What is Self Care and Why is it Important?
Seeing as how I define self care as tending to, nourishing, focusing on and caring for one’s own wellbeing, I suppose I could say this entire blog is a dedicated self care blog. Self care is an area more and more people are wanting guidance with, and it’s really no surprise after the years we’ve all collectively experienced! Living in increasingly intense times tends to cause more stress in our lives and many are looking for ways to alleviate their suffering. So, what is self care anyway? We are such a busy society that the trend has become to forget ourselves and what we truly need to be balanced and well. Though, often what we actually need may conflict with what our minds tell us.
Though, oftentimes what we are really in need of can conflict with what the mind tells us we need. Those thoughts can keep us running on a hamster wheel, never slowing down or getting off of it to truly be present and care for ourselves. Self care enables us to be in balance and work on our wellness on all levels.Self care allows us to help bring balance and wellness to ourselves on all levels. It helps us navigate difficulties with more grace and ease and allows us to have greater resilience when we are faced with challenges.
Why is Self Care Important?
During times of great change and difficulty, self care practices become more important than ever. It seems obvious right? When we are struggling, we are usually deficient in multiple things, be it time, energy, enough food intake, relaxation – or all of the above! Yet, when we aren’t feeling well, either emotionally, mentally, physically or even spiritually – we often end up giving ourselves less self care. We use not feeling well as an excuse that we need a break, and then eat foods that aren’t nourishing or healing or binge on TV shows that are anything but inspiring. We talk down to ourselves. Or we just run ourselves ragged and ignore what the body is trying to tell us. We’ve all been there. But how do you respond when it happens to you?
This is so key when it comes to self care and really being strong and well. Those of us who have healed from debilitating chronic illness or any traumatic event didn’t get through it by ignoring what the body was asking of us. It happened through long-term commitment, really giving ourselves what we needed, day in and day out.
It’s OK to Focus on Yourself
Chances are, you are someone who struggles with giving yourself the care that your being so deeply needs and desires. I know how that can be. We haven’t lived in a world that values putting ourselves first. When we put ourselves first, we can be called selfish by others or even ourselves! This is nonsense. Once we put our oxygen mask on, we are able to help be of service to others in the most present and effective ways. When we tend to ourselves, heal ourselves and love ourselves, it ripples out. It actually supports those around us in ways we’ll never know.
The truth is, no matter what is going on – whether we picked up a cold, are going through emotional hardship, are dealing with a chronic illness flare up, or we are simply in a “bad mood”, self-compassion and self care become more important than ever during these times. The immune system, the adrenals, the heart, the mind, the spirit all need extra care when we aren’t feeling our best.
9 Examples of Self Care Practices
Nourish your body with healing foods like fruits, veggies, coconut water, and raw honey. Don’t be afraid of the sugar in fruit or raw honey! Your entire system actually runs off this glucose and it helps to keep it fueled when the going gets tough.
Drink 32 ounces of lemon, honey, ginger water first thing every morning. Put 1⁄2 – 1 inch piece of grated/sliced ginger in 32 ounces of filtered water for 15-20 minutes. Add 1-3 tbsp of raw honey and lemon juice (up to one whole lemon). This elixir helps your liver cleanse out all of the gunk it has processed while you were sleeping. It also helps fuel your adrenals and liver.
Spend time in nature to help reset your system and remind it of the support that’s ever present through Mama Earth. Whether it’s a walk in the woods, time near a stream, or just laying on the earth – this will offer much need rejuvenation on all levels.
Drink lemon balm tea or other (caffeine free teas) when you feel yourself starting to get wound up. Lemon balm does wonders to calm and heal the nervous system. You can even try an alcohol-free lemon balm tincture if you’re needing more heavy duty support.
Take time out and rest if you’re feeling overwhelmed by life and feeling the need to keep pushing forward. Even if you’re just closing your eyes for a few minutes, your body will thank you.
Move your body, even if it’s simple stretching or a walk around the block. This helps gets the blood flowing and unblock stuck energies.
Bring in a daily self care routine to help you start your day off right. Perhaps you drink 32 ounces of lemon honey ginger water, followed by a morning grounding meditation and prayer for the day ahead.
Take a break from social media. Limiting social media or fasting from it can help prevent energy depletion, keeping us more vital and clear.
Allow emotions to flow. Oftentimes we can get in a rut when there’s emotion present that we aren’t acknowledging. Check out the exercise below to let your e-motion (energy in motion) flow and get unblocked.
Emotional Self Care for When You’re Stuck
Try the following practice so you can tune in to what’s going on inside.
Pause and turn inward. No matter what you’re doing, see if you can take some time and space for yourself. Sit and tune into the sensations in your body. What are you picking up on? What does it feel like? Where do you feel it? Can you allow it to flow through you without wishing it wasn’t there?
Breathing, stay present with what’s arising. Allowing it to be there and show what it needs to. Sometimes words or images or ideas might come to mind. Keep breathing through it allowing whatever is present to shift and move through.
Release. Sometimes tears might come to the surface to release whatever has been stuck. That’s ok. Allow them to flow while trying not to judge the tears or adding a story to the tears.
Lastly, ground your energy. Take a deep breath in and then release your energy deep into the earth with roots growing down into it.
Tuning in and listening to yourself is one of the most important keys to well being. It is a skill that becomes stronger and stronger as you practice it.
Managing Your Beliefs
Oftentimes limiting beliefs prevent us from taking steps to care for ourselves. If we don’t think we deserve something, then why would we allow ourselves to have it? I have found that working on beliefs using Byron Katie’s ‘The Work’ can be supremely helpful in shifting and collapsing the beliefs that hold us back or stress us out. Visit www.thework.com for specific instruction on The Work. The beliefs that repeat themselves over and over again in our minds can lead to a pattern of stuckness and even victim mentality. We have the power to change this for ourselves if we decide to really step up and own our health and well being.
When we practice strategies for self care, we are actually becoming more radically accountable for ourselves. We are stepping into our power and seeing just how much the answers really do come from within. It takes time for most to shift into making this priority. But, we are now living in such momentous, potent energetic times that changes can happen much quicker than ever before. How can you set the intention of supporting yourself? How can you stop and tune in and really listen to what’s being asked of you from deep within?