Easy, Simple Self-Care

I go to school full time and work part-time in addition to trying to maintain good physical/mental health. Suffice to say that leaves me with not much time, not a ton of energy, and in desperate need of a break/time to recuperate/take care of myself/not do anything/etc. Most of the time, this kind of mindful taking care of oneself is known as “self-care”. The University of Buffalo (SUNY) School of Social Work explains self-care as:

activities and practices that we can engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance our short- and longer-term health and well-being.

And the great Audre Lorde described her own relationship with self-care as

not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.

In this sense, self-care is a mechanism to counteract the capitalist keep doing and doing and doing mentality that is endemic within Western society. The dominant discourse within the West values the work that our bodies produce especially those of us with marginalized identities, however are bodies/selves/lives are seen as value-less if instead of producing capital gain, we focus on nurturing ourselves. That is how self-care can be a revolutionary act to maintain, uplift, and thrive in societies that are desperate to see us beaten, tired, and emotionally/physically exhausted.

In this post, I’m going to focus on simple, low cost self-care that can be done basically any time. These are self-care activities that are really great for me because I can treat/pamper myself, take my mind off of stressful things, and have a break.

 

Enrich the Soul

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My Favorite Stationery

I’m kind of addicted to stationery. For this post I thought I would focus on the all of the different pens that I have and what I use them for. It’s gonna be a shorter post, but the pictures are pretty 🙂

In my planner I love to use the Sakura Micron PigmaAs you can see from the picture above I have a crap ton of these pens varying from the 005 to the 03 to the 08 to brush pens, basically if Sakura makes it, I probably have it.

I like using these pens because the ink is archival quality, doesn’t smear, and has minimal bleeding. I don’t keep all these pens with me all the time, for the most part I have about 5 in my planner at any given time, but these pens are also nice for journaling.

If you’ve seen my older posts, you know that I used to be a stan for the Stablio Point88 Fine Point pens in my old bullet journal and planner They’re nice pens that come in a lot of graphic colors, but they bleed a bit too much for my taste. I haven’t used them in ages, but once I started journaling again, I’ve been using them to add some much needed pops of color to the minimal color palette I use.

I very rarely use pencils. But I thought what the heck, since they aren’t my most used item I might as well splurge on a nicer model. For my Arabic homework and in class work I use the Pentel Graphgear 500 and a staedtler eraser. It’s a pretty nice pencil. It has a nice weight that makes it feel solid in your hand and a cool metal grippy bit that makes it super easy to hold on to.

Sadly, my picture of my pens ended up looking kind of crap. I use ballpoint Pilot Acroball for all of my notetaking. The pens are really smooth, have a nice darkness, and don’t smear on the paper. I’m a huge huge fan of them.

And yea that’s my favorite stationery! What kinds of pens do you use? Honestly let me know I’m kind of addicted to buying stationery 🙂

I Review So You Don’t Have To…Fitbit Charge

As the responsible adult that I am, the moment I get paid I decide that I need to treat myself. So, to celebrate the new year and help myself in my fitness goals, I bought the Fitbit Charge 2.

As someone who is constantly trying to be more mindful and conscientious of personal wellness, I thought that a fitness tracker would be a good tool in helping me quantify my health. At the time of this review, I’ve been using the Fitbit Charge 2 for a month and these are my thought.

Essentially, the Fitbit model I have tracks sleep, heart beats per minute, steps, how many flights of stairs you’ve gone up, and fitness. How well it does each of these things is up for debate (according to some people the bpm tracker is not super accurate, but it’s fine for me).

It retails from a variety of places for about $150.

Here’s how the Charge 2 is described on the Fitbit website:

Make every beat count with a fitness wristband built with PurePulse® heart rate, multi-sport modes, guided breathing sessions & interchangeable bands.

In addition to the aforementioned attributes of the Fitbit, they also talk a lot the heart rate monitor, multi-sport tracking & GPS, cardio fitness level, and guided breathing sessions as stand out features.

