When the words self-care are said a few things come to mind: journaling, face masks, and general grooming practices. Self-care for others is a fully immersive practice involving all the senses. Sensorial self-care involves creating what Zara Benamor calls “senseful moments”. This can involve simply taking the time to meditate and bring focus to your senses or sensory modulation, which entails the use of sensory input to change how you feel. In this case it would be creating an atmosphere in which you are surrounded by sensory stimuli that will bring on positive and calm. The rationale behind it is that when you take the time to really focus on your senses or have pleasing stimuli around you, you are calmer and happier. So, I decided that I would put this theory to the test for the week.
Meditation has never really been my strong suit since my mind tends to wander, instead I decided to go the sensory modulation route. First, I had to determine what my stimuli was, because we as people are unique what we choose is very personal. My list consisted of a hot bath with equally hot lemon and chai tea, a good book, and a carefully curated Spotify playlist.
Although very simple, each type of stimuli was meaningful to me. My love for tea stemmed from when I was much younger recovering from getting my tonsils removed. At the time, a hot cup of tea was the only thing that could numb the pain. A good cup of tea has been a source of comfort to me since then. Chai is fragrant so that had my sense of smell covered too.
An escapist by nature, books have always captivated me, allowing me to forget about my own life and focus on someone else’s for once.
Growing up as the oldest sibling surrounded by boys meant I was always busy chasing after one person or the other, the bath was the only place I could have uninterrupted time to myself.
Music was a must. I do everything with music, I write, cook, read, study all with music in the background.
After a week of me basking in my personal senseful moment, I realised that I had not actually been taking care of my self for a while. I always focused on the outward practices, such as doing my nails and other grooming practices parading them as self- care, most of which are arduous and not very fun at all, in my opinion. It was only after I took the time to think about what really brought me comfort that I felt more relaxed than I had in months.
Self-care can look like many things for different people. For some it is a trip to the mall, a day at the spa or night in with friends or even a concert. Self-care does not even have to be all calm and Zen at all. If you are doing something that makes you, personally, happy, and ready to face the world, then it is self care.