Self-care has become such a buzz word lately that I'm not sure people recognize its true importance. Being overworked, stressed, and on the verge of a mental breakdown might be trendy, but trust us when we say, this mentality is not serving anyone – especially not yourself!
So before you spill your apoptogenic tea on yourself doing breathwork cycles and speeding to the infrared sauna, let's talk about how to approach sustainable self-care practices, and how to tune and listen to what your body and mind needs.
Q: What is self-care?
A: We all understand the basics; get adequate sleep, go outside to breathe fresh air, drink water, give your brain some downtime, and connect with others. We also understand there's more to it than that, and that it’s not all about just going through the motions.
Research shows that the core aspects of self-care contribute to 60 to 70 percent of the chronic diseases we know in this world. So even if we understand the importance of keeping our minds and bodies healthy, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.
Q: Where do we go wrong?
A: What am I about to say shouldn’t come as a surprise: the health and wellness industry (and often our culture in general) prays on people not feeling like enough. It's unfortunate to know that the way we're marketed to is designed to play into these feelings of insecurity. It’s important for us to be aware of this and become less susceptible.
Oil pulling, dry brushing, tongue scraping, mantras, face masks, salt baths, hot water with lemon… the list literally does not end. There's always going to be something you're not doing, so repeat after me: that is alright! If you stress out about not doing enough, you’re perpetuating the need for these practices.
Contrary to popular belief, taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be expensive, extravagant, indulgent, or time consuming. Sometimes less is more, so keep it simple and focus on figuring out what works best for YOU.
Q: What does it look like?
A: If you’ve been paying attention you know the answer is: a million different things! This is where you need to check in with yourself and learn what feels right.
Maybe your version of self-care is setting personal or professional boundaries so that you are not overextending yourself. It could be as simple as making a cup of tea, taking a walk, or calling your Mom. It could be more unconventional like writing a poem, baking a pie, having a dance party, or going for a long drive to watch the sun rise.
The whole purpose of these strategies is to find love, grace, presence, and acceptance within yourself. Many people find that through breath and movement, for others it’s meditating. Let go of any expectations or judgement you feel from others or even internally and allow yourself to be fully present and aware.
If you’re being mindful of how you feel and lean into what feels good for you, then you know you’re on the right path. The journey never ends but if you’re taking small steps towards being truly confident with who you are and what you value, that is truly a beautiful place to be.
Q: Where do I start?
We suggest making a list so that when you have down time you have somewhere to turn outside of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Try keeping a note in your phone and compile a list of things you remember loving as a kid, or something new you have been meaning to try.
Another recommendation is to keep a self-care box or drawer. Fill it with candles, a journal, some palo santo, and any products you like to treat yourself with. Treat it as a ritual, opening it will signify it’s time to slow down and spend time with yourself.
Strive for balance, not perfection.
Q: What did we learn?
Self-care is not just about how you nourish your body, but how you nourish your mind, spirit, and soul.
Trust yourself to guide you to what you need – there is no perfect way, and you don't have to do it all!
So whether your intuition is telling you to let go, show up, slow down, tune in, or tune out, just remember this is about you, just take CARE of your SELF.
Author: Carrie Aslagson