Self-Care, Self-Love, Or Self-Indulgence? May 08 2018
I felt it was essential to return to the foundation of holistic self-care instead of becoming jaded by the self-care industry. To do so, I sat with the most critical questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? And Why?
Self-care is a practice for anyone and everyone. It is inclusive, accessible, and always the right fit for anyone willing to try it. So often beautiful self-care practices are reduced to the images we see on social media centered around young, attractive, able-bodied, privileged white women. But how would you respond or support the men in your life who began a daily practice? How do you feel about teaching your children about self-care?
So what exactly is self-care? Self-care is any attempt to regulate and support the functioning of your body, mind, and spirit. That's a pretty broad definition as it should be! Sure self-care can be acai bowls on the beach, but it can also be about taking steps to manage your debt, reaching out to others when you are struggling or making sure you eat sleep and drink water. Self-care is flexible and based on willingness. What area of your life could use attention, regulation, boundaries or support?
Self-care works any time of day in any season. Perhaps your self-care centers around waking up earlier to meditate before work each day? Maybe your version of self-care is focused on being physical for half of your lunch hour? The key component of self-care is consistency. We create a strong foundation when we participate in activities that support our optimal health and wellness on a consistent basis. A difference in my body and stamina may not be instantly obvious but if I go for a 3-mile run every morning, but if I dedicate myself to this practice on a daily basis I will begin to notice changes over time.
Look down at your feet. Begin where your feet are. Are your feet immersed in crystal clear blue waters off the coast of Bali? Great! Start there. Are your feet cramped in uncomfortable shoes while you sit through a challenging meeting at work? Even better! Start there. Be where your feet are and begin the practice within the structure of your daily life.
Every self-care practice is different and must be adapted to fit your life. I find accountability apps extremely helpful. Insight Timer is how I stay committed to a daily practice of meditation. Steps Ap is how I track my physical activity throughout the day. There are apps to support your wellness in any area including finances and diet.
To the question of "why" I always respond with 'why not?" What could you possibly gain by meditating less? What area of your life would be improved by more insomnia and less sleep? What benefit would come from hydrating yourself less or allowing stress to build up to a breaking point or isolating yourself instead of connecting with others? We practice self-care to improve our ability to discern between pain and discomfort. We practice self-care to take preventative steps towards our mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. We practice self-care because when we pause and take a moment to do something for our highest good, we give silent permission to the person next to us to do the same.