“We can train our brain by learning new habits and our body will naturally respond to it. We can become whoever we want to be and also decide how we want to do that. We all have the ability to intentionally transform our passion into action. We are capable of so many things, if we only knew…”
Hello, tell us about yourself
“Hi! I’m Achya, 25 years of age and I’m currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. I was born in the Hague in the Netherlands and my parents are from Indonesia. I’ve studied Applied Psychology and currently I’m working as a trainer and coach in a large call center company.
I love people, observing their behavior, reflecting on my own behavior, self-improvement, discovering all the beautiful presents that this world has to offer and of course hanging out with my lovely friends and family.
“When my dear friend asked me to share my point of view regarding self-care, I began to smile immediately. I hope that my story will somehow resonate with you guys.”
“Warning: this is going to be a very personal one.”
Growing up was very difficult for me. My father passed away when I was two years old and my mom didn’t have much money. As soon as I started earning my first small salary as a teenager, I had to take care of my mom. Not only her, but also a lot of other people. I was taught to constantly please people around me, instead of taking good care of myself.
It wasn’t until I moved out of my mom’s house and started learning that even though taking good care of yourself is crucial, it is also really hard. I had a rough start in life and nobody gave me a manual about: how to cook, how to clean, how to manage my finances, how to spend my spare time in a way that is beneficial for me, how to love, how to deal with heartbreak, how to say no, how to be confident, et cetera. I had to figure all these things out on my own.
What kept me sane while I was facing all the challenges that life had in store for me was my mindset and the way I coped with all the difficult situations. I’ve chosen to see things from a brighter and more positive perspective, because I was done with playing the victim and I was ready to take full responsibility for my own luck and well-being. As long as I didn’t have to live the way I lived before.
“Well, I had a lot of demons in my closet, while I was still in the closet, and I am convinced that in order to know what self-care really means to you, you have to be clear minded and completely honest with yourself.”
When I moved to Leiden for my study, I decided to come out to everyone who wanted to know more about me. I wanted to start all over again, so the way I would introduce myself was: “Hi, I’m Achya, I’m 18, I’m from the Hague and I like boys. And who are you?” As tough as this may sound, it was something that I had to practice a lot until it was no longer necessary and I fully accepted myself.
Why am I telling this and what does this have to do with self-care?
Well, I had a lot of demons in my closet, while I was still in the closet, and I am convinced that in order to know what self-care really means to you, you have to be clear minded and completely honest with yourself. Get rid of all the emotional baggage first, get your life in order (until everything is stable) and once you’ve done all that, sit down, grab a pen and start writing down all the things that give you energy and all the things that drain your energy. If that’s too much, you could also consider writing in a diary or make a mood board for yourself. Whatever works for you, as long if it’s visual and if it makes things clear for you. After that, you can start investing in yourself consciously by focussing on the things that really matter to you and give you energy.
“Taking care of yourself is a way of living and a choice….I’ve seen people who are more busy with feeling sorry for themselves rather than investing in themselves…if you recognize yourself in my story and you don’t know where to begin? My answer will be the core; the root cause of all your problems that is preventing you from really taking care of yourself.”
What is self-care to you and when do you feel you need it the most?
“I believe that reaching that stage of self-care is a very personal process. I could make a list of suggestions for you to go to the gym, to take yoga classes and to eat berries for breakfast, but all of these things will not give you the long-term effect that I’m wishing for you, which is overall happiness in your life.
Taking care of yourself is a way of living and a choice. I know that’s a hard statement, but I’ve seen people who are more busy with feeling sorry for themselves rather than investing in themselves. It sounds easy, but if you recognize yourself in my story and you don’t know where to begin? My answer will be the core; the root cause of all your problems that is preventing you from really taking care of yourself. Just ask yourself: “What is the first step that I can take in order to get rid of all these demons or bad energy in my life?” For me it was to talk with a teacher and eventually (plus ironically) with a psychologist.
“it is our responsibility to always come with our cup full and at the same time to make sure that there is also still enough left for ourselves when we come back home for example.”
Okay, so imagine that a cup of water stands for the amount of energy that you can spend in a day. How much of that would you normally spend on other people and how much is there left at the end of the day? The way I see it is that it is our responsibility to always come with our cup full and at the same time to make sure that there is also still enough left for ourselves when we come back home for example.
So, when do I need self-care the most? The answer is: when my cup is almost running out of water or when I feel that I might not have enough to start my next day. Usually this happens when I’m having a busy time at work and my body and soul are disconnected.
Now, you might think that my first preach about getting your life in order first before you know what self-care really means to you and my metaphor about the cup of water that stands for the amount of energy that you can spend in a day contradict each other, but honestly… Would you rather drink out of a dirty cup or out of clean cup? Do you know what I mean?”
What is your favorite self-care ritual?
“My favorite self-care ritual… I have a lot: staying hydrated by drinking enough water during the day, having at least one laugh with someone each day, flirting with myself in the mirror, taking baths and facial masks, listening to pop songs, writing my thoughts down, enjoying the sun for at least ten minutes with my eyes closed while doing breathing exercises, taking naps, treating myself with sushi once a month, taking a moment to realize how far I’ve come and how grateful I am to have my loved ones in my life and oh… Having photo shoots every once in a while, to actually see how much I’ve grown in certain period of time and reflect on the pictures of myself (call me crazy).”
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote and want to share it with us?
“My favorite quote is one of Wayne Dyer: “Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul.” Your body does not control your soul, it’s the other way around. We can train our brain by learning new habits and our body will naturally respond to it. We can become whoever we want to be and also decide how we want to do that. We all have the ability to intentionally transform our passion into action. We are capable of so many things, if we only knew…
Take care of yourself, Achya ;)”
Thank you for sharing Achya! Want to know more about Achya? follow his Instagram account at @achya_