What do you do with the most valuable thing you own?

My phone goes off at 10pm.

I generally have the luxury of activating my ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature Sunday through Thursday at that time (with few exceptions). The idea is that not only can no one access me, but I am also not able to engage with the world.

I am disconnected.

I try not to answer emails and stay off social media until 7am the next day. Sure the usuals can reach me.. my mom, dad, a handful of intermediate family or friends, but only for emergencies. I am essentially unavailable of nine whole hours.

So what, pray tell, am I doing during this sacred time? Usually not a whole lot of anything in particular, but it’s definitely a time I’ve carved out for getting some shit done.

Granted, I’m usually on my way to bed because I get up at ungodly hours these days to walk my dog and start my marathon work-internship-wellness-and homework day. But for those few moments it is literally, 100 percent, all about Tay.

Self Care.

I may finish up a thought or two with some journaling. Or read a couple of chapters from whatever book I’ve made a point to try and get through this month. I might take a few therapeutic moments to pack/make my meals for the work. Take a evening stroll with my pup. Might even give my natural, curly fro some ‘tender love n care’ so that I can have a bangin twistout the next day.

Typically, this time is soundtracked with some dope ass RnB like Sza, Solange, or H.E.R.. maybe even some ol school Janet or Erykah.

Sometimes I draw a bath.

Sometimes I give concerts in the shower.

It’s whatever I’m vibing with that night.

Might even binge a few episodes on Netflix or Hulu before doing a few yoga sequences, meditating and calling it a night.

The main idea is that I do the things that I want to do. All day is dedicated to what I need to be doing, what I should be doing, what I have to accomplish..

It’s those few moments at the end of the day, where I literally unplug, that I am able to truly turn off and recharge so I’m ready to be the best version of myself once again the next day.

A popular saying as I was growing up was “I’ll sleep when I die”.. indicating only the weak should rest. Even today, folks brag about always being on the grind, never sleeping, always being “in these streets”.

Yea, ok.

Have you seen someone who is “always in these streets”.. They look terrible! The world has run them down, used them up, and thrown them back.. presumably to their “grind”.

That’s not for me. And it shouldn’t be you. A part of self-care is self-love. and finding that time or those moments that are for you is key. For me, it’s disconnecting.. but you it may be the opposite. Perhaps your days are filled by living in work or family bubble. If so, taking those few moments at the end of the day to call a friend, have a drink with your partner, or watch a movie with kids is maybe all you really need to wind down and center yourself for the day.

Whatever it is.. take it. and Honor it.

Now let’s be clear, work is still work. and long hours are undoubtedly needed to succeed. But I think what we’re learning now is that it’s not only about how much you’re putting in, but how smart your allocation of energy is. A mouse can run for hours and hours on a wheel. Giving all of its energy.. doing flips and turns.. but go absolutely no where.

Also, know where you’re at and what you can do. Some people don’t have nine hours to spare. They have two jobs to juggle, or two children. A spouse they’d love to spend time with.. or should I say need to. Because relationship is ‘work” right? The good kind of work, but work nonetheless.

And there’s also this thing called sleep. Totally underrated and absolutely needed. For Life. Remember those nap things we used to take as kids.. weren’t they amazing! Sometimes I happen upon them now. Typically it’s on the weekend by accident or mistake, and afterwards, I feel like a brand new woman. I often wonder why we fought those so much as kids..

As I said before, we spend a lot of time talking about self-care and being well, but we hardly ever talk about what that looks like. So with all of these factors in play you have to really take a long, hard look at your yourself and your life. Be authentic and realistic. Do you need time in the morning before you get started? How about that noon time pick me up? Or Happy Hour, after work and before family time?

The most important thing to remember is that taking this time.. taking this moment.. doing these things.. is not taking away from anyone else. We have to redefine what it means to be selfish with ‘time’, the most important and most valuable thing we own.

I took a look at myself and decided what I needed to stay whole, centered, and well. And for me, it was 10pm.

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