the truth about self care + the value of a gyst day

the coronavirus has officially changed the way we live.

self care is the biggest trend lately. and so many have fallen into it. and i’m no exception. i fuggin love my self care sundays, my moments of silence, cutting the world out, taking long walks along the river, treating myself to coffee because it tastes good and i fuggin deserve it.

and we love that shit. we love the long hot baths with bath bombs and glasses of wine. we love the charcuterie boards and the chinese take out. we get our nails done every other week because we want to invest in ourselves. we get massages because we deserve to relax.

and it’s all true. we deserve to be invested in. we deserved to be cared for. we deserve to relax. we deserve to take the time to make sure we are taking care of ourselves.

self care has become the new yolo. i’m gonna eat the damn ice cream because i’m taking care of myself.

when i started on my self care journey in 2017, i spent a lot of time learning about the things i loved. and that was so important – because i didn’t know who i was. i didn’t know what i enjoyed. and that was its own whole ass journey, but i will tell you this — once i learned what i loved, i learned how to give myself what i need. and thus the self care journey began.

but when my trauma shit happened, and my life changed, and i plunged into this seemingly permanent state of survival mode, knowing how to take care of myself was so important. there were so many days where i was so focused on making it through the day that so many things that were future focused got put to the wayside.

i spent so much time taking care of myself for the right now. and that is totally okay.

but you can’t live in survival mode forever. eventually you have to learn to push through, to learn to take care of yourself not only for the right now, but also for tomorrow.

i read one time that self care is often an unbeautiful thing. and i never forgot it. because self care can definitely look like the long baths and the morning hikes and the mani / pedi spa days.

but if a cluttered space causes you stress, self care is actually tidying up your home. if you function best after your morning routine, self care really looks like waking up with enough time to get it done before you jump into your daily activities. if ice cream makes you feel shitty after you eat it, self care looks like honoring your body by not eating the entire carton.

the hardest self care thing for me to do is keep my life organized. i have lived in a perpetual state of living moment to moment for the better part of 2 and a half years, and i often forget that i function best when i take the time to keep myself organized.

that means my space is not messy, my journal is used regularly, i’m giving myself time for my morning routine, investing in my health by eating clean and moving my body, and i am spending a lot of time alone.

but i don’t always live that way. and i’ve noticed that when i’m anxious, stressed, depressed, triggered, overwhelmed, or experiencing some spring fever, these things that continually have me functioning at my absolute best are the first habits i throw out the window.

but the thing that has become the most important, most grounding experience for me in my moments of growth are my gyst days.

yes, gyst days. get your shit together days. the day i spend each week pulling myself together for the next. because no matter how absolutely absurd the previous week has been, i have a day that pulls me together, that grounds me, that allows me to prepare for the upcoming week.

i was first introduced to gyst days from kalyn nicholson, my absolute favorite youtuber and podcaster ever. she started filming gyst days and they encouraged me to get my shit together for the weeks to come, so i had a sense of stability as i walked into each crazy and absurdly busy week.

so i’m going to tell you all about my ideal gyst day.

follow my morning routine. lately my morning routine looks a lot like this: i wake up, do some yoga and relax my mind, i look at my journal and check my horoscope for the day, i drink some tea and maybe eat some toast (always with strawberry jam and peanut butter because it’s the fuggin best, write that down), i read a few pages of my latest book, and i get ready for my day.

take a morning walk. jordy is my favorite because he gets me outside. even when i don’t feel like i want to be outside, jordy literally will whine his little ass off until he annoys the shit outta me enough to take him outside for a walk. but on the most beautiful days, morning walks (for literally miles) will make my day that much better. i throw on my favorite leggings and a jacket, put on a podcast, and take jordy out for 3 or 4 miles along the river and downtown. we live for our sunday morning walks, and they make my day just that much better.

tidy up the house. this means, do the dishes. pick the dirty laundry up off the floor. take out the trash. sweep and mop the floors. wash my bedding.

prep for my week. this is my favorite thing on planet earth. i swear to god, planning for my week has become my saving grace as i head into all the craziness. prepping for my week by pulling out my bullet journal, writing down everything i need to do and all of the appointments and work schedules i need to show up for and what meals i want to eat this week. i also set intentions, remind myself to be grateful, and give myself space to dump anything in my brain that i have to remember. this literally keeps me sane, and i don’t function well without it.

pick up groceries. this is pretty self explanatory, but once i’ve planned what i want to eat throughout the week, i make sure i have everything i need to make what i want. i make a list, and i stick to my list. this also helps me save so much money when i’m living minimally and finances are tighter!

prep my food. i hate leftovers. meal prepping isn’t my thing. but one thing that has been so fun for me (and has helped me eat so much healthier) is prepping my food. this means cutting up my veggies and putting them in containers for the week. it means throwing snacks in stasher bags so i can grab them when i’m hungry and looking for something in the fridge. it makes cooking that much quicker, and it makes life that much easier when i’m in more of a rush.

do some laundry. i tend to do this throughout the day while i get other tasks done, but i always have clothes laying around everywhere, so there’s always laundry that needs to be done.

shower day. i have mastered a self pamper shower routine that always leaves me feeling refreshed. i also only wash my hair once a week, so this routine allows me to wash and deep condition my hair and sets aside the time to do so.

rest my body. part of getting my shit together and preparing for the week ahead means setting aside time for my body to rest. sometimes this looks like watching youtube or netflix or reading a good book or listening to a podcast. giving my body and my mind time to veg out and relax helps set me up for a good week.

go to bed early. finally, the last part of my gyst day is going to bed early. walking into a busy week rested helps me keep my sanity, and it allows me to be more productive and less anxious. quality sleep also assists in good health, which also allows you to have better, happier days.

as a culture we have the hardest time doing things that allow us to care for ourselves rather than push our limits. we live in a culture of constant burnout, doing too much, schedules that run one thing into the next. setting aside one day each week to get my shit together is helping me build a life for myself that isn’t centered around constantly surviving and avoiding burnout.

self care isn’t always getting my nails done and eating the ice cream. it’s going to the workout class i’m dreading, or working through my negative experiences and emotions, or understanding that setting boundaries in a toxic friendship might hurt some feelings but will produce a healthier life for both of us.

true self care is setting yourself up for success and doing things that make life easier. i want to leave you with this. xoxoxo

true self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from. it is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be. someone who knows that salt baths and chocolate cake are ways to enjoy life – not escape from it.

brianna wiest // this is what ‘self-care’ really means, because it’s not all salt baths and chocolate cake

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