I have been on a serious self care kick, ever since I realized how much it can help with breaking old habits and creating new ones. I started taking bubble baths instead of drinking wine in the evenings. I started having mini dance parties in the living room when I was feeling sluggish and unmotivated. I started drinking hot lemon water in the mornings before I had coffee. I began a meditation practice. I did all of these things to help create more love in my life.
Don't get me wrong, I have a very loving group of friends and family but I still wasn't feeling all the love. I still have lots of days where I struggle with loneliness and stress over creating real connections with people, more than the superficial "how's the weather?" conversations. I still have days of struggling to live up to the personal trainer expectations I imagine that society has placed on me. I struggle with understanding depression and how I can make its effects better or worse with my coping mechanisms. I struggle with feeling that I am enough.
So how are bubble baths and hot lemon water suppose to help all of that? Well its simple really... "When we attack ourselves, we attack the world; when we love ourselves, we love the world." You've heard all of the other sayings too... "You can't love someone else until you love yourself." "You can't help to fill other cups if your cup is empty." But if we break it down to the most basic level its this... self-care, and extreme self-care when necessary, helps you to feel better. When you feel better you project a greater sense of positivity and happiness which spreads to the ones around you. This can work the other way too. When you neglect yourself and don't take care of your mind/body/soul the tendency is to live in discomfort, sadness, confusion, and negativity, which also spreads to those around you, resulting in less than stellar moments with the one's you spend the most time with, like friends, co-workers and family. No bueno.
Choosing to show yourself care and love on a daily basis will not only provide yourself with what you need (nourishment, joy, rest, companionship) but will also help to create the habit of checking in with a concept known as the mind/body compass. This simple act helps you to evaluate where you are physically, mentally, and emotionally each day. This process is and of itself an act of self care. Additionally, you will learn to stop looking elsewhere for what you need. You will become the source of love and light that you need to be happy.
So what is considered self care? It is any act that creates nourishment to your mind/body/soul, and does not harm us in any way. Everyone's list will look different but here is what mine looks like.
- Take a bubble bath
- Walk or play with my dogs
- Make a cup of tea
- Go for a long walk/run by myself
- Read in a quiet space
- Get a massage
- Paint my nails or get a mani/pedi
- Make a healthy meal or meal prep
- Get out into nature - I regularly need to put my feet in the dirt!
- Dance in the living room, kitchen, or any where! (This is a regular one for me.)
- Take a nap (This one can boarder on unhealthy when I'm stressed.)
- Squeeze in an extra workout or yoga class
- Bake something like healthy muffins
- Watch a movie
- Take Photos (Love this one too!)
- Call a friend for a phone date
- Turn off my electronics
- Use essential oils
Imagine if everyone in your circle cranked up their level of self care. Imagine if everyone was checking in and making tweaks so that they could feel their best each day. And even if their day was totally sucking, they'd have an idea of what they needed in order to relax and feel a little better, if even just a little bit. Imagine if all of these happy people interacted together to create one big happy group. Doesn't that seem amazing? This is why I am pushing a Self Care Summer with my clients. This is why it is a regular part of my day.
I'll leave you with a quote. It's on a sign at the yoga studio where I'm currently getting certified (Warrior One!! Yaaassssss!) and I've read it multiple times, thought it was a good concept and enjoyed it. But, it just made so much sense as I was writing this.
"Your spark can become a flame and change everything."
- Ed Nixon (American Civil Rights Leader)