We’re always flooded with information about self-care and ways to practice self-care, and if I’m being honest, all the information can be a bit overwhelming at times. I find it easier and more simple to follow the lead of my body instead of the trends. After all, our bodies tend to give us pretty clear signals about what is needed for rejuvenation and sometimes (because life happens) we don’t always hear what our body is saying.
In the past year or so, I’ve really simplified my self-care routine and I’ve started seeing these activities or practices as things that help me to stay regulated. I noticed that saying “self-care” had a certain perceived expectation assigned to it and sometimes thinking of self-care made me flustered. I had a casual discussion a few months ago with a student who expressed that it’s hard to even think of self-care when you are busy. At first I thought “well that’s when you really need it!” then I quickly realized that it was not the act of self-care, but it was labelling the activities as self-care that caused the disconnect. I thought about that for a few days and then I had some insight of my own.
I did not realize why self-care seemed a bit frustrating at times or something I thought I “had to do” until I had that discussion. I was actually bothered that I would have such a reaction to hearing the phrase self-care, especially since I am an advocate of all things wellness related. It was a powerful reminder that words really do have significant meaning and we need to pay more attention to how certain words and phrases sit within our mind and body.
I’ve started giving myself permission to take what I need, when I need it, without judgment (so…very….hard at times). There are a few things that remain constant for me each week, and then each week (or day) I decide what seems best, in that moment, to nurture myself so I stay regulated. Here’s what remains constant for me each week:
- make my bed every morning: I enjoy walking around my bed, making it neat and preparing for the upcoming night’s rest.
- pup snuggles while drinking hot tea/coffee in silence: I feel incredible joy when my dog snuggles with me when we get up. I lean in to her love and comfort as she curls up on my lap and buries her head under my arm 🙂
- daily walks: I walk with my pup every morning and evening, sometimes during the day. when she’s not with me, my body wants the movement so I still go for a short walk. Walking has been very comforting for me.
- Ashtanga practice: this practice is extremely grounding. I look forward to my class 3 mornings a week and I’ve been learning a lot about discipline and tolerance through this practice
The other activities I engage in include:
- something crafty (most times it’s painting, making random things out of felt, or coloring)
- create a fun playlist on Spotify or iTunes
- Netflix (okay, let’s be honest, this happens every week ha!)
- read a random book that’s outside of my usual content
- try a new meal or drink (tea)
- give myself a facial/experiment with new face masks
- new body lotion or essential oil blend on my skin
It’s really important to do what works for you, in the ways that work for you. An important part of taking care of your mind and body is to listen carefully to what you need and finding ways to meet those needs. So, here are a few things to consider as you make a plan to take care of your mind and body:
- Focus on needs first: it’s easy to give in to what we want without considering what we need. Take a moment to write out a list of your needs and wants and see how you can incorporate those each day or week.
- Work with what you have until you can do more: think about what activities you already engage in that can be turned into a self nurturing activity. For example, when you wash dishes, is this a time you can enjoy silence instead of multitasking or having the tv on? If you cannot afford to purchase something, you can find some zero cost options (eg., turning bath time into your own spa time, giving yourself a foot massage, putting a cold pack on your eyes while you listen to soothing music)
- It’s okay if you have to switch things up: if you have to change up your activities every day or every week – that’s okay! Remember, you are doing what works best for you given the resources you have.
- Sleeping and eating also count: don’t dismiss the power of getting sleep and eating on time. Those are two important aspects of taking care of your mind and body. When you find yourself thinking “I don’t do anything for myself” remember that these basic needs are quite important
- It’s okay to take a short break from planning activities: sometimes you need to take a nap and not plan an activity!
How do you plan to take care of your mind and body?
When do you notice it’s easier or harder to think about self-care?
What other word would you use to replace self-care?
~ Karisse C