Self-care is a huge buzzword right now.
People are beginning to recognize the importance of putting themselves higher up on the list of priorities. But what does self-care really mean and how exactly do you start it?
We are constantly under some kind of pressure. Being an active participant in life makes this reality. These physical bodies we live in carry us through all of the to-do’s, shoulds, and needs. Every person has a different way of experiencing life; some are more physical and active while others are weightier on the mental aspects. Every one of us is meeting some other living being’s needs throughout our days, weeks, months.
A writer meets the needs for news and escapes in the world of books. Managers meet the needs of those above and below them in the hierarchy. Parents meet the needs of children and couples meet the needs of each other. Children help each other learn and grow as they meet the need for friendship and connection. A person in assisted living helps meet someone’s need for a job or the simple need to care for another human being. EVERY job helps and serves in one way or another.
Just because we return to our homes at the end of a day doesn’t mean our continued giving stops. There are often souls outside our daily grind who lean on us for additional love and support. And let’s face it, making dinner can be the last thing we want to do, and yet, having a body that requires food, water, sleep, etc. means we are also in service to ourselves. Nourishment is required, so we trudge through that too only to do dishes and clean up before going to bed so we can start it all again after some much-needed rest.
I’ve worked with many people and friends about this self-care concept. The conversation often turns to how even the things that are supposed to be self-care become a have-to. It’s as though doing something for yourself is “just taking up time” which you could be spending accomplishing another task. And then you don’t feel rejuvenated. Instead, you feel guilty and frustrated for being “indulgent” and wasting time.
This is what I’ve come to; Self-care has to be intentional. It means you’ve decided you value your body, mind, and spirit enough to take pause and nurture them. It is a shift from guilt to empowerment, shame to ownership, discomfort to peace.
An example: A parent is exhausted and needs a moment of peace. They lock themselves in the bathroom as it’s the one place they are “alone”. If this is done with the mindset of “I’ve just GOT to run away and hide for a minute” yes, you’ll get a break and likely feel a little better before going right back to the chaos previously escaped.
On the other hand, if you go into it with the mentality of “I am going to take a moment to fill my cup. I deserve a moment of peace” the energy has shifted. Instead of running away, you are embracing and owning your needs.
Shifting to embracing and allowing can also be used as a teaching tool.
“Hey, I’m feeling overwhelmed and I need a few minutes of self-care.” Maybe set a timer so people know, this is YOUR time and you’ll be back. Now you don’t have to hide in the bathroom and can freely do what would feel most nurturing in the moment. The more you do this and follow-through, the people around you will learn, not only to respect your moment of self-care, but that self-care is something to be cherished and owned, instead of stolen moments to be ashamed of.
I propose 2021 be a year of shifting our mentality.
Let’s learn how to love, honor, and give ourselves what we need.
Let’s learn how to listen to our inner voice to know how to meet those needs.
And let’s give compassion to ourselves and therefore to those around us, encouraging us all to take a moment, every day, of self-care and love.
For weekly self-care tips, follow our Instagram for our #SelfCareSunday Series. We’ll be sharing some inspiration for ways you can practice self-care every Sunday in the New Year: https://www.instagram.com/krystaljakosky