The Latina Love Project profiles the lives of women — mothers, daughters, sisters — who often sacrifice their self-care in their struggle to balance and care for family, friends, and work. In this series sponsored by Ford, we spotlight their struggles and triumphs and learn how they create time for their themselves.
Choose a mantra and live by it
The words we tell ourselves have a real impact on how we think and act. For young women, those words are often self-defeating phrases like “I am fat” or “I am a failure.” But, turning those negative expressions upside down can have powerful effects on how we feel and act. Instead, customize your motto for difficult situations. “The key is to personalize your mantras so that they truly speak to you,” writes psychologist Dr. Carmen Harra.
Learn to shut out the outside world
It’s not you; in 2017, the 24-hour, in-your-face news cycle felt unavoidable. Those constant news alerts on your phone spike anxiety levels, so it’s important to disconnect sometimes: Disable notifications, mute your phone and go on a social media fast.
With mobile technology and social media, not only can we see what everyone else is doing, we also feel we need to do everything. When you’re connected 24/7, saying ‘No’ to invites, favors, family requests can help you prioritize your needs and responsibilities. “The ability to communicate ‘no’ really reflects that you are in the driver’s seat of your own life,” Vanessa M. Patrick, an associate professor of marketing at the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, told The New York Times. While FOMO — fear of missing out — is a real sentiment among millennials, not every little activity or conversation is as important as your self-care.
Create a self-care routine
Self-care facilitator and artist Loba says it’s important to create a set of practices that help you “function in a dysfunctional world.” Whether it’s exercising, cooking or just scheduling a massage, it’s crucial to address your mental and physical needs to avoid burnout.
Indulge in the things you love
Young adults often let go of hobbies to prioritize work, school and family responsibilities. But, the reality is that hobbies help us cultivate a more creative and curious life. Practicing a side passion—Ping-Pong? Maybe painting? — can help reduce stress, create new connections and structure your time, according to Psychology Today.
Young women are programmed to believe they need multiple relationships — platonic or not — to fulfill their needs. But, as Diane von Fürstenberg says, “the most important relationship you have in your life is the relationship you have with yourself.” So instead of making plans with friends or dates every weekend, watch a movie, have a drink or visit a museum by yourself. Schedule meaningful time with yourself.
Let go of toxic people
Healthy relationships are about mutual contributions and positive connections. So, when a friend or colleague brings out the worst in you, it’s time to move on. Though there is a stigma around breaking up with friends, there are appropriate ways to go about it, which differ depending on the situation. You can set some boundaries, let the friendship fade gradually, or cut if off once and for all, says psychologist Andrea Bonior. Being politely honest is probably best, but sometimes ghosting may be necessary.
Lose the 'I’ll sleep when I’m dead' mentality
In a culture that values ambition, it’s easy to find ourselves overworked and sleep-deprived. All-nighters become part of our school schedule and weekends are just an extended part of the work week punctuated by a late-night party or bar-hop. The problem is our minds need to rest and, yes, sleep. Insufficient sleep leads to serious health issues, such as diabetes, obesity and heart problems, according to WebMD. Allocate seven or more hours of sleep every night to avoid damaging your productive longevity and start your day refreshed.