The Fitbit isn’t my first jaunt in the fitness tracker realm. Before using the Charge, I had the Jawbone UP 2. The Jawbone was a fine tracker with a nice app interface, but the strap was pretty flimsy. In less than a year of having the tracker, the band broke, but I was able to return it and have a new one sent my way.

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Taking Care of Dry & Knotted Natural Hair

I have been loving mini twists for the school year. Since I have work and a full course load, I don’t have the time to wash my hair every weekend or style it every single day. That’s why I think mini twists are hands down the best hairstyle for any natural girl in college. The whole process from wash to twisting takes me about 5 hours. That seems like a long time, but I’ve had my current set of mini twists in for about a month. If ya’ll are interested in a full mini twist tutorial, let me know and I can try to make a video of the process!

Any who, after a month of these twists I really miss my afro and having big hair. Plus, I’m finally on break from school so it’s the perfect time for me to have some fun with my hair before I put it back into twists towards the end of this month.

The process that I’m going to deal below is perfect for those times when your hair is dry, knotted and needs some TLC. It’s the perfect base for any style afterwards like twist/braid outs, protective styles, etc.

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What’s In My Backpack?

whats-in-my-backpack

Now that the school year has started, I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve been carrying around everyday. I don’t always have all of these things in my backpack at any given time because my classes are at not always everyday, but this is usually what I have with me!
notebooks

Basically these are the main stays that are almost always in my backpack. I’m kind of a snob about what notebooks I use, so I stick to the same brand.

These Miquel Ruis notebooks are my absolute fave. They’re split into 4 subjects with different colors on the most buttery, smooth paper that’s an absolute delight to write on. Usually I get about two notebooks because they’re kind of expensive at $6.99. Since I take 3 classes, I use one notebook for a class that’s everyday and then use another notebook for my two classes that are only twice a week.

Lastly in the notebook-ish category I have my planner the Get to Work Book. I’ve really been enjoying the layout, greyscale color scheme, and flexibility this planner has been allowing me. I originally thought I wouldn’t carry this planner around with me because of how thick it is, but honestly it hasn’t been that much of a trouble.

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How I Prepare for a New Academic Quarter

how-i-prepare-for

I start school this Wednesday and while I’m excited to get back into the swing of things, I’m also super stressed. It’s not really the classes that stress me out, but more so that I’m starting my junior year of college this year. This means  that in the next year I’ll have to start getting serious about applying to grad school and about planning what I want the next phase of my life to look like. But, that’s a stress for another day.

Plus, I’m working a new job 15 hours a week with a night shift. I’m a bit nervous that it’ll be really hard for me to balance the new job with school.

For now I’m just getting ready for the next quarter. I know that for some of my readers, you all have maybe already been in school since August or earlier in September, but I think that these tips can still be really helpful.

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How I Chose My Majors

jordan-travel-diary

Well howdy doody! While most people have already started school already, being that my university is on the lovely quarter system, I don’t begin school until the 28th of September.

The beginning of the 2016-2017 school year marks the start of my junior year of college…well..actually I’ve been a junior technically since last Winter quarter, but now is my real third year of college.

When I started college back in 2014, my intention was to be a psychology major. After seeing the 400+ person lecture halls that comprise my university’s intro psychology classes, I decided that was not the life for me. In the Winter of my freshman year, I thought that since I didn’t want to do psych anymore, International Studies would be a great replacement major since I love traveling and learning about new cultures.

Basically for that entire quarter and the following, I was sure that I was going to major in International Studies, so I started taking the boo-boo awful required courses to apply for the major like Intro to Microeconomics. That class was so awful that it shook my desire to even continue in the major. I’m not a particularly math-y person and beyond the fundamentals of economics, it doesn’t really follow how my mind works. Plus, it was a bit off putting that my professor was insistent that people only do things for their own self-interest and no actions are ever truly altruistic. Even after my uncertainty if International Studies was something that I wanted to do, I continued down that path.

