunch of work every day. While that may make your journey progress faster (or not, it differs by person), you can also change your mindset by doing one small thing every day. For example, I have this fitness journal and one of the daily prompts in it is says “Today I love my body because _____” and then you fill in the blank. I notice when I’m adamant about filling this out every morning in like 5 mins, I have more positive outlook on my body for the rest of the day and overall.

Realize that you can’t rush it

There is no proper timeline for achieving self-love. There is no finish line. It is a lifelong journey that also works in cycles, at least that’s what I believe. By rushing yourself to progress, you will only frustrate yourself and create more negative feelings about yourself. Be patient with yourself and understand that you are trying to do a lifetime of negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. It will take time and that’s okay.

Track your wins & progress

The best way to stay motivated is to make note of your progress, no matter how small! Even if it seems like something that’s not noteworthy, write it down! For example, if you notice that you’ve gone a whole day without a negative thought about yourself: write it down! If you notice that you had a negative thought but then you countered it with a positive affirmation, write it down! If you remembered to say your positive affirmations every day for 3 days in a row: you guessed it, write it down! You will stay motivated if you realize you actually ARE progressing. Don’t undermine that progress and see where you need work.

Follow people/accounts that make you feel good about yourself

I’m obsessed with Instagram accounts that have positive quotes and illustrations related to self-love. If you follow me, you know that I’m always sharing these types of posts on my IG stories. As someone who spends A LOT of time on social media, it’s so important for me to create a space that makes me feel happy and work towards self-love and it’s just as important for YOU.

Realize you’re only human & won’t be perfect

Give yourself grace during your self-love journey. Some days will be better than others and as I mentioned earlier, there is no proper timeline for self-love. Striving for perfection stops progress. Achieving self-love ongoing process and you are human so you might not always be perfect at it. Do it anyways and be disciplined in doing so. If you are disciplined and do something related to self-love every day, you will be amazed at how far you will come in a year.

Fostering self-love is hard but completely worth it. You may feel like you aren’t moving towards self-love fast enough, but that’s not true! You’re moving at the pace necessary for your own journey. You’re doing amazing sweetie! Don’t worry.

Please refer back to this blog post whenever you need to and share it with your friends!

Things I Do For Self-Care When I’m Broke

Due to the Holidays, Finals, and the New Year all being within the same two week time span, the end of the year can be one of the most stressful times in the year. If you practice Holidays that celebrate gift-giving, this time can also be a time that breaks the bank as well. This often leads to having to put our needs and wants on the back burner. Self-care is a trending topic and I’m all here for it. However, I don’t think that self-care has to necessarily require us to pay for a pedicure or face mask, or even buy anything at all. In this post I will be discussing 5 things I do for self-care that are completely FREE yet beneficial to my well-being.

  1. Go Outside and Ground Myself

So the art of grounding yourself can be defined differently by everyone but for the sake of this blog I’m talking about grounding myself with the earth. The most effective way to do this for me is by standing barefoot in sand (or grass now that I don’t live in San Diego close to the beach) and doing breathing exercises. It’s kind of like meditating but you are standing up. I love to ground myself because it reminds me that I’m part of something much bigger than myself and shifts my perspective on everything, even my problems.

  1. Turn Off My Phone For A Day (or a few hours)

As a blogger and a millennial I will say that one stereotype that I often fall into is that I’m always on my phone. As a matter of fact, I’m usually on my phone majority of the time I’m awake unless I’m at work. Lately I’ve been practicing leaving my phone in another room and just being content with sitting and doing nothing or reading a book in silence. Taking a break from technology is a good way to take care of ourselves.

  1. Cleaning and Decluttering My Space(s)

Okay so I don’t know about you all but as I’ve grown over the years I realize that if my space is a mess, it’s usually a reflection of my life at the time. Whether it’s my room, desk at work, kitchen, or whatever else if there is mess and clutter there simply cleaning it up can be a great morale booster and one of the best-practices of self-care (if you’re not the type to get stressed out by cleaning).

  1. Listen To Nature Sounds

Ever since I was a baby the sound of water has always made me feel at peace. My mom used to have to run the tub or faucet just to get me to fall asleep. As a former San Diego resident one of my favorite things to do used to be just going out to the beach and night and listening to the ocean waves. If you can do this in person it is awesome but there are also videos on YouTube that have these sounds as well. My personal favorite thing is this app I downloaded called Tide. It has recordings of different sounds of nature from forests to my personal favorite, rain, and other things in between. When I listen to these I almost instantly feel better and more at peace and relaxed.

  1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep (and make it a habit)

Honestly, this is something I struggle with. I should always be doing this but life sometimes gets hectic and nights with only 4 or 5 hours of sleep happen. If this is the life that you also typically lead find a way to get a few nights of good rest. There are few things better than waking up from an ample amount of sleep. Making sure you are well rested is one of the best ways to take care of yourself, your body, and your mind. If this is not possible I also encourage naps. In college even a 15 minute power nap had a drastic effect on my day.

