What is Self-Care?
When you were a child, most likely an adult or two was taking care of you. You didn't have to go to the store for food; someone was shopping and preparing or at the very least buying your food. Someone was reminding you to brush your teeth and take a shower. When you fell asleep in the car, someone put you to bed, and when it was time to get up someone woke you up and made sure you got to school. Aside from the basic care someone soothed and encouraged you- when you did well on a test they praised you and when you were sad they held you or bought you ice cream. In essence, as a child, someone other than you was in charge of your self-care.
As adults, of course, we take care of the responsibilities feeding and cleaning our bodies that our parents used to be handle, but that is not the same as self-care -that is just "adulting." If you are like most adults, "adulting" has taken the place of nurturing.
Nurturing and Self-Care are Synonymous
Somewhere along the way we started to put more attention on the responsibilities that are required of us as mothers, bosses, and friends than on our own self-care or nurturing. It makes sense- we need to make sure that we are fed, clean, and have a roof over our heads and that those in our care are thriving. However, it is extremely important that we take the time to nurture ourselves beyond the basic survival skills we have honed. Nurturing means that we give ourselves what we need outside of the daily responsibilities and checklists. Imagine that you are your own child. Can you look at yourself, gently, and see what a mother would see? Can you treat yourself how a loving mother would treat her child? Would she give you a kiss and tell you that you are wonderful? Would she draw you a bubble bath? Would she take you outside to play for some fresh air? Would she rub your feet?
How Can We Nurture Ourselves?
In practical terms, what can we give ourselves now what our bodies, minds and hearts desire?
1. Check in with your body? How is your energy levels? Are you exhausted? Are you in pain? These are signs that you are in need of self-care now.
Self-care for your BODY can include:
+An Epsom salt bath
+An afternoon nap
+A yoga class
+Sitting in the sunshine
2. Check in with your mind. Are your thoughts rapid and disorganized? Is there something weighing on your mind that is running in a loop? These are signs that you are in need of self-care now.
Self-Care for your MIND can include:
+Meditation (here is my FREE 7 minute meditation)
+Positive affirmations on post-it notes throughout your house, car or office
+Taking time to read a book or a simple poetry passage you love
3. Check in with your heart. Does your chest feel heavy? Is there something that is saddening you? Or is there gratitude that needs to be expressed? These are signs that you are in need of self-care now.
Self-Care for your HEART can include:
+A gratitude journal
+Forgiving someone who has hurt you or forgiving yourself (write a letter expressing your forgiveness- you don't have to send it)
+Laughter and connection with an old friend
Self-Care as a Practice
Ideally, we all will take care of ourselves before we become stressed, sick, or exhausted. Self-care as a practice is the best way to ensure that you can maintain your energy levels and relationships in a way that is fulfilling and sustainable. Choosing any of the above practices and incorporating them into a daily routine is a way to love yourself as a mother would her child. It is a way to find love and support from within instead of looking outward for what you need. When you are able to nurture yourself, you become more powerful, loving and productive.
Are there areas in your life that need self-care? Have you been neglecting yourself and caring for others instead? You don't have to feel guilty about taking care of yourself. All love springs forth from the love that is inside of you. Cultivate that love and model it for your children, partner, clients, friends and family. You will see the way your life transforms from surviving to thriving.
Interested in finding out more about self-care? Join my in person workshop Radiant Living Sessions Feb 25th.