As we progress together along this path of “Becoming”, I’ve mentioned the concept of Self-Care quite a bit. So today let’s explore what it is, what it is not and then offer some helpful and hopefully fun suggestions for you to embrace in your daily rituals.
What is Self-Care?
On the simplest level it is taking care of yourself. We know we are unable to care for, assist or be of service to others if at first we are not addressing our own needs and healing. It’s the old story about the flight attendant’s speech. What is the first thing you are supposed to do if the oxygen masks drop on a plane? Put yours on first then you can come to the aid of others.
Self-Care is also being good to yourself. Treating yourself like you would others. It involves self acceptance, gentle self talk, self compassion, having empathy for yourself and seeing that your basic human needs are being met.
If you are not feeling that you are receiving C.D.R. (compassion, dignity and respect) the first thing to check is are you giving them freely to yourself? If you’re not respecting yourself, not allowing yourself to live a dignified life or not accepting your own ups and down with compassion, why would anyone else be?
An essential part of “Becoming”. Is living a healthy life. This includes all four aspects of life, something for years I’ve referred to as P.I.E.S.
Physical: Taking care of your temple. Eating healthy, exercising, strengthening and conditioning to remain agile and flexible. Seeing that you are remaining disease free or taking proper step and treatments, therapies, etc to ensure you are recovering.
Intellectual: Tending to your mind as well. Maintaining cognitive functions and abilities as well as having right thoughts. Keeping yourself motivated for the momentum to always be “Becoming” forward and upward.
Emotional: Maintain balance and control over your emotions. Celebrating the highs and guarding against the lows. Ensuring your mental health is fit as well.
Spiritual: Are you involved in a daily spiritual practice? How do you see yourself in relationship to creation? Do you need rituals? Traditions? All very personal questions for yourself to consider.
When you are addressing all four aspects of life, the circle remain unbroken, the wheel of life keeps spinning, you continue to move, f not then suddenly one area deflate and like a flat tire you find yourself temporarily stranded on the side of the path, However, this too can be corrected, Fix-A -Flat, the tire changed or someone comes to rescue you…. These delays can be overcome.
Recognizing what self-care is, now let’s explore some of the benefits of this practice.
“Becoming” More Productive
When you care for yourself and become more balanced in your approach to any situation, your goals can become clearer. You are able to focus better and concentration is boosted allowing for you to get the work done.
There is all kinds of research, both from medical and psychological professionals that show Self-Care is healing. Studies have shown those who do adopt the strategy are able to activate their parasympathetic nervous system. This allows your body to enter into a more restful state which strengthens your immune system. Researchers have also learned that those who adopt healthy self-care rituals also catch fewer colds, are less likely to get the flu , have fewer instances of upset stomachs and have generally lower stress levels.
“Becoming” via Positive Self Esteem
Yesterday we focused on the need for and benefits of improving or maintaining a positive sense of self. Treating yourself like you matter and are valuable can silence your inner critic and discourages getting involved in negative self-talk.
“Becoming” Of More Service
Being good to yourself allows for you to find and develop the resources needed to be more accepting and compassionate. This allows you to build on your strengths and be able to give and assist more freely.
What Self-Care Is Not
Self Care is not a rationalization to become self indulgent. It is not an excuse to self medicate or escape from reality and most important Self-Care is NOT being selfish.
Selfishness is having an attitude of “me, me, me”; “I, I, I”. The selfish person consistently only thinks of their own needs and desires without consideration of others or their needs.
Self-Care allows for you to be able to have the strength dn tools necessary to be more open, to be more empathetic, to be of more service and accepting of others.
This was an area I struggled with for years. Since my innate nature is to be a nurturer and caretaker, I always felt if I put myself first or said “no” to someone’s request then I was being selfish. I could not have been more wrong.
As a result those false beliefs took their toll on both my physical and mental health, nonetheless I have recovered and am living my life as testament that it can be overcome and we can all always be “Becoming”.
Selfishness breaks down, it defeats. Self-Care builds up and empowers strength and victory.
Self-Care allows you to set boundaries to maintain your personal power and sense of identity.
There are several different aspects of Self-Care. Let’s briefly explore them and then I’ll have a “laundry list” of suggestions or you to try.
1. Sensory self-care is about helping to calm your mind. Find ways to balance the sensations involved in awareness. Consider touch, smell, sound, and sight.
2. Emotional. Making sure you are fully engaging with your emotions. This helps lower stress and deal with anxiety. When it comes to your emotions, it is healthy to feel them, accept them, and move on.
3. Spiritual self-care is not just believing in God. Spiritual self-care includes, knowing and living your values and truly understanding and “Becoming” what really matters to you.
Let’s have some fun. Now you don’t have to do everything on this list. In fact you do not have to do any of them. Make up your own. These are just examples to help foster growth and conversion. If something works for you, let me know. Comment below if you’ve developed your own revolutionary Self-Care practice. Sharing is caring and we all need that!
Cuddle up under a soft blanket.
Watching the flame of a candle.
Take a nice long luxurious bath.
Sit in a sunbeam and listen to music with your eyes closed.
Pet your “pet”.
Keep a daily journal, and be honest about your feelings.
Make time to be with a friend or family member who truly understands you.
Let yourself cry when you need to.
Do something creative. You know what your “secret” talents are.
Do yoga. Yes chair yoga counts!
Join a group of people who share your interests.
Create a new, healthy, daily habit and schedule it into your life.
Set up reminders on your phone to remind you that you are awesome!
Say “no” to someone.
Smile at yourself in the mirror!
Practice daily affirmations …
Practicing Self-Care allows for us to start living, stop simply existing. It will make your life more purposeful . It can give you a new reason to get up in the morning. It can be your jump start to “Becoming”.