I teach people that self-care needs to be a conscious and intentional act towards caring for your personal self. This can soothe your mind, your body, your emotions, whatever part of you needs attention in the moment.
I encourage people to schedule it. Make it more a part of your regular routine and in so doing you’ve put yourself higher on the priority list of life. You’ve recognized your value and self-worth. Everyone else can bugger off for a bit.
A friend recently shared a FaceBook post with me. The person writing was upset with the commercialization of self-care and felt we all needed to own our lives. Cut out that toxic relationship so you need less self-care and can just live your life. Change your job, stop over extending, be more realistic about your own abilities and limits. She had really good points and I echo her sentiments.
For me, the goal is that people start practicing self-care and find strength and encouragement to continue. It’s more than “splurging” for a moment. It’s about becoming aware of what’s an issue for you and making strides to change it. The conscious aspect of it helps bring about change.
I’m reminded of my kids as teens, learning more about expressing their emotions in healthy ways. In the beginning they’d burst out in anger and frustration. There would be a fight, things would be thrown, words would fly and eventually the storm would settle and we could talk about what was really bothering them.
A counselor told me I should be grateful they felt safe enough with me to express the depth of their emotion and honestly? Initially I thought he was nuts and yet I started to recognize their anger wasn’t at me, rather at a situation they were dealing with. Through their heated words I remained calm, and worked to decipher what was really going on.
As time went on the storms reduced in size, strength and intensity to the point we went straight from the upset endured to talking about emotions and working through solutions.
This is my experience with self-care too. You start putting yourself higher on the list of worthy activities. This action begins to shine a light in the areas that drain your confidence, strength and abilities. These are the corners you can adjust and change.
The more you attend to these corners the easier it becomes and you end up creating a life you love. You don’t have to schedule time for self because it just happens. You don’t feel drained and frustrated as often because you invite fewer irritants in.
You’ll see the toxic relationships and weigh your self-worth against them. Do I want to remain? Or do I deserve something better?
You’ll choose to heal the relationships that mean the most and put energy where it positively gives back to you.
You’ll see the habits causing more damage than good and seek ways to adjust and improve.
It starts with giving yourself permission to take care of your own needs.
Follow that up with acknowledgement and ownership of your situation and you have a recipe for improving on a life well-lived.