So I have a question for you….how do you define self-care? Its something that we know is important, but do you make it priority? Who taught you about self care? Did anyone? The more I talk with women the more I come to understand that most of us didn’t have anyone demonstrating healthy self care. It’s no wonder that most of us don’t make self care a priority. I don’t know about you, but most of the people I know and work with (myself included) struggle with self care.
So it’s up to us to define it, to demonstrate it, to commit to it and to encourage those around us to celebrate self-care.
Let’s first look at the existing definition of self-care:
1. care of self without medical or other professional consultation
REALLY?!?!?!? That’s it? That’s the definition? No wonder most of us struggle with self-care. Based on that definition brushing your teeth is self care. Now don’t get me wrong, brushing your teeth is important, but geesh, let’s up the bar a bit.
After interviewing women from all different walks of life in all different stages of life I realized that we all have a slightly different definition of self-care, but there were some common themes. So using input from their interviews here is a new, working definition of self care. The definition, that, as we move forward in this conversation of self care, we’ll refer back to.
1. time taken on a regular basis to listen to what your Mind, Body and Spirit needs in a way that leads to self-recognition and self-discovery in order to embody your deepest dreams and biggest desires in a way that leads to experience and share the greatest version of yourself
Woah. That feels big. Does it feel scary? The first time I read it I didn’t know that I could do that, let alone TEACH people how to do that, but I promise, it’s easier than it sounds and way more juicy, fun and alive that you could ever imagine.
Now that we are on the same page with a definition that we can actually work with let’s move on.
Let’s break this down:
time taken on a regular basis…How often do you set aside time to check in with yourself? Do you wait until you’re at your breaking point to try to figure out what you need? Do you check in so infrequently that when you do, you don’t even know what you need or want? That’s okay. No judgement. Take a minute to think about how often you want to take time for yourself. Daily? Weekly? Monthly? For myself, and the clients I work with weekly is a minimum, daily is best. The nice thing about taking time daily is most days 15 or 30 minutes becomes enough. When you are taking time monthly, it can feel more overwhelming because you need more time. To start, try and set aside 15 minutes a day to check in with yourself. For now, set the intention to do something that is really nurturing for you every day. For me, at a bare minimum, I sit down with a cup of tea and a little piece chocolate every night. It’s not a big thing, but it feels slightly indulgent and I feel so nurtured. There are days where you’ll need more than a cup of tea, it’s not always that simple, but we’ll be talking about about how to check in with yourself in future conversations.
to listen to what your Mind, Body and Spirit needs…It is important that we listen to ourselves on all levels. Our thoughts give insight on some things and our body gives insight on others. Our Spirit essentially lets us know when our Mind and Body is aligned. Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly what diet was best for you? What kind of exercise would benefit you most? Which job to take? When we listen to our Mind, Body and Spirit, we no longer have to chase fad diets or work out until we collapse. When we take time to listen to our self we learn that we have all of the answers. We know when to wait, when to take action, when to invest and when to walk away. And this leads to the next part of the definition.
in a way that leads to self-recognition and self-discovery… Deep listening develops deep knowing. So when we take time on a regular basis to listen to all that our Body, Mind and Spirit has to share with us it naturally leads to self-recognition and self-discovery. I’ve coached many women through this process. Initially, many of them come to me not knowing what they want. Knowing “something” is off in their life, but not quite able to identify what that “something” is. When we can gain tools to listen to what we really need, what we really, dare we say….want! When we can do this the self-recognition and self-discovery comes easily.
in order to embody your deepest dreams and biggest desires…self-recognition and self-discovery will naturally lead you to your dreams and desires. When we set aside intentional time to listen to ourselves we can start to hear that quiet voice that has been dreaming for something bigger, for something better. The great thing is, although your desires may still seem scary, when you are embodied in your dreams and desires, suddenly they become possible. Scary, but possible. What I see from women who start to embody their dreams and desires is that life gets fun again. It has spark, it has juice, it has meaning. It’s like cleaning a dirty window and suddenly the light comes pouring through again.
in a way that leads to experience and share the greatest version of yourself….When the light comes pouring through you see a version of yourself that has been hidden. Not only from you but from the world. The world needs your gifts. The world needs what you have to offer.
One thing that I’m sure of is that self-care can’t really happen if you’re not connect to yourself. Maybe that’s why we’re so afraid of it, so bad at it or ignore it all together. Sometimes connecting to yourself is scary. Maybe you might find out that you don’t feel appreciated at your job, that you don’t really like that guy you’ve been dating, that something in your marriage isn’t working for you.
Self care takes bravery.
Self care is also the most fun you will ever have. It is the most rewarding, fulfilling, uplifting, important thing you can do. Without it, we can’t share our gifts, our purpose with the world. I can guarantee you right now, there are people out there right now, that would benefit from your gift. More importantly than that, YOU benefit most from sharing your gifts, your dreams and desires with the world.
When we get quiet we can get big. When we get big we can help heal our self, our community and the world. Are you ready to get big?
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