Kadine Cunningham is currently completing her final year as a Women’s Studies Major at Concordia University. After moving from Jamaica to Canada at the age of 10, Kadine struggled with her confidence and felt lost in a culture that was not her own. Today, Kadine is an advocate for all things that promote self-love and self-care – especially for women of color. She spends most of her downtime binge watching shows on Netflix, catering to her beautiful plants and making her very own body butters and lip balms. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in community service – more specifically in the Youth and Family sector.
Learning how to create and maintain a safe space for myself to unwind and unfold became crucial during my first year of University. That same year, my mom had emergency surgery, my grandfather (or great grandmother) passed away and I felt lost. In order to tune out everything that was happening in my personal life and maintain the illusion of happiness, I found myself (or became) so preoccupied with everyone else’s realities without even questioning why I couldn’t face my own. As my façade started to wear off, my insecurities were multiplied by a thousand and my confidence was at its lowest. At that point in my life, the idea of loving myself was not even an option because I did not know who I was nor did I fully grasp the concept of what self-love meant. Learning to love myself was not something I welcomed wholeheartedly. It meant that I had to look within myself and unpack feelings and thoughts that I harbored for so long.
My self-care journey began when I started adapting daily routines to my everyday life, such as the ones I will share below. Most of these tips that I have implemented into my daily routine are tips I learned from HeyFranHey, a wellness blogger and 1/3 of the Friendzone Podcast. She has inspired me in ways I cannot explain and really guided me through different ways of knowing who I am and what I am capable of. Before we get started, I would like to make it clear that I am in no way professional, I am just sharing what works for me during tough times and how I was able to adopt them to my specific circumstance. Hopefully some of these tips can be of service to you all.
Journaling – I’ve always had a journal for as long as I can remember. I wrote about everything from daily tasks and teenage crushes to heartbreaks and personal traumas. For me, journaling has always been my go-to habit for whenever I feel happy, sad, angry, or when I am having a tough day(s). Taking the time to write down whatever you might be feeling in a particular moment, could help releave the stress or anxiety you might be feeling.
Gratitude Jar – I created a gratitude jar last year. I took an empty glass jar and every day (or several times a day) I write down one or a few things that I am grateful for and add these notes to my jar. It started out as an experiment that I didn’t think would have an impact on my life, nor did I think these lifeless notes in a jar would help me on days when I felt low. However, whenever I have a down day (we all have them), a look at my gratitude jar filled with all the things I am grateful for gives me the strength and push I need to get through.
Daily Positive Affirmations // Meditative Coloring book
Meditation – It can sometimes be hard to sit and mediate, especially when it is not something you are well-versed in. For me, it was a challenge to tune out the noise and thoughts when I closed my eyes. Thanks to HeyFranHey, I was introduced to a wonderful app called the Insight Timer App. For those who might have the same struggle I do, a guided meditation is a great way to unwind and relax through difficult times. Here are some of my personal favorite guided meditations:
- self-love meditation
- I AM Affirmation: Gratitude & Self-love
- Meditation for self-love
Also, for those who might have trouble falling asleep, this app is loaded with guided meditations to help you ease into a good night’s sleep.
Feel Good Playlist – For those who are music heads like myself, making a playlist of all the songs that make you feel good could be an excellent way to unwind and relax during difficult times.
“Me” Time – We are constantly on our phones, computers, tablets, etc. It is important to take some time away from all the hassle… Here are a few things I do when I need some Me time or when I am having a down day.
- A nice warm bath (Spice it up by adding some Epsom salt or essential oil of your choosing!)
- Take a walk while listening to your favorite artist or band