What is Self Care and How to Start
What is Self- Care and How to Cultivate This For Yourself
“Self-care is how you take your power back”
Most of us at some point in our lives have heard and felt a nudge from an ongoing unmet need and want for rest or in response to various stress triggers ( Covid 19) via “self-care” inviting us to do something now.
But,do most of us actually practice self-care with intention daily or occasionally?
There is no judgement here. Rather a loving “wake-up call” to grow our awareness of what we need to stay balanced in seasons of stress, busyness and chaos so we can move from reacting less and responding with authentic care.
With heightened awareness centered on care for body, mind and spirit we seem as a society more stuck than ever in a vicious work and thought cycle – that “owning the day without missing a beat and getting everything done” are markers of real success. Tending to ourselves for most of us happens when we’ve taken care of everyone and everything first then it’s our turn.
The antidote? Compassionate life affirming self-care on your terms. How we treat and care for ourselves either creates more positive healing energy for the universe and those in our lives or acts to further deplete our emotional and energetic resources.
What is Self-Care?:
The Oxford online dictionary states Self-Care is:
“The practice” of taking action to improve your health. “It is the practice of taking an active role in preserving and protecting well-being and happiness especially during more challenging seasons.”
When practiced with a compassionate mindset self-care renews our energy and increases our life productivity in all areas both individually and collectively.
My intentional self-care story:
My self-care experience began when I moved from reacting to how tired or stressed I was and “shutting down” – to creating a personal relationship with self-care into my daily life. Self- care was no longer an afterthought or done from crisis mode. Overhauling how I “lived” daily has changed the course of how I “do me and my life.” This in turn has positively impacted my family and close friends.
Through a slow process of learning and unlearning over the next few years my ability to offer self-care shifted and with this I owned authentic self-care on my terms.
Here is a glimpse of my daily self-care today:
Upon waking I walk to the kitchen and notice the morning light with appreciation and gratitude. I take a moment to set myself and my place in the day with all that has yet to be. I take time to hydrate my body with water. I begin and end each day rain or shine with a walk that usually includes our family dog! Being outdoors and walking affirms life and is for me a meaningful way of connection to the vast beautiful universe and my Creator. My daily self-care practice is not complex at all and takes up such a short time. This simple practice grounds me,empowers me and sets me up for what is yet to come.
“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”
– Jean Shinoda Bolen
How To Practice Intentional Self-Care – A Thought Guide
Reframe your perspective on true self-care from a one and done to whole person lifestyle centered.
This is the first step I took:) (see my story above) Take a moment to reflect on what it means and looks like to you and how you feel when you have extended whole person care to your physical and emotional self. We all deserve this! Can you expand your relationship and increase your vantage point regarding this element from a want to a basic daily need that goes beneath the surface?
Learn to be deliberate with your own care by responding versus reacting out of old habit patterns and outdated beliefs. Start where you are. No need to overthink or make this complex. Simple is powerful!
Craft a lifestyle relationship with self-care.
Following your reframe from the first point… take intentional small steps of building in a structure of daily self-care. Do for yourself what relates to you personally. This is yours. As I shared earlier – for me this was getting outdoors two times each day – first thing in the morning and at workday’s end. This involved intentionally crafting a ritual/routine that made me feel whole and balanced.
Start with one or more meaningful item(s) as this weaves itself into your life.
Map out some health care items that affirm and nourish your body and emotional needs. Use the list as a starting point. Include additional items that personally work for you! Make the “basics” your basics that speak to you!
*Hydrate – make friends with water and include this throughout the day.
* Include a diet of fresh veggies and fruits, nuts,seeds,lean proteins and healthy fats,dairy such as yogurt,kefir,organic milk ( if dairy is right for you) Nut and grain milks are wonderful also ( if this is right for you)
*Get moving/ and add in stretching such as yoga asanas.
*Practice an intentional sleep routine.
*Get outdoors in nature. Five minutes daily if possible!
*Stay connected with others who lift you up and who you lift up!
*Find your spiritual connection within.
*Incorporate intentional breathing for inner calm while redirecting stress. Doing breathwork physically strengthens the muscles related to respiration which increases your heart lung capacity.
Here’s to you and your life and holding the reigns of care for you on your terms!