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Blogger Chidera Eggerue is the kind of person you want as your best friend. Yes, that phrase gets thrown around a lot, but in this instance, we really mean it. Spend five minutes with her and you’ll leave ten times wiser and with an intense desire to know just how she got her eyeliner so straight (tutorial soon, please?).
And with over 100,000 Instagram followers and the launch of her debut book What A Time To Be Alone on Thursday, it seems we’re not the only ones who are head over heels for Chidera.
Oh, and she’s also done a Ted Talk. Enough said.
Inspired by the Igbo proverbs that her Nigerian mother used to recite during her Peckham upbringing , Chidera’s What A Time To Be Alone is the ultimate guide to squashing self-doubt and mastering self-worth.
So this International Self-Care Day, who better to turn to for advice on how to show yourself some TLC? We all love buying boujie sheet masks and candles under the treat yo’ self pretence of self-care, but it’s good to remember how to really look after ourselves.
Here’s how Chidera does it.
‘The essential thing that I do to practice self-care is reminding myself that I know who I am. Regardless of whether people tell me they love or don’t like what I do, I ultimately hold the final decision on how great a character I am. It’s not my responsibility to constantly explain myself to people, and that’s something that I think we all need to learn. With the internet, there’s an increased pressure for you to do just that, because people demand it. But for me it’s about picking your battles.’
START FROM WITHIN
‘If you’re having a day when you feel ugly, try to remember that you’re a home to an actual soul. Before anything, how attractive you are, how nice people think you are, remember that a very important soul lives inside of you. You have to honour that space and it starts with you just believing that you just deserve that patience. It’s less about saying things like “I like my thighs” or “I love my body”, and more about saying, “I honour myself and I honour my existence”.
I think once you start from that point you, can slowly ease yourself into saying, “I accept how large my arms are”, “I accept my ears for how uneven they are”, or whatever your gripe is. It just starts with believing that you are very important and you deserve to be here.’
SET LONG TERM GOALS
‘It doesn’t have to be a career or a financial goal. It can literally just be, “by the end of this year I want to feel at peace inside with who I am”. And there are ways to achieve that goal, whether it’s through investing in healthy relationships, changing the people you spend time with, or being more strict with when you chose to respond to texts.’
TAKE EVERYDAY AS IT COMES
‘Because of the nature of my schedule, I’m not able to keep a set self-care ritual. What I do instead is make sure that I keep in mind what my long term plans are. When I get distracted by other people’s thoughts I ask myself, “if I choose to engage in this, is this going to take me closer to the person that I want to be? Yes or no?” It’s like the flow charts we used as kids. If the answer is no, then I don’t need to dedicate myself to it, if it’s yes, then it deserves a bit of my time, because then hopefully I can learn something from it. That’s the rigid outline that I follow to remain in check and focused on my longer-term goal with what I’m doing with myself.’
LET GO OF WHATSAPP GUILT
‘Not feeling sorry for not responding to texts on time [is important]. It’s okay to leave people “on read” and get back to them as soon as you can. It’s all about honouring your space and not feeling guilty for responding to things late. People don’t deserve you and aren’t entitled to you at the click of a finger. Everyone’s busy and you have to make sure that you’re putting yourself first.’
KNOW HOW TO MANAGE YOUR LOW POINTS
‘On my down days, I feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing with myself, like everyone hates me, like I’m not sure where I’m going with myself, and as though I’ve mishandled certain relationships. To deal with these thoughts, I pretend that I’m writing a text to the person [who’s making me feel this way], but I write it in my notes first. I then read it and look at it from a perspective of someone who’s trying to understand what’s happening, and that allows me to reach the root of why I’m feeling that way.
I’m learning that when I’m having a bad day, it doesn’t mean I’m having a bad life and I’m not a bad person. I need to let it pass through me. I treat bad emotions like sweating: I let it leave my body and evaporate or dry up, instead of trying to trap it in there. Otherwise, it’s going to interrupt my happiness and my happiness really matters to me.’
This article originally appeared on Elle UK.