Too many times our clients look at us cross eyed when we ask the pivotal question "What do you do to self care?" The response makes us feel as though we have just said, "how many times have you flown to the moon this week?" Self care can be that foreign for busy people. Our "always on" culture of productivity has lead to self care almost being a dirty word, for weaker beings, who really need that stuff!! Sorry peeps, WE ALL NEED SELF CARE, if you are a human with similar biology to us (ie. heart, nervous system, brain), you need self care, no choice about it. So take a few minutes out and learn a bit more about this thing called self care and how to DO it, meaningfully in your busy lives today.
What is self-care?
Self-care is an act of intentionally creating space to look after our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it seems like a simple concept, it is an increasingly difficult practice to maintain in the business of our modern world. Self-care at it's core is showing up for yourself. Attending that appointment you have made with YOU to recalibrate.
Self care is backed by science. With self care, you change internal habitual patterns that have placed YOU too far down the list of the things you care about. When we show up for ourselves we reduce stress and anxiety, think more positively, increase our skills of abstract thought and problem solving. Self-Care is the foundation of your mental health so that you can show up for others and your community.
There are many different types of "Self-Care", however these can be broken down into 8 main groups:
- Physical Self-Care: movement of the body, your health and nutrition, rest and physical touch. - Psychological Self-Care: learning new things, engaging intrinsic motivation, using consequential thinking, practicing creativity and mindfulness. - Emotional Self-Care: enhancing emotional regulation and literacy, accepting and navigating emotions, increasing our empathy, managing stress and developing self-compassion and compassion for others. - Social Self-Care: having a supportive network of relationships surrounding you. This helps build a sense of connection and belonging. - Professional Self-Care: sharing strengths, having professional boundaries, and gaining supervision from a senior. - Environmental Self-Care: having an organised work and home, minimising waste, monitoring technology time and being mindful of your community. - Spiritual Self-Care: beliefs and values that are important to you and guide your life. - Financial Self-Care: being responsible with your finances and having a conscious relationship with money.
Self-Care is multifaceted. You can't focus on every aspect all of the time however it can be useful to do an overall check in these domains and incorporate practices that enhance self care in that area. For example, prayer or meditation for spiritual health.
What isn’t self-care?
Self-care is not something we force ourselves to do, or something that is not enjoyable. Self care should not be hard work. If it is, you may be trying someone else formula instead of your own. Agnes Wainman stated that self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.” It is important to note that self-care is not a selfish act. Self care is a loving act.
Basically, self-care is the key to living the life you want to live, keep on doing all the awesome stuff you are doing, just top up your tank...regularly.
So, where do you start? Here are 3 important aspects to put into place to begin:
§ Stick to the basics. Over time you will find your own way of doing things and your own routine! You will be more able to implement and identify more particular forms of self-care that work for you as time goes on.
§ Self-care needs to be something you actively plan, rather than expecting it to just happen. It is an active choice and so you need to treat it as such. Add activities to your calendar or planner, tell others of your plans to others in order to increase your commitment, and look actively for ways to practice self-care.
§ Keeping a conscious mind is what counts. If you don’t see something as self-care or do not do something to take care of yourself, it will not work as such. Be aware of what you are doing, why you do it, how it feels, and what was the result.
It consistently warms our hearts to see the improvement in client's energy, relationship to self, connection and productivity when they meaningfully start to self care.
Let us know if you want to develop a self care ritual that is sustainable and not from a book but developed just for YOU.