Day 3: The Way of Self Care
So now that we’ve expressed some gratitude for being gifted with this life, it’s time to take ownership of it! But how do we become aligned with self care as lifestyle, and take charge of our time in order to live our best lives? Is there some magic spell to recite? Some Chinese herbs to take? Some online life-hack course for only 3 easy payments?
No. We can only get out of this life what we’ve put in. But like all things, if we want to change our lives, and this world, we begin with ourselves. No, it’s not what you think. There’s no diet, no pill, no workout. No shaming, no guilt. This work is a work of love. For you and by you. When we lovingly invest in ourselves, magic happens. We find we have the resources, energy, joy, and desire to create a life that is truly worthy to call our own.
Self Care is Not Selfish
So much of what we’re told from childhood and well into adulthood is that giving, serving, and putting others’ needs before our own is a honorable pursuit. Whether you’re a parent (moms in particular), a spouse or partner, a friend, a caregiver, an employee--in almost every area of our lives, the general expectation is to sacrifice for the other, often to our own detriment.
We’ve been taught very little about how to care for our own needs in our constant effort to do for others first. We’ve been told that we’re selfish if we put our needs first. ‘Adulting’ becomes challenging as we’ve no strong foundation from which to build on. Our relationships and social lives suffer because we’re too tired to really connect. We have difficulty listening to our own body, and what it needs, and so our health and energy declines. In an attempt to put a band-aid over our unmet needs, we get into unhealthy patterns of eating, drinking, spending, and connecting. We can start to feel isolated, disconnected, anxious, depressed, and out of touch with ourselves and the world around us.
Most of us have at least one person or situation in our lives that demands our attention, time, and energy. A child, an ailing parent, a spouse or partner, a job, school, etc. Not to mention all the thousand, never-ending things such as maintaining our households, vehicles, and stuff. Of course we want to show up for these people and things. Because they matter to us. But how can we really show up for what matters when we’re sliding in late, tired, hangry, and depleted?
You Can’t Pour From an Empty Vessel
This is where the magic of self care happens. This is where we find that when we slow down, and take good care of ourselves and get what we need first, we have the capacity, desire, and resources to take good care of the people and things that matter to us. Taking time to recharge and replenish makes us better parents, employees, friends, spouses/partners, and caregivers. ‘Selfishness’ becomes a gift we can give to others with generous abandon. And in turn, teaches others to do the same. In this way, by caring for ourselves, we care for the world.
It’s at this point (if not before) that you may be saying to yourself, ‘That sounds great! I’ll just have my people call your people and clear out my schedule so I have time to do all these self care things. /eyeroll.’ And I get it. As a single parent of two amazing daughters (and one fur-child), with a full time job, a partner, and a massage practice on the side, I understand all too well the struggle of finding time and energy to care for myself. I learned the hard way that if I don’t prioritize my needs, I have absolutely nothing left for anyone or anything else. If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
How do we achieve this? Join us tomorrow for The Bucket List exercise! (no, not that bucket list).