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Jordan Travel Diary: Petra & Wadi Rum

JORDAN TRAVEL DIARY (1)

Petra is really old, really famous, and really big. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site today, but in its prime, Petra was the home of the Nabataeans (before I went to Petra, I had no idea who they were). The Nebataens were a group of nomadic people primarily in the Levant who lived contemporaneously with the Assyrians, Ancient Greece, and Babylonians. Petra (known in Nabatean as Raqmu) is a series of monumental architecture carved into rock of which the Nabateans are famous.

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To All the Men Who Harassed Me

Note: I’m taking a break from my usual content to get something off my chest that has been bothering me. Getting harassed is a reality in the US, but now in my travels I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed by the amount of negative, draining experiences I’ve had. Writing is a good way for me express myself, so yeh. Here it is. CW: talk of unwanted touching, harassment, anxiety, etc. 

To all the men who harassed me:

Hello. You probably don’t remember me, but I remember you. I remember when you shouted at me, followed me, and touched me. I remember what it felt like to be safe. I remember when you made me feel ashamed of my body. I remember blaming my blackness, my makeup, and my entire self for what you did. I remember being terrified when your hand groped my thigh, when you whispered things into my ears, when you pulled out a knife from your backpack. I remember feeling dirty and violated and ashamed. I remember the panic and terror I felt as I search around for my pepper spray. I remember feeling helpless. I remember hating myself for being a woman and worst of all a Black one. I remember it every time I sit in a taxi and walk down the street. I can feel myself ceasing to be a person and instead becoming a sexualized, dehumanized commodity. I remember feeling weak and helpless and defeated. I don’t remember a time where I could just exist. A time where no one stared with their predatory gaze to pierce through my imagined cocoon of safety. I don’t remember peace or solitude. My mind cannot fathom a time where I wasn’t thinking of ways to protect myself. Carrying pepper spray. Holding my keys like claws. Glancing behind me at the slightest sound. Being apprehensive. Staying on my guard. Never going out at night.

So thank you. Thank you for instilling within me an acute fear that I cannot escape. Thank you for the experiences that will always live on in my mind.

And I’m sorry. I should have told you to leave me alone and go away and spouted all the profanities that sat angry and primed behind my teeth. I’m sorry that I smiled at your dumb words to placate you in hopes it would protect me. I’m sorry that I was not braver and that my cowardice and self-preservation made me shut down and not protect myself. Most of all I’m sorry that I made you think your actions were okay, that women exist for your pleasure, and that we don’t deserve the right to feel safe in our own bodies.

I am sorry for me and sorry for how these experiences have irreparably hurt me.

Best,

Me

Jordan Outfits Vol. 1

JORDAN OUTFITS

When I first packed for my trip to Jordan, I kept thinking about how important it was for me to dress conservatively. On the other study abroad trips I’ve taken to the Middle East, the trip leaders always try to make it clear that we (especially the girls in the group) need to be as covered up as possible.

After traveling to Morocco two times, I thought I was more prepared to pack my clothes for Jordan. In my last adventure to Morocco, the trip leaders made it seem way way super duper important for us to be covered up all the time. While a lot of women do dress conservatively, there’s this big generalizations that every women dresses the same way. Just like how there’s women who dress modestly in the US and women who don’t, the same spectrum exists in the Morocco, Jordan, and throughout the world. I’ve always wondered if this push for us to dress a certain way to help us fit in another country. It’s understandable to help us as students blend in and to help us respect cultural norms. It rarely happens me fit in tbh I stand out quite a bit (hello afro puff and septum piercing). I have mostly given up on fitting in as a fool’s errand honestly. I tried not to dress conservatively in the sense that I’m wearing long sleeves and floor length skirts because a) that’s not authentic to who I am b) I’m traveling to Europe after Jordan, so that style will be very out of place there.

In hopes of reconciling my desires to stay true to my aesthetic and dress in a way that respects the values of Jordan, I decided to wear basically pants, cardigans, and scoop neck shirts. Of course, I did bring some shorter skirts and tank tops for Europe, but most of the clothing I brought was pretty multipurpose.

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