While charcoal masks, online shopping, and eating at your favorite restaurant can be good ways to practice self-care, they are always free and feasible. All of these tips can be utilized at any point during your day. I hope that you are able to practice these free self-care tips and they transform your physical and mental well-being.

What do you do when you need to practice self-care but you have to spend your money elsewhere? Let me know in the comments!

3 Signs You’re the Toxic Person in Your Life and How to Fix It

I’m not one of those people who believe in “good vibes only” or only focusing on the positive things in life. Being a constantly positive person is hard and, in my opinion, impossible for most people. As humans we aren’t perfect and there are times when we’re going to have a shitty day and be in a shitty mood. This is fine. However, there is a difference between having a bad day or week and being the toxic person in your life or the lives of others. As someone who has gone through these moments at earlier times in my life, I’ve discovered 3 signs that will tell you if you are the toxic person and how to fix it if you are.

1. You are always angry/in a bad mood and take it out on others

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As I said earlier, it is perfectly okay to have a bad mood for a day or week. Some people even have bad months depending on what they are going through in life. What’s not okay is constantly being in a bad mood and taking this out on those around us. Nobody wants to be friends with the person who is always angry, never has anything nice to say, and acts like an asshole to most people around them. Even if you disguise it in constant sarcasm, slick comments, passive aggressive behavior, or whatever else, it’s annoying and toxic to others and yourself.

How to fix it: Find out why you are so angry

Unless you suffer from a disorder that makes your emotions not at your own will, most people experience another emotion before anger. Figure out what emotion(s) you’re trying to mask in anger. Are you sad? Are you hurting? Is there a trauma you don’t want to deal with? Ask yourself these questions and similar ones to find out the root of your anger. This is the only way you can address this anger and move on to a life not plagued by it.

2. You’re jealous of others and their accomplishments

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Being a hater is one of the most toxic things to your well-being. I don’t mean the haters everyone swore they had in high school but a genuine hater who hates to see others do well. A hater is someone who constantly hates on others’ magnificent accomplishments. Do you find yourself getting jealous of strangers or even worse…your “friends?” Do you hear about people’s new promotions at work or their new PR at the gym and find yourself looking for a way to cut them down or “humble them?” If you’re this type of person you’re toxic to yourself and others and people will definitely pick up on it even if you never say anything out loud. They will stop telling you the good things that happen to them because you’ll always be known as somebody who is a hater and has nothing good to say when people share their accomplishments.

How to fix it: Realize you are an adequate being and what is for you won’t pass you by

Many times when we try to dull someone else’s sparkle it’s because we are insecure about our own shine. As people we have insecurities or feelings of inadequacy sometimes. What’s important is that we don’t let these feelings consume us so much that we can’t be happy for the next person. Another reason people become haters is because they want what someone else has. There are very few things that are in such scarcity in the world that you need to covet those who have them. What is meant for you is FOR YOU so long as you take the steps needed to achieve it. Hating on the next person won’t get you any closer to your goals. Aspire to be inspired by those who are we’re you want to be and learn from them instead of wishing them bad.

3. You only call/text your friends to talk about yourself, your problems, or other people

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There is nothing that toxic people are better at than maintaining one-sided friendships that only benefit them. If you’re constantly reaching out to others with no intentions of seeing how they are doing, you might be the toxic friend. I’m using the term friend loosely here. But seriously, if you only think to hit people up when you’re going through some shit, they aren’t your friend…they are your therapist and honestly that’s not fair to them. This isn’t the same thing as a friendship where the energy and effort is mutual and you both help each other through hard times. This is you not checking in with someone unless you need something from them and they are helping you in some way…it’s toxic. If you only reach out to a friend to talk badly about other people that’s toxic as well and not good for either of you. Only equally toxic people want friends who never have anything good to say about others.

How To Fix It: Get a therapist and a journal

One way to make sure you’re not the friend who only keeps in contact to talk about the shit going on in your life is to have someone whose job it is to let you vent to them. Therapy is often looked down upon (especially in communities of color) but if you have this tendency you could probably use someone with the proper skills and knowledge to help you through these times. Another way to master your emotions and feelings is to write about them. I know I say this all the time but it works, okay? Ever since I’ve started journaling I have become better at dealing with my emotions. This can help you too. Also, if you find yourself consistently gossiping about others, you need to figure out what insecurities you are trying to hide by doing so. As I mentioned earlier everyone has insecurities and it’s okay but talking badly about others won’t make anything within ourselves better. Find the problems within yourself and handle them.

I believe that everyone goes through a phase or two where they are the toxic person in their own life as well as the lives of others. What’s important is being able to recognize this and taking the steps needed to check ourselves and deal with our problematic behaviors. The first step is awareness so if any of these signs rang true for you I hope you take my suggestions. Help yourself live a peaceful non-toxic life. You are in charge with how you deal with life so take the steps towards happiness not bitterness.