WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
I'll be honest with you: I don't have the answers. I only have experiences, reflections and lessons. Isn't that the way life works though? If we take a moment to step out of our own lives and allow ourselves to see the bigger picture, doesn't it all boil down to experiences and lessons?
The main question I ask myself is, “How can I love myself well?” Self-care has become a coined term relating to practices that range from quietude to luxurious treatments, and although they’re all fair definitions for it, I want to include perhaps a new way for you to approach it.
It involves stepping outside our minds and entering our hearts. One of the most recent revelations I've had is that I want to be able to be as aware of my feelings and needs during times of joy as I am during times of stress. Self-care facilitates this transparency. It's the link between our hearts and our perspectives on life. That's where I think the gift of the precious present lies. The pot of gold. The edge of the rainbow.
The ultimate lessons in self-care that I can pass on to you are this:
SELF-CARE IS FUN
Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. - Dr. Seuss
A life of leisure in my everyday life is what I strive for. These are some of my favorite spontaneous practices: middle-of-the-day DIY face scrubs and masks, extra essential oil drops on my skin to feel like a goddess, long walks through the plant store while listening to my favorite music, gym time, reading all kinds of books that enlighten and inspire me, signing up for that class I've been wanting to take, etc. Thinking of "normal" activities as luxurious ones or even switching the time of day I enjoy them adds an element of fun and playfulness to my self-care routines. In addition, taking a leisurely approach to my day immediately adds the illusion of time to my life, which makes me more prone to notice, acknowledge and perhaps even smile to the person next to me. This is one of the truest benefits from practicing self-care: when we care for our internal selves we're better able to externalize feelings of peace, compassion and love to the world around us.
SELF-CARE IS QUIET
Silence is the quickest avenue to our soul. In quietude, we face ourselves, our feelings, our lacks, our desires, our questions and our dreams. I find that each day is different when it comes to sitting quietly. Sometimes I'm in the zone for twenty minutes straight and other times it's a huge struggle to stay still for two minutes. It's always telling of what's underneath the surface of course. I've experienced enough of the bliss that happens when I push through the chatter and arrive to my inner peaceful place to know that it's worth pushing through. Bliss, my loves. BLISS. If you're willing, I encourage you to check out these apps. I use them either at home in the mornings, in bed at night, or sometimes while I’m nursing and Levi drifts to sleep. Make this experience your own and don't overthink it. In yoga, it's said that a still body will facilitate a still mind, but just remember that the goal isn't to quiet the mind completely, it's to slow it down enough for you to see what's there, without judgement. These are my favorite meditation apps:
Stop, Breathe & Think
They each have free + premium options. I usually just choose a free one and it does the trick!
I hope you enjoy this approach to self-care. I'd love to hear about your journey as you incorporate some of these or maybe even come up with ones that your heart is yearning for! I find that taking a step back from our busy lives, listening to our hearts and honoring what it needs always brings a sacred perspective to our days and lives.
Sending you all love,