“Self-care” is such a buzzword. But how many of us truly know what it means? Here’s a hint – it’s so much more than just naps and bubble baths.
Think meditation is hard? Do me a favor, take a slow deep breath in and now breathe out. Congratulations, you just meditated. Hi, I’m Krystal Jakosky, and this is Breathe In, Breathe Out: a Weekly Mindfulness and Meditation podcast for anyone ready to own their own shit and find a little peace while doing it.
I am so glad that you have chosen to come back to spend a little bit of time with me again here on Breathe In, Breathe Out. I’m Krystal Jakosky.
Today what’s on my mind is self-care and just the vast differences that people categorize it. As when I grew up self-care was often this self-indulgent activity. It seemed like something that was bubble baths and frivolous feminine things. It very much felt like it was for women only that women needed self-care and men didn’t. I had a mentality that was, I’m sure, shared by many, many humans on this beautiful planet we call earth.
And yet in the past several years, I’ve learned that self-care is so much different than what I ever thought that it was. And if we change our thoughts and we change our mindsets on them, self-care can be this absolutely beautiful gift of wholeness and peace and understanding. It can really boost ourselves our souls, our hearts, our physical bodies – if we know what we’re doing and we do self-care with intention. I’ll explain and go into it further.
Self-care is really taking a moment to recognize that you personally need something. That you personally are depleted in one way or another. This could be emotionally depleted – that you just need a moment to let go. It could be physically depleted where your body is just unable to continue going. So you need to give your body a break. It can be mentally depleted and you need a nap. You just cannot continue thinking and doing. You need to give your brain a break. I believe that we can also be a little spiritually depleted, where we need to fill up our spiritual selves, our inner soul, that guiding light that helps us move through this life on a deeper plane.
So self-care is recognizing that in any one of these areas you’re lacking and you decide that you need to give yourself something.
Physical self-care is pretty easy, pretty obvious that we are in need of some kind of care physically. If you went out and shoveled super heavy snow, and your body is aching, you know that you might need to do some additional stretches or you might need some ibuprofen, or you might need a massage to help your muscles and your body release and let go. Physical very much manifests itself obviously. So it’s easier to do. In the same aspect, it can knock us out. Sometimes we might have an injury and initially, we think it’s a simple injury and we just keep pushing through it. And because we push through it instead of giving ourselves self-care, we end up causing more of an issue. Eventually that small injury could take us out r- equiring surgery with a strained muscle or, or, or, and your body literally tells you, “Okay, we’re done. We can no longer push through this earthly physical realm anymore.”
Emotionally. You know, personally, I think that we have been taught to stuff our emotions, to hide them, for a long time. And that is shifting, that is changing. People are way more accepting of the fact that somebody is emotional and just needs just a little extra compassion or understanding in moments. And I think that this is an absolutely beautiful thing. For me personally, I used to push emotionally and just stuff it so long that eventually it was like a pop bottle and the top would come off and I would just explode. And that would mean it might be a day of crying because I just needed to get it out. It might be that I would just verbally express anger and frustration. There were times that a couple of times that I would end up physically moving my upset through my body by using a punching bag or something else to help that emotion come out because it was such a raw emotion. Now I pay more attention to that. And if I just want to sit down and cry for a minute and just allow that movement, I do. And I don’t bottle it up so much, which means that I personally feel a lot more connected and in control. So I don’t have those outbursts and I don’t have those moments that I just have to spill over and let it all go.
Mentally. I am a lover of naps. I am a huge advocate of naps because our brains can only do so much. And we are beautiful creative beings. We are constantly going and doing, we are working, we are solving problems. We are just, our brains are so beautiful and so complex and so amazing. They send the signals for our body to get through the day. They make us walk and talk and think. And I mean, they’re just so complex. And if you think of all of the different things that our brain does in any given day, it’s exhausting. So giving it a chance to stop giving it a chance to just pause and let go is an unbelief saveable gift. And that doesn’t mean that you have to take a nap – while I love naps it doesn’t mean that you have to take a nap. It might be that you just decide to sit down and color for a minute, or maybe you decide to sit down and just focus on your breathing for a couple of minutes so that you can clear the mind and give it a rest before you move on.
When someone has a traumatic brain injury, like a concussion, they often tell you that you need to be in a dark room with no stimulation so that the brain, this bruise on the brain, is then able to heal better. And we don’t do that in our day-to-day activities, we don’t say, “Oh, I’m going to go sit in a black room.” However, giving our brain those moments to heal and regenerate is an unbelievable gift that can just elongate our productivity. A little downtime. When our brains are tired, it means that we can be more productive afterward.
When we push through, when we’re tired and our brains are just a little bit foggy and we just keep pushing through, we’re actually less productive than if we were to just stop and say, “I’m going to do a little self-care.
I’m going to take care of myself in this moment. I’m just going to give myself a break.” And then you go back to work, go back to doing what you were doing, and you will be able to achieve so much more in a shorter amount of time because you are refreshed and ready to go.
