I recently came to realize that there are people out there who are not yet on the self-care bandwagon. This blog is for you: the curious, the confused, the skeptic.
One of my most popular blogs to date is about The Importance of Self-Care which speaks to how to make self-care fit more seamlessly into your life. This has been super helpful for those who are aware of this practice, but may not be entirely helpful for those new to the idea.
What is Self-Care?
For all the newbies, self-care is the intentional choice to engage in activities, big and small, that are necessary for optimal comprehensive health: emotional, psychological, physical, social, and spiritual. In short, self-care is having a regular and consistent practice of doing things you love that fill your soul.
In real life, self-care looks like doing more of what you love doing and less of what you feel drained by. It is choosing to refuel in intentional ways so you feel more energized and fulfilled rather than depleted.
What if I Don't Know What Fills My Soul?
Give yourself a little credit! You probably know what you enjoy but might not be getting the concept of self-care just yet. Here are some questions to think about that can help you understand your unique formula:
- What am I doing when I feel happiest/fulfilled?
- My weekends are the best when ______.
- What is something missing from my routine that I used to have/do?
- When I see other people doing _______, I wish I could too!
- My week is really difficult when I don't _______.
- I feel really energized when ______.
After answering these questions, the concept of self-care should be solidified and customized for you. From here, you can begin thinking about why these things feel great for you. For example, my weekends are best when I am outside, moving, and have cooked some good meals.
Understanding the what is great, but understanding the why is even better! These activities feel so important for me because I love nourishing myself with nature, getting creative in the kitchen, and giving to others.
Why Do I Need To Practice Self-Care?
Having a strong self-care practice is the foundation for being your best self in relationships and having the most fulfilling life. I know, this is a big statement. We all strive for happiness and fulfillment, right? Can we truly achieve that without knowing what it means to be happy and fulfilled? And can we have that life that we want without practicing more of what provides happiness and fulfillment?
With respect to relationships, caring for ourselves is the ultimate primer for being our best selves with others. When we constantly put others' needs before our own, we run the risk of burn out or losing our sense of self. When we understand what we need in order to be our best selves (aka self-care) we are more present and engaged in our relationships with others.
What If I Have No Time?
I have heard it before and I will tell you what I tell my clients: I call bullsh*t. We spend endless hours a week on our phones, mindlessly scrolling through social media. A fraction of that could be spent on self-care! Even if you work insane hours and just go from work to bed and repeat the cycle each day, you still have time for self-care.
Practicing self-care is a lifestyle more than a one-off task. It is more than checking a box and saying "on to the next." We can take the time that we are already spending on things like having coffee in the morning or showering (no excuses here!) to be intentional with how that activity is filling your soul.
But Isn't Self-Care Selfish?
I hear this constantly and I get it. Thinking about yourself feels taboo, unnatural, and makes all those defense mechanisms peak. If you are not within the top five of your list of priorities, there is a problem. Ideally, you should be #1, but I am willing to compromise. When we make other people or things a priority over ourselves, we are scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to self-care.
"You can't pour from an empty cup" is one of my favorite ways to put self-care into perspective. People rely on you and without taking the time to nourish yourself, you are not able to give your best to others.
See what one week of daily self-care could feel like and I bet you will be a convert! If you are officially on the bandwagon and living in NYC, join us for a mini workshop (Re)treat Yourself: NYC on May 7th, June 11th, and July 9th.