Hey Y’all! I hope this finds you well. I’ve been thinking about self-care quite a bit the past seventeen-eighteen months. (It’s been on my mind longer than that, but I don’t think I was really ready then. Life stuff like the Pandemic, family stuff, personal health stuff, etc has changed that, now it’s a need not a want–that changes things.)
Let’s start with what self-care is: Activities, Practices, and/or Habits that you follow or engage in on a regular basis so you can enhance your well-being, reduce stress (and anxiety, etc). Self-care is a considered to be a discipline, not an indulgence. Self-Care requires a deep and personal commitment, and an understanding of your priorities, as well as a respect for both yourself and the people in your life.
Self-care is never a selfish act–it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others.Parker Palmer
There is this idea that when it comes to self-care that we, especially women, need to be reminded to care for themselves because we’re so busy taking care of everyone else. And yet “while we should be taking care of ourselves, that doesn’t absolve us from taking care of everyone else.”
Many people have this idea that self-care is bubble bath’s with expensive bath products, spa day’s, trips to Ulta or Sephora, and/or treating ourselves to a mani-pedi or a facial. However, that implies that the practice of self-care is something that we indulge in and leaves us thinking that self-care is an indulgence. For example, I talk about how I need to start going to the gym. I finally go to the gym and buy a membership, and then I go out and purchase some new gym clothes. I talk about the gym and my new gym clothes, I might even post about them on IG and/or FB. I spend more time shopping for the gym, and the gym clothes, and talking about it an sharing it on social media than I actually spend time in the gym. Has that helped me? Is that actual Self-Care?
A few more examples of Self-Care: Turning off Netflix instead of staying up late to watch one more episode because you knew you’re going to feel like crap if you stay up late–you’re not going to want to get up when the alarm goes off, plus you’re not to going to make it to the gym if you stay up late. Or, Saying no to that extra helping at dinner, or Saying yes to the salad or veggies, or the apple for a snack instead of the slice of cake.
Some of this sounds like adulting.It might even sound boring and unappealing. One of the big things for me as a child was the fact that I could have a slice of cake whenever I wanted, but if I’m going to be a healthier me then I have to practice discipline, which means doing what is best for me (mind, body, and spirit) instead of what might feel good in the moment.
Self-Care is more than a practice, it’s more than activities, in order for it to become a habit, or habits actually, it also needs to be a discipline so it is something you do on a regular basis instead of every once in a while. Self-Care is about taking care of yourself in a way that is a commitment to staying healthy and balanced as a practice, a regular practice.
Self-Care, as a regular disciplined practice enables you to become a healthier, stronger, more balanced you, which means you have more to give to those around you. You’ll be a happier person, parent, spouse, employee or employer. You’ll be a more grateful person, as well as a more energetic person, which means caring for others doesn’t come at your own expense… It’s ironic that some of the very things we can do for ourselves is what will actually help us be in a better position to help and care for others.
True self-care involves commitment to your health and well-being, which means it’s about finding the things that you can do regularly to nourish, nurture, and connect with yourself, which will lessen the pressures of everyday life, plus our “to-do” lists, as well as reducing stress, overwhelm, and burn out.
Some of the things I know I need to work on are:
- Set and uphold boundaries for myself and with others
- Prioritize myself when others are taking advantage of me
- Eat healthier
- Develop and stick to a schedule
- Go to the Doctor and Dentist for regular checkups
- Challenge those negative and/or critical thoughts I have about myself
- Remove myself from situations that make me uncomfortable
- Develop a daily skin care routine
- Schedule and stick to exercise
There are quite a few more, but the above are the main reasons I know I need to work on self-care. It’s nice to take a nice long, warm bubble bath with candles and music, but if I’m taking said bubble bath at eleven o’clock at night when I should have been in the bed and asleep by eleven then that’s not really helping me in the ways that will matter long term.
Daily Self-Care: daily habits and activities that you practice for your mental (mind), physical (body), and spiritual (spirit) health, which will work either in harmony together or discontent–in harmony would be that there’s a balance with your mind, body, and spirit… my ultimate goal.
- Mind: Something that calms us, inspires our mind; mediation, affirmations, visualization, etc.
- Body: something that nourishes our body; walk, stretching, yoga, workout, etc.
- Spirit: Helps you connect to your spirit, or the world around you; like being creative, or listening to a podcast, or volunteering, or going out in nature, etc.
In the book, A Year of Self-Care: Daily Practices and Inspiration for Caring for Yourself, by Dr. Zoe Shaw, the exercise for August 29th, the first day of #selfcaresunday, is “Live Fully, Live Freely: Be open to newness. Resist getting stuck in a rut. Discipline doesn’t mean that every day is Groundhog Day. You can be highly regimented and travel the world, living in a different place every month. You can practice a routine in any place and at any time–you take it with you. The Universe has oodles of options for you: Try new food, move across the world, vacation somewhere unknown, or create your own style. A disciplined life gives you the freedom to live fully.”