Self-care in a Box

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Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. ~ Oprah

I need no reminding how short life is, as the quote above states. Hence, lately I’ve been relearning to be more compassionate to others and also to myself.

When you’re going through something (in my case, grief and uncertainty the war nearby brings), it’s easy to notice people who are not showing up for you, especially if those people are in your front row seat. It’s easy to feel anger towards people who act in questionable ways, dismissing and diminishing your pain, whether they do it intentionally or not. 

But I’ve come to a point where I’m letting go of all that hurt, disappointment, and expectations I impose on others. Because you know what, we are all going through something! Whoever is saying otherwise is smoking something. Seriously, I think the collective grief from the pandemic alone has worn all of us out. No-one is bringing anyone “casserole” anymore, we have to cook our own.

So, I’ve been tidying up my mental space this spring, and choosing compassion over judgement. That means self-care to me. Apparently, true self-care is self-compassion. I like this thought a lot.

As usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts. First, in what ways are you cutting people some slack? Second, how are you taking care of yourself, nowadays? Please do share, we could all learn from each other!

Note: By the way, self-care did literally come packed in a box; my prize (pictured above) from the Body-Positivity Contest. I’ve been wrapping myself in all this goodness. Many thanks to the contest sponsors Akanni Beauty for catering to grown women’s skincare needs, Koelevate for inspiring my own physical exercise routine as I whip myself back into shape 🙂 and all other sponsors I might not have mentioned.

To learn more about what both these brands stand for, check them out and also connect with them on Instagram, if you’re there. It’s Workers’ Day, after all. We could show some appreciation for the amazing work individuals behind these meaningful businesses do.

Happy May Day, Everyone!

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.


  1. Something I am learning is compassion for my younger self. I’ve beat myself up over past decisions so much. It really is self care. Grief is something I am well acquainted with—yes, my dear! Be goo to yourself! ❤️

  2. Congratulations on your prize, and your choice of compassion over judgment. I’m working on that with others, and trying to show compassion and empathy for myself is a good place to start.

  3. Greater compassion is a worthy goal. LOL, some days are better than others for me when trying to be more compassionate. Fortunately, every day is a new opportunity to try again and focusing on the beautiful things I have in my life does make it easier.

  4. Self-care is a form of being in the moment and being in the moment opens up all sorts of possibilities. My self-care right now is sticking with my need to **not** overuse my wrists/hands while I await a hand specialist appointment in 2 weeks. Meanwhile, that has opened up exploring my Hammered Dulcimer as I’ve had to take a hiatus from my primary instruments. It is opening up loads of inspirational ‘possibilities’ without taxing my hands/wrists!

  5. You’re off to a good start, letting go of the hurt and disappointment and expectations from others frees us to focus on self and is so much more stress free!

  6. Tell me about it! Greater compassion is worthy indeed, but it’s not easy and quick to arrive at the “letting go” place. Well, let’s keep focusing on finding beauty!

  7. Ouch, Laura! It’s always scary to have any kind of discomfort or pain on my wrists or hands (carpal tunnel syndrome) as they are my important writing tools. I imagine it’s the same with your hands too, as a musician. I really hope your wrists/hands get sorted by your hand specialist. It’s good though to hear you are taking care of yourself and that this hopefully minor setback is opening up other inspirational possibilities. Take care!

  8. Your post made me aware of how stressed and grumpy I’ve been for over two years, Khaya, as well as how I’ve been spreading around a lot less joy. I haven’t been “mean,” just closed off. Time for a bit of effort, I’d say. Thank you, my friend, for waking me up! 🙂

  9. It is definitely hard to remember that we are all going through something, that we are all a bit lost in our own struggles. I have been trying to give myself grace then extend that grace to the people in my life. I am lowering the bar. I am resetting expectations and appreciating more. And I am giving myself permission to be a mess and feel my feelings. I have to remove the judgement on those feelings and just feel them so I can process them. I find if I do that, I can move past them easier.

  10. Letting go of what shouldn’t matter as much as we once thought is such a blessing. I remember the hurt I’ve felt when people I thought I could always count on surprise me in the worse of ways. There was anger, too, for a while… And then, I reached the point you describe here. I realized that sometime, in order to help ourselves and others, we must do our best to keep certain people and situations from affecting us so deeply that we can’t avoid falling to pieces bit by bit.

    Here is to make it better, and soothing body and spirit while we are at it.

  11. You are welcome, my friend. But I must say, you are not the only one that has been closed off. These are stressful times, and we are bound to spread around less joy…I’ve been guilty of that, myself. Be kind to yourself! <3

  12. You are so correct. When we are wrapped in our pain and lost in the struggles, it’s easy to forget that others are also dealing with struggles. I like a lot what you say here; the lowering of the bar. I’ve been tripping over the bar a lot, myself. So, I’m there with you on resetting and appreciating, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Thank you so much Christina for your comment, it is so generous and allows me to be a mess and feel, too

  13. It is really difficult Maga not to feel hurt and anger, when people you thought you could count on are nowhere to be found, in your time of need. I guess, it’s one of those lessons I had to relearn, i.e. understanding my emotional responses and do my best not to let certain people and situations affect me so deeply. This might also mean loving some people from a distance, from now on…quite liberating, too. But yes, count me in on making it better, and soothing body and spirit!

  14. I am slowly catching up, Khaya. I got behind, then had a heart attack back in early June and almost died. I am alright now.

  15. Oh, Lavinia! I’m so sorry to hear about your heart attack. Thank Goodness, you are alright. Life is so fragile, indeed. We don’t know how much time we have left, something that makes living in the present an absolute must. Be well, take care and I’m sending my love your way. <3

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