If you haven’t recently heard about “self-care”, you will soon. Self-care is defined in healthcare spaces as “any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated” but a more informal definition includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health.2 Self-care as a practice is gaining traction in many circles as people are realizing the short and long term health implications of living the way we do. We’re exposed to harmful chemicals via our toxic environments and made subject to a constant barrage of overstimulation. Living in this digital age makes its harder than ever to truly hear and understand what our bodies need.
Self-Care is simply carving time in your schedule to focus on just you. This is necessary as we have focused on work and external markers of success as a culture. We tell ourselves “one more meeting, one more deadline, one more client and THEN I’ll be able to rest”. We push our bodies to the limit and oftentimes use caffeine and other stimulants to keep us going. We spend down time incessantly refreshing social media and further draining our energy by inviting comparisons and feelings of inadequacy.
Our modern culture seems to reward extended periods of neglecting ourselves and being intentional about self-care is a way to combat and prevent deteriorating health. Care of yourself is a unique and individualized process. We are only given one body during our time on the planet and it is our responsibility to care for it. It should be fun to come up with ways and practices to implement for care of your whole self: mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional.
I deeply believe in self-care as a practice because it took my becoming sick to learn it existed. I’m naturally sensitive to my environment and have realized when I don’t take care of myself I experience severe IBS, chronic fatigue, emotional mood swings, and breakouts. Self-care to me includes yoga, meditation, indulging in dessert, boutique fitness classes, gratitude journaling, and solitude. Developing a schedule and regimen that works for you is an art. My self-care practice is ever evolving from week to week but I’m sure to always schedule time for myself.
The beauty of a self-care practice is that you have complete freedom to enjoy and spend time with yourself. You dictate the terms and schedule. Perhaps you have a weekly self-care routine or decide to make it a daily thing. No matter the frequency you choose, you want to focus on consistency while having the compassion and flexibility towards yourself to allow space for going with the flow. Your body will always let you know what it needs by how you feel. If you’re exhausted, self-care could be skipping that work out class and curling up with some tea in bed. If you’re hungry, self-care could be treating yourself to dinner at the new restaurant you’ve wanted to try. If you’re feeling stuck, self-care could be heading to a museum. If you’re a woman and that time of month is tough for you, maybe your self care is cancelling on your girlfriends and relaxing for the night. There is no limit to what you can do!
Self-care is a core component of developing and cultivating a relationship with yourself. It should never feel like a chore because it comes from a place of love. We all could use more time to surrender and truly connect with ourselves. Self-care is a great vehicle to accomplish just that. Learn more about Natural Self-Care here.