What is Self Care?
Self-care is a deliberate act (planned) or activity in order to take care of our physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and social wellbeing.
It is something that brings us back into balance, awareness of how we are, raises self-love and contentment, it can be something that makes you smile, it can be relaxing or rejuvenating. Something that invites joy, but sometimes allows sadness and release. It is anything that will benefit our body, mind and spirit by putting yourself first.
What Self-Care is not.
Self-care is about bringing back into balance, it is not depleting, adding extra pressure to your life, anything that makes you feel guilty * (if any self-care at beginning fills you with guilt as you are focusing on yourself, start smaller till you become comfortable with the act of self-care, guilt is a very useless emotion that serves nobody) it also isn’t over indulgent; anything that will make you feel worse later, feed a bad habit or add to self-loathing.
Why is Self Care important?
If we don’t look after ourselves, how can we help others? In care work, therapy, as mothers, parents, siblings, children, friends- we need to start with us. Do you want to be led by a burnt-out yoga teacher teaching you about balance? Do we want to perpetuate this culture of busyness to our daughters, trying to do it all? Culturally the world has glamourised busy, productive as a sign of success. leading many to fall ill from exhaustion or suffer from anxiety and depression when we are not keeping up.
Both men and women suffer from lack of self-care; Women suffer from trying to balance, work, family, motherhood, home life along with pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, (whilst also being soft and feminine). While men suffer due to cultural expectations on them to always be strong and provide.
When we nurture ourselves, we start to understand ourselves so much deeper, we learn to cultivate resilience, strength, compassion and awareness, not only for ourselves but for our community, our world and environment.
What restricts you from self-care?
think about all the things that you think hold you back in Self care, is there something you can do to make time? can you delegate chores, or spend less time on your phone? what about not feeling you deserve self care? many focus on mantra and positive self love 1st. there never is a perfect time or condition. it is not a luxury it is a necessity.
What do you already do?
What do you already do that you can make into a deliberate self-care activity with more awareness? can you think of 3 things that you do that you could turn into acts of self care just by bringing awareness and planning them into your diary?
for example, a bath, for me some days i do not have a chance to bath or shower, so i grab a wash with the baby in the evening. by planning ahead, once baby is asleep, before i clear up or cook dinner or even relax on sofa, I top up that luke warm baby bath water, grab a cup of herbal tea, put on some music, and soak. It may not be long, but it is time just for me, i wash off the day, meditate, sometimes listen to funny podcast to lift my mood. a easy act of washing has become a beautiful self care practice with a little planning and commitment.
Types of Self Care
There are different kinds of Self-care, the best activities combine a couple of these types together.
Physical~ Making sure our body works, these are basic self-care practices of, eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep and rest, but also include those things we don’t always like, going to doctors or dentist.
Ideas of physical self-care include- body scan meditation, healthy diet, napping, getting enough sunlight, running, walking, stretching, dancing, balancing hormones.
Emotional~ finding time to look after our emotional needs, build resilience to cope and find balance in emotions.
Ideas for emotional self-care include- writing a list of compliments, all the nice things people say about you (cards, thankyou notes) this helps with compassion fatigue. Do something just because, turn off devices 1 hour every day, just be, cultivate forgiveness and acceptance, set goal, small to start and build bigger when you achieve them.
Mental~ Looking after your mind and your intellect- your inner thinker.
Ideas of mental or intellectual self-care include reading, talking, being creative, listening to podcasts, learning, writing, teaching, journaling
Social~ Even if you like your own company, we need human (and animal) interaction and contact. Social self-care could involve, being with friends, meeting new people, joining a club, seeing family, walking the dog, volunteering.
Spiritual~ This means different things to different people, but cultivating a sense of peace, self-love, and purpose. Not only in yourself but this earth and universe. See the bigger picture.
To have a spiritual self-care practice, meditate on what is important to you, your authentic self- values, beliefs, passions, mindful awareness, practice yoga (inner awareness) read spiritual texts. Make it mean something to you… also get out in nature, marvel at the beauty, cultivate a practice of gratitude.
How do I start?
Best to create a list of self-care ideas that mean something to you (it is pointless saying you want start running when you know you hate running!) Start with the little ones that don’t take much effort or time, try not to think too big at the beginning otherwise you become overwhelmed and feel pressured. (completely opposite of what we are trying to do!). start some core self-care practices from list to help you understand your needs better.
Remember just because we have created lots of ideas and lists doesn’t mean you have to do them all, may be pick 2 or 3 ideas to start and practice these over and over until you want to try or add a new idea.
Plan~ look at your list of reasons why you don’t do self-care and write one solution to each problem.
Decide when and how long you are going to spend on self-care. Use a diary, phone, or calendar Set reminders.
Time~ Set aside time and commit to something every day.
Commit~ honour your decisions, pledge to yourself to look after yourself.
Core Self-Care practices
These practices are ones that work as stand-alone practices to add to your list of self-care, but they are also special as they help you not only heal and look after yourself but they help build a deeper inner awareness of what you actual need, heighten your inner wisdom and intuition, help you learn when you are off balance, and deepen your connection with yourself as well as learn to accept and love yourself and your life today.
Awareness~ learn to tune in when you are off balance, when you feel you are about to burn out, when your physical emotions or mental health is at risk. ~Meditation, heart, womb connection. Womb wisdom, cycle awareness. Stillness, breath awareness, mindfulness
Gratitude~ Build a grateful life brings abundance, makes you realise what you have. ~ First thoughts of the day or last thoughts at night, name one thing you are grateful for.
Self-Acceptance and love~ the ultimate Self Care is self-love and acceptance, – not when we lose weight, or when we have the perfect home, or when we finish the next training course (my addition is self-improvement!) self-acceptance is being accepting of ourselves and our lives and our past exactly as they are.
“Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Radical Acceptance. If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness. Radical Acceptance directly dismantles the very foundations of this trance.” Tara Brach
want to join me on a 30 day self care challenge? you can start when ever you want or join our facebook group to connect with others.
the idea is to take 30 days in a row to commit to self care and love, each day there is an idea of self care, you can choose to do it or another activity off the list if it suits your mood better that day, remember it doesn’t have to be perfect, just to show up each day and say i commit to looking after my well-being is so valuable.
interested in joining? receive a free 30 Day Self Care Challenge~Andrea White and print.
Red School and Wild Power~ discover the magic of your menstrual cycle and awaken the feminine path to power. https://redschool.net/wildpower/
Radical acceptance~Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha Tara Brach https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFr_zQCUMD4
Yoga Nidra Network http://www.yoganidranetwork.org/