Why You Don’t Need Self-Care (as you know it)!
While this is another example of a great idea being beaten to death, it’s hard to find the right way to go about self care in a culture of consumerism and busyness. Scheduling in a facial when you haven’t seen you kids all week, or running off to a yoga class when you have to swim through the mess in your house to get out the door, is not always the easy – or right choice. How do you incorporate self care in a way that fits, makes sense and is reasonable in the pace of modern culture?
The definition of self-care has really been abused by the wellness and hospitality industry. So many of us now think of self care as something you have to make an effort to go out and do. Book a massage or an exercise class, take a girls weekend, or have our hair done. These are all AWESOME things to do, in a schedule and budget that allows.
But at the root of self care, it’s simply taking care of ourselves. If you value something, don't you take care of it?
You might be rolling your eyes right now. A year ago I would have. When I had a 1 year old, a preschooler, a dog, house, several part time gigs and not enough time to shower on a daily basis. There are seasons of life like this, that is hard. There are times in life you might have to work, and choose and sacrifice to even make it through the day with clean underwear on. But even then, a Friday night shower WITH a glass of wine before bed was my shining star. However, taking time to cut out things you can do without, outsourcing what you’re able, and finding small pockets of time for what fills your cup is well worth it.
Infusing your day with a little time or focus on your wants and needs will help you work smarter. Having the space to breath, have the opportunity to show YOURSELF love and respect is life-altering, and well worth the time!
So, how can you do this?
Clean it up!
One very important factor in caring for yourself in the simplest of ways, is to clear clutter. Minimizing distractions and extra jobs is a huge piece of taking care of yourself. Not only does this mean simplifying and tidying your home to a place where it can be a safe and relaxing space, but it means cutting out extra pieces of life that aren’t necessary. I’m not on the Marie Kondo wagon completely, but I do try to look at my things, and my schedule and decide if they are functional or joyful. If they are neither then I really consider whether or not they should have a place in my life. It’s hard to care for yourself with the distraction of clutter all around.
Space it out!
Our Western culture prides itself in efficiency. Using online or paper planners to schedule your day by the MINUTE in order to get the most out of it. Convenience foods help you cut out the time-sucking activities such as chopping vegetables, or whipping up your own sauces. Drive throughs allow you to stay in your vehicle while someone hands you dinner directly through the car window. Fast wi-fi means we can connect to information in an instant. But what if you allowed an hour between a meeting and picking up your child from school? What if you didn’t plan anything for an entire Saturday and allowed yourself to take a break from laundry and dishes. Would you get behind? OR, would you get refreshed? What studies have shown us, is that giving yourself time allows you to be more productive in the end.
What makes you feel most comfortable in your skin? Do you love a facemask in the evening, is a bath a good way to unwind. Have you found a way to move your body that feels both energizing, and mentally releasing? If you took a moment to think about what activities FELT good (rather than what you’re told you should do), what do you think of? Can you find time for that? Can you consider that tuning into your own needs is the very basis and foundation of self care? A daily 5 minute coloring break, or 20 minutes every morning to do your hair and make-up to feel fresh and alive.
Take a look at your whole self health. It can be easy in times like these, to look for a magic bullet to help you de-stress, energize, and feel good. However, no such thing exists. There is no one singular focus that can solve all things for you. Sometimes, what we need in taking care of ourselves, is to actually look at what is missing. Maybe you generally have a nourishing diet high in fruits and vegetables and quality proteins and carbohydrates. While a salad for lunch is certainly a form of self care, you might need to look beyond what you’re already doing if you want to improve on your overall health and wellness. Perhaps your friendships are a bit rusty, or you aren’t feeling satisfied in your job.
I can share with you some tools for identifying areas where you might want to put some loving kindness, and ways to add in simple self-care adjustments to your life in all areas of wellness.
Like so much else when it comes to our health, these things are different for everyone. What can be a way to care for yourself, such as a hot bath and a podcast on cooking, can be an area of stress for someone who needs more movement, or quiet in their lives. The important things to remember is that:
- Self Care is simple, it’s simply taking care of yourself.
- It takes self reflection to get to know yourself and your needs.
- Start small. Incorporate some pleasures and ways to support yourself throughout your week.
Does this feel too difficult? The first step, if this is something you struggle to do, is simply think about what sounds nice. If you look at your day, and you envision a small moment that gave you peace and revitalization what would it be? Start the process of envisioning that activity and how it could fit into your day. Take some time to consider how you’d like to incorporate this idea, and start planning!