My Life/Teen Life Good Morning Beautiful: Glorify God in Your Morning Routine by Emily Clare Burt Nothing But Face Masks Let me be the first to say, I personally am not the biggest fan of the new buzz words: “self-love” and “self-care.” If you are anything like me, maybe your first impression of self-care was just doing a face mask and going to bed early. While these things actually do make an impact on your day (like, let’s be honest, we are always a little bit more pleasant to be around when we’ve gotten 8 hours of sleep), there is hidden virtue in the act of self-care. The true purpose and meaning of self-care and self-love run so deep, maybe even more than we are aware of. We live in a culture influenced by the strange cocktail of pride and self-hate. We genuinely believe that we are being constantly analyzed, creating this sense of pressure over all things related to our actions, mannerisms, or bodies. This pressure definitely does come externally, but I think the reality is that we tend to put more pressure on ourselves to be perfect than others put on us. So what happens? We find ourselves cycling down into a void of constant self-analyzation and critique, pulling forth the idolization of others and rejection of self. Love Your Neighbor… as Yourself? As Catholics, we sometimes have a tendency to fall into this with the justification of striving for sainthood. We put pressure on ourselves that in order to be made worthy for Christ, we must be perfect and unflawed by sin. Likewise, these acts of self-hate and neglect can be justified through the false idea that we should just “bear our cross” and “turn the other cheek.” Self-hate takes form of the improper and hypocritical title of “sacrifice.” While it is true that we are called to live a life of sacrifice and death to self, it is repeated in Scripture that we are to “love others as ourselves.” However, what does this commandment call us to when we tend to idolize others but reject ourselves? Brothers and sisters, we cannot give what we do not have or recognize in ourselves: worth, value, and dignity. Likewise, what does it communicate to our Lord when we are called to praise Him for His gifts, His beauty, and His creation? Are we not of His own manifested creation? Ephesians 5:29 says, “For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the Church”. And this, my friends, is exactly why self-care and self-love is so important. Self-care is the act that calls for and pulls forth the fruits of self-love. Self-care communicates to our bodies, minds, hearts, and others that we are worthy of being taken care of and nurtured. As we are part of the Body of Christ, so we are to treat ourselves like the Church, the Bridegroom. Through self-love, we are more able to identify the wonderful works that God has done in our own lives and the beauty we hold within ourselves. God has a burning desire for us to look upon ourselves with the same love He has for us. When we are able to grow in the virtue of nurture, we are able to exemplify this within our own relationships with others. Self-love gives us the radical gift of acceptance of where our mind, body, and spirit are at, and gives it the opportunity to grow and flourish both internally and externally. So what is fruitful and good self-care? To be put simply, it can be anything that builds our mind, body, and spirit, closer to the fullness of life that Christ calls us to do. Just as Mother Teresa said, we are to “do small things with great love,” and this can apply directly to ourselves. Self-care is so individual and purposeful to everyone uniquely, however, there are some simple, yet impactful ways to bring self-care into your daily routine. Here’s a few ideas that are super easy to weave into your morning to jump start your day! Body Drink a full glass of water Do your hair and makeup (my personal favorite) Wear a nice outfit that you feel good in Or… dress comfortably! Prepare yourself a good breakfast TAKE THE VITAMINS YOUR MOM BOUGHT YOU Spend 30 minutes in exercise or stretching! Wear. Sunscreen. Mind Have a social media free morning Read something encouraging (maybe a Life Teen blog?) Make a To-Do List (My absolute go to) Set a timer and take a few minutes of silence Listen to music (I always listen to Lo-Fi in the morning) Sit outside and enjoy nature (This is especially nice first thing in the morning) Listen to a podcast (Here’s some we recommend! https://lifeteen.com/blog/ultimate-list-catholic-podcasts/) Write or journal Spirit Spend 5-10 minutes in prayer before getting out of bed Send a nice text to a friend (yes, doing things for others can be self-care!) Ask for the intercession of a saint for that day Read Scripture! (I mean, duh. Nothing like reading how much your Creator loves you.) Write a list of things you love about yourself Reflect on what you are grateful for and thank God! Maybe start a gratitude list! Hype* yourself up (I swear, this is actually amazing) *By this, I mean looking in the mirror and picking and choosing what you like. No joke, check yourself out. If you’ve never done this before, put on some loud music (“We Did It” by 1K Phew ft. WHATUPRG is a solid one), look in the mirror, jump/dance around, and mentally or verbally start to point out what you rock! The more you feel like you’re in a music video, the better.