self-care isn’t selfish
My work with self-care started a few years ago when I realized that no one was going to think I was worthy if I didn’t think that of myself first. Cue the journaling, reading, mindfulness, baths, and hours of analyzation before settling on a routine that truly works for me. And for about a year, I was taking baths, writing out my intentions, living out those intentions consistently…I thought I was killing it. I felt passionate about this cause so much that I started sharing the message of self-care through this blog and other platforms! But the real test of my self-care knowledge came 5-6 months ago during a very stressful and anxiety ridden season of my life.
Before I move on, here’s some backstory so that this piece makes sense. I am not a stressful human being. I would consider myself to be 90% Type B; a roll with the punches, understanding, and calm lady who stays level headed when others are not. So when I felt overwhelmed and experienced high levels of stress for months in a row, I felt lost. And it was not a good look on me! But what I found to be most frustrating during this time was that my “self-care regiment” wasn’t working. Like, why not? I thought that my bath soaks, quality time with friends, and monthly intentions would save me during this period, but they didn’t. This practice that was supposed to help me maintain my sanity had failed and I couldn’t understand why.
use your self-care regiment to help you heal
You know when that lightbulb in your head finally goes off and you just GET IT? That happened to me over breakfast with an amazing friend who was just willing to listen and then get real with me. And after our time together, I let out this huge sigh of relief that was built up for months.
my lightbulb moment: what was serving me before with my self-care routine was not serving me in this state of mind.
I did things that helped me take care of myself when everything was smooth and steady, but I didn’t tailor anything to HEAL MY STRESS. Because when I took that bath, I thought about my to-do list. When I wrote my intentions, I used them as an escape instead of a remedy. That’s when I realized that there needs to be more talk about the INTENTIONS of self-care.
Here are 3 tips to creating a routine that will truly support your needs:
- WHAT is real, impactful, and life-changing self-care
- WHY it’s essential to create the right self-care routine for you
- HOW to create a regiment that you’ll stick to
What is self-care? Well, the obvious answer is that it’s the practice of you taking care of you. Pretty simple, eh? If we leave it at that it is. But I believe there’s WAY more than that when it comes to self-care.
In my opinion, I believe self-care to be a series of activities, experiences, and conversations that recharge me in a healing manner so that I may be the best version of myself EVERYDAY.
It’s more than the pictures on Instagram or Pinterest. Self-care (if you let it) can provide you with the most life-changing lessons that will impact how you interact with others and with yourself. Let’s see why…
This question seems fairly self-explanatory at first glance, ie: to help me slow down, set aside time for myself, recharge, etc. None of those are bad reasons! I feel those things too from my personal self-care regiment. In my opinion, the deeper meaning behind the “why” is:
to provide a higher level of awareness that will allow us to react more positively when we experience negative triggers
When I practiced as a counselor, I spent time with clients working to establish new responses to replace the ones that promoted negative behaviors (ie: acting out, rage, food coping styles). And I think that work is so important for EVERYONE, regardless of how you acquire the information, and self-care teaches you that! The more self-practices that are in place, the more your mind and body default to new coping mechanisms that promote positive living. You’ll find yourself mindful of your reaction time, how you respond in the moment to situations and conversations, and what new habits will replace old ones that were stimulated by negative experiences.
Let your practice bring you healing and comfort. Realize that it can help you build boundaries and recognize when you need time for yourself. Accept the fact that it will teach you more about who you are and how to be the best version of yourself.
This might be the most important of this post! Get out a pen and paper and be ready to do a little work:
- On your sheet of paper, draw a vertical line down the middle to separate the paper into 2 columns. Next, title one column “what brings me down?” and then title the other “what makes me happy” (or “what brings me relief” or “what brings me joy”)
- Feel free to write this in a journal to keep if you want to reference for later. If you prefer to do this on a computer, do the same thing in a Word doc. And if you’re using a phone, use separate “Notes.”
- Once the columns are created, go ahead and start writing! Think of all the experiences, activities, conversations, and people that fit into these categories.
- Now is your time to be honest and vulnerable, otherwise you’re doing yourself a disservice. And the more detail you provide in your lists, the better.
- When you’re finished, read over the “what brings me down column” – go ahead and highlight which instances impact you the most.
- I don’t want you to default to what occurs the most, because sometimes there are more prominent issues to be addressed that might’ve occurred once.
- Think about the feelings associated with these instances as well. Are you angry or saddened? What brings you the most stress? Does anything create anxiety for you?
- Do the same thing in the “what makes me happy” column – highlight the most impactful instances or people that bring you happiness.
- Are these experiences that can be recreated repeatedly? Is there someone who shows up on your list multiple times? Do any of these provide relief for you?
- This is the setup for filling in what practices you’ll identify as part of your self-care routine. I like this exercise because it gives us all a chance to slow down and see what is and is not benefitting our lives anymore.
Now that you’ve identified “how” design Now that you’ve identified your most significant drainers and supporters, start identifying what activities promote healing, relief, and ultimately self-care. Here are some self-care practices to think about:
- Spending quality time with certain people or a certain person
- Setting regular intentions
- Trying new things
- Letting go of negative friends
- Making new friends
- Cleaning up bad eating habits
- Incorporating more exercise
- Taking baths
- Reading daily affirmations
- Self-pampering (a hair cut, manicure, pedicure, make-up)
Your self-care routine is that just-YOURS. There will be no judgment or criticism when it comes to your routine because there’s not a perfect formula on how to care for yourself. The only rule is that you are truly caring for yourself! Look at your self-care practices as hobbies that will help you reduce the impact of whatever brings you down. They will provide you with relief, bring calm to the chaos, and ultimately help you find healing from whatever is fueling you to establish a self-care routine in the first place!
Do you have a current self-care routine? If so, what practices help you recharge and heal? And don’t forget to sign-up for my email list and receive a F R E E workbook to help you identify your Core Values!