As human beings, we are always giving. This is just human nature. We are serving someone all the time. It doesn’t matter if you are the giver or the receiver, even the receiver is still serving the giver. Meaning that, for example, you have someone in assisted living. They really can’t do a whole lot for themselves. They need a lot of assistance. They in and of themselves are serving the person that has the job, because that person who is giving the care needs someone to need them. They literally need to be needed and they need to have that job. So those of our elders who advanced to that state and need that extra help, they’re really a gift, not only for their knowledge and for the life that they have lived and the knowledge that they can pass on to those of us willing to listen, but also in the fact that they are allowing other people to give to them and teaching a lesson in that gentle compassion and humility coming together.
Coming back to self-care. I also believe that self-care needs to be this very intentional act. Coming back to the concept when I was younger and I thought that self-care meant the bubble baths and girly frilly stuff. And it was only for women. I think that there’s this common misconception about what it is now. I’m not saying that it has to be feminine, and I’m not saying that it has to be a specific thing.
I believe that self-care is any action, any activity, any choice that regenerates and fills your cup, anything that improves your state of being because you intentionally chose to improve. This means that if swinging a hammer and pounding a nail makes you feel better because you just want to do that, then that self-care because you are intentionally saying, “I’m going to go swing a hammer and pound some nails, because I know that it will make me feel better.” This means that if cleaning the house and scrubbing it from top to bottom makes you feel better because you intentionally say, “I know that if this house was clean, I would feel so much better and I need to move some of this energy through me. And the best way for me to do that is to clean the house. So I am going to clean the house, get out some of my upset, and in the end, feel so much better.”
Make note – there’s a difference. If you’re cleaning the house because you’re angry and you just want to clean the house because you’re angry, that’s one way you may not necessarily feel better at the end of it. If, on the other hand, you say “I’m angry and I’m going to clean the house because it will make me feel better,” you have set the intention and at the end of it, you actually will feel better because of the intention that you set when you started cleaning. It’s that intention.
Some people that I’ve talked to say that self-care has become this thing, that it actually is more of a burden than a refresher, that they are very frustrated because they go and they get a pedicure. And at the end of it, they are really annoyed and frustrated because they did not achieve all of these other things that they should have done. And they just spent an hour on some supposed self-care thing, but they feel worse than they did when they first went. And that again is an intention. If you go, and you say, “I am getting a pedicure because it makes me feel so much better to have cute little painted toes and soft heels. I am gifting myself this time so that I can regenerate recoup. I’m giving myself this time because it is my moment to close the world out and just focus on me,” that intention compared to “I’m going to go get a pedicure because my toenails are horrible and I don’t want to have to clip them myself. And I’m really tired of my scratchy heels.”
Do you see the difference? One of them is a half to, and while you’re doing it, you’re probably thinking about all of the other things that you should be doing instead of getting your toes done. The other one is intentional. “I am choosing this moment. I am giving myself something that I need because I know that I will feel better. I know that I will be happier. I know that I will be lighter because I chose to do this.”
Some people love connecting with nature. Nature is their self-care. So it’s riding a bike. It’s going for a hike. It’s going for a walk on a beautiful, gentle nature trail. It is just being out in nature. And enjoying that again. Here you go. Is riding the bike for your physical wellbeing, a half to, that you are frustrated that you have to do, or is it a joy to feel the wind in your hair and the miles that are going behind you as you ride that bike and just enjoy the freedom of that moment? Want to or have to? What is the intention behind the self-care?
If you set that intention saying, “I’m going to go do this because I love that. I can’t really hear other people talking when I’m riding my bike. And I love just feeling the miles go by and I love just letting go. And I know that I will feel better if I do that,” then you will feel better.
I highly encourage you to find what really works for you. What kind of activity or action or inaction fills your cup and makes you feel better? What is it that gives you a boost? What is it that helps you physically? What is it that helps you mentally? What helps you emotionally and what helps you spiritually? It’s different for every single person. And it is a gift that only you can give yourself. That is why it’s called self-care. Nobody else can read your mind. Nobody else can give you what you personally need in that moment.
Somebody can suggest, “Hey, maybe having a cup of tea and just settling down for a moment would be a benefit to you. Would you like to have a cup of tea? I would be happy to make it.” They can offer to help you. Someone could offer to run a bath. Somebody could offer to help you build something or clean the house. You still have to accept that because it is you yourself, your self-care.
I really hope that you can find that. I really hope that you can find the different things that work for you in different moments that really nourish you and nudge you in the right direction. The only way for us to truly show up as our real authentic selves is to make sure that we ourselves are okay first – before we help everyone else. It’s this self-ownership. It’s knowing who you are and what makes you tick. What makes you better?
And then you can extend that to other people, understanding yourself and helping yourself grow means that you then know how to help other people do the same. You can’t tell somebody else to do self-care if you yourself are not maintaining that. So I encourage you to dive in. I encourage you to seek out those things that make you feel better. I encourage you to start adding some intention to your life. I encourage you to be the best, most amazing you that you can possibly be in living the most amazing, wonderful life that only you can live, because it’s you.
I look forward to you tuning in. I look forward to you growing and just expanding in absolutely beautiful, wonderful ways. And I hope you come back next week when we’ll do a guided meditation on just connecting with you and giving yourself a little self-care. Until next time, I’m Krystal Jakosky with Breathe In, Breathe Out.
I hope this moment of self-care and healing brought you some hope and peace. I’m @krystaljakosky on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube and I hope you check us out and follow along for more content coming soon. I look forward to being with you again here on Breathe In, Breathe Out. Until next time, take care.