Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Self care is about making daily choices that will elevate you to the next level of your life where you are living as the most powerful version of yourself. It's about prioritising self love by attending to your own needs, speaking your truth, filling your own cup, having strong boundaries and living as your most authentic self so you can move through your life with energy, clarity and purpose. Self care is about recognising when you've gone unconscious in your thoughts and behaviours and that you're operating on auto-pilot. It's noticing that you've stopped caring for yourself and that you are not in a healthy state spiritually, emotionally, mentally or physically. Self care means stopping, assessing, re-evaluating and getting into action to shift what is not working for you.
Ways you could be neglecting yourself:
You're prioritising other's needs over your own, putting your kids, job, partner, money, parents, siblings and staff first.
You're stuck in destination addiction - the constant drive to be more and do more and have more because you think that's the only way you'll be happy. You're sacrificing the joy bring in the present moment for a fictional future you think is coming
A lack of accepting that who you are and what you have is enough.
Not managing your time efficiently, living in a state of rushing and panic.
Not taking care of your physical body with healthy food, exercise and good sleep.
Having a lack of boundaries and not knowing how to say no.
No fun or creative outlets or new experiences or adventures.
We live in a very fast paced world with an overwhelm of information and high expectations of us - especially at work. Coupled with living through a pandemic and the immense life stressors that have come out of this last period in our lives, people are burnt out, depleted and spent. We are not machines, we cannot just keep moving forward when we are exhausted on every level. We have to take time to rest and refuel.
So how do you start practicing the art of self care? You've got to make a plan. Write it all down and get clear on exactly what actions you're going to be taking:
Spiritually - Meditate, practice mindfulness, honour daily rituals. Don't know how? Follow meditation experts on social media, download meditation apps like calm or headspace do an online course, try new paths to explore what makes you feel connected to self and external energy. Emotionally - Remove yourself from WhatsApp groups, end toxic relationships, say how you feel, connect with a friend, see a therapist, work with a life coach, write in a journal every day, practice daily gratitude. Mentally - Change any thoughts, beliefs or opinions that are keeping you stuck in a negative space. Check yourself when it comes to sabotaging behaviours. Read more. Learn something new. Plan the next 3 months of your life. Organise your admin. Start that new business. Get clear on your boundaries. If this is an area you really struggle with, get my eWorkbook on Boundaries - The Freedom Factor. Construct your life your way. Physically - Get bodywork (massages, reflexology, reiki...). Get moving! (got for a hike or do a yoga class or go to the gym). Nurture yourself with nutritious food (download new recipes or do an online cooking class or work with a nutritionist if you don't know where to begin) and get proper, deep sleep (switch off tech 1 hour before bed, no caffeine after 3pm, soothing rituals before bed like a hot bath or foot massage). Technologically - How are you allowing tech to impact your life? Turn it soff! From the minute you wake up to the minute you go to bed, you are constantly online. You're always available and always connected. It's overwhelming. Constantly following news feeds fills you with universal fear, stress and worry of what's going on in the world and it's paralysing, Turn it off! Because if you don't, your lack of boundaries means you can't recognise if it's genuinely your feelings or if you're taking it on because it's everybody else is feeling that way. So step back and get some objectivity.
Self care is not selfish, it's life saving because if you're not functioning then nothing else in your life will. Unconsciousness = self neglect so stay conscious on a daily and weekly basis to how you are doing:
Every day, do an emotional check-in practice with yourself. How are you feeling and what do you need. Commit to your daily rituals of mindfulness, mealtimes, movement, interactions and make sure to be taking regular time out, even if it's just 15 minutes, to recharge throughout the day.
Every week, do a deeper check-in with yourself. How have you been at work? With money? With family? With your boundaries? Never let a week of my life go by without doing a check-in, of where I have been a bit lax with myself.
There can be a negative side to self care when people use it as a way to avoid life in general. Maybe you're feeling overwhelmed by what is going on so you want to stay in bed or lie on the couch all day. Once in a while it's necessary to take time out to rest and recuperate. But if you are doing it all the time, and you keep using it under the guise of self love and self care, then you're simply giving up/ checking out/ settling for what is comfortable or easy.
Self care is not about avoiding the reality of your life.
It's not self care if you are not showing up for yourself, if you are not being present in your relationship, if you are not participating with your children, and if you're not showing up to do your job properly. Self care is not about stillness - there's action required. Don't disassociate when things aren't working for you. Make a plan - what are you going to do about it? Otherwise your stress levels and sleep are going to be negatively affected while your subconscious it trying to figure out a solution to your problems.
Self care is about being an active participant in your own life and creating your days around balance, boundaries and priorities.