This month, we’ve been talking about self-care as a general theme on our blog, and our social media channels. In this last week of January, I want to put all the concepts of self care together in a 6 part daily series that addresses common reasons why we all have difficulty with starting and maintaining good self care, and ways we can integrate self care into the foundation of our lives. Read on for an introduction to the concept of self care as a lifestyle, and stay with us for the next 5 days as we break down the concepts into clear, actionable steps you can use to get self care off your to-list, and into part of who you are.
Day 1: It's OK.
Imagine a day like this:
Snoozing the alarm. Jumping out of bed, tired, with no breakfast (or scarfing breakfast in the car), scrambling to get everyone ready, and get out of the house on time for school and/or work. Sitting in traffic. Power lunch meeting conference calls. Sitting at a desk all day. More coffee to keep you going. Going hard at the gym on an empty tank. Soccer practice. Getting home tired, stressed, and rushing through dinner and homework, or that thing with your friend you really wished you had said no to but felt obligated. Crashing into bed exhausted, and staying up late to finally have some time to yourself to catch up on Netflix, check up on social media, or answer those ever-important work emails.
While this example may seem extreme, I’ll bet there were at least a few places that have some similarity to our own lives. Being stressed, overworked, overscheduled, exhausted, and busy have become status symbols in our modern culture. Productivity and achievement has come to be a badge for our value in the world as human beings. Resting, gathering our energy, and taking time to properly care for ourselves is seen as laziness or selfishness in a society that honors what you do over who you are.
Psst. I have a secret to tell you. It’s OK to rest. It’s OK to say ‘No’. It’s OK to have a slower day. A slower week. A slower life. Not a wasted or unfulfilling life. But one that’s filled with intention, passion, joy, creativity, rest, and a deep level of love and care for the self. On your terms.
For many of us, slowing down and really nurturing ourselves either feels impossible or like an insult. But a lifestyle with self care at its core doesn’t mean dropping our lives and hermiting in the woods and growing an epic beard (not knocking that life choice one bit!). It means taking a deeper look into our values and desires. It means finding or remembering our priorities--the most important one being ourselves--and making mindful, conscious choices everyday that align with them. It also means giving ourselves permission (and discipline) to leave out the rest--all the things that don’t serve us, don’t nourish us, and aren’t in line with who and what matters most to us.
Our time each day is finite. We can only wake up so early or stay up so late. Instead of cramming the day with things, people, stuff, and obligations that don’t align with our values, what would happen if we eliminate the unnecessary? How would you feel if you had time and energy everyday for joyfulness, creativity, connection with loved ones, rest, play, working on your passion, or just doing absolutely nothing? Sounds pretty good, right?
Stick with me over the next few days as we explore the ways in which we can take off the mantle of ‘busy’, learn to take the best care of ourselves, let go of the stress and obligations that the world deems important for us, and find out how we can reimagine our lives, rekindle our passions, nurture our best selves, and live the life we really want, without sacrificing what matters. Let’s start living the self-care life!