Let's start by asking, WHAT is self care?
If you speak with me often or read my posts, you'll know that I'm a wee bit obsessed with self care!
Unfortunately lately this has become a bit of a buzz word or buzz phrase and there is a lot of confusion around what exactly it means...
So let's get clear! Self Care is any activity that makes you feel nourished and taken care of. But this is such a broad definition! So won't this encompass a ton of things?
YES it does... and that's awesome!!
That's the beauty of self care. It doesn't have to cost any money, be time consuming, complicated, or fancy. It doesn't even have to make sense to anyone but YOU! It is SELF care after all... This is about you and only you.
WHY do it?
So now that we have a general definition of self care, why should you care? What's in it for you?
Well a whole lot of things to be honest, but here are a few of the big ones:
1. Connect to yourself.
So many people today feel disconnected from the world. From friends, family, and anything else that's important. But out of all of the connections we make in this life, our connection to SELF is the #1 most important thing! After all, we are with ourselves 24/7 until the day we die, so that relationship deserves some time and attention. Start really listening to yourself. Your intuition. Your moods. Do you say yes when you really want to say no? Do you overthink things? Are you worried about how you'll appear to others?
Oftentimes our fears, insecurities and worries stem from a place of disconnect from ourselves. Once you are truly in tune with you, then the rest of it becomes easier. Connecting to yourself is really one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself! And self care is a wonderful tool to do just that. Check in, be conscious and be present.
2. Improved physical health.
Self care has many benefits to our physical health, and though some of them may be obvious (such as if self care to you means going for a run or hitting the gym), others are less so.
Self care and tuning into yourself can actually reduce stress levels. Stress is a precursor to many common ailments and diseases! High blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, inflammation, and sleep problems are all worsened by high levels of stress. Take care of yourself, reduce stress, take care of your body. Simple right?
3. Be able to give more to others.
You can't pour from an empty cup. You've probably heard this saying, but may not have really put much thought into it. Think about this for a second though... You run around all day doing everything! Your schedule is full and you're always on the go. At work, at home, with the kids, socializing. Working hard and saying yes. But how much are you able to give if you don't delegate time for yourself too?
If you're irritated, tired, burnt out and at the end of your rope, are you being a good friend? A good parent? Employee? Daughter or son? You likely love the people in your life and want to be able to show up 100% in all of your interactions. But if you don't take care of yourself first, you won't have much left to give. It really is a gift to your loved ones if you're able to show up as the best version of you every day!
4. Show up in your life in a big way.
Just as you may not be giving 100% to others when you're not taking care of yourself, it's likely that you're not giving 100% to yourself either. Do you always have to-do lists half done, projects on the go and a never ending stream of thoughts circling around in your head? Do you often feel overwhelmed or frozen in place? Do you have dreams or goals that you just never seem to have the time to work towards?
By taking care of yourself, you'll be able to show up in your life in full colour. Live in a big, bold, vibrant way! You'll have the reserves to put energy towards those projects. Those goals and dreams. No longer will they happen "some day", you can start living the life you've always dreamed of today!
5. Be happier.
If it's not obvious by now that this will happen, let me spell it out for you. Self care increases happiness by all of the means we've already touched on, plus more!
By feeling connected to yourself, taking care of your physical health, showing up big in the lives of others and in your own, you will innately be happier. More satisfied with life. More vibrant and energized. Self care might just be that piece of the puzzle you've been missing to help you step into your best life!
So that's all well and good, but HOW do you get started??
As I said before, self care is anything that feels yummy and nourishing to you. So begin by figuring that out and making a little list for yourself! I recommend thinking of at least 10-20 things so that there'll always be something there you feel like doing.
A few examples include:
1. Making a cup of tea and sitting down for 5 minutes to really enjoy it.
2. Reading a book for pleasure.
3. Closing your eyes and taking 10 slow deep breaths.
4. Going for a walk in nature.
5. Meeting with a friend for coffee.
7. Move your body. Running, jogging, cycling, swimming...
9. Staying in your pj's all day, watching a movie and playing hookie from everything!
10. Planning a weekend away.
11. Diffusing emotionally supportive essentials in your home.
12. Be creative. Photography, painting, drawing, scrapbooking...
13. Get a massage.
14. Take a bubble bath or long hot shower.
15. Have FUN and be silly. Karaoke, go to a comedy show, mini putt, go-karting, paint ball...
16. Take a course or learn a new skill.
So you see these examples are quite varied! Some of these likely really appealed to you while others absolutely did not. Yet none is right or wrong! Just 100% individual to what feels good to you.
Once you've figured out why self care is important to you and what activities sound good, the next step is incorporating them into your life. I always recommend a little bit of self care every day. Some days it'll be a cup of tea or a bubble bath. Other days it'll be going out for a nice dinner or taking a vacation. But how do you squeeze it in? Prioritize it. Decide why it's important and put it in a schedule! Personally I block off an hour each and every day for self care. It's a non-negotiable in my life and I wouldn't be the same without it! Also share your new priority with someone in your life so that you're accountable. Maybe a partner or best friend. Someone who'll check in on you and encourage you to take care of yourself our of love.
I hope that this post has cleared up some of the myths about self care and helped you get a clear vision of what it'll look like in your life going forward!
Take care of yourself... After all, you're the only you and therefore the best most beautiful perfect version of you there is!
If you're looking for a little more self care, check out the Seven Day Self Care Booster!
This introductory mini course is all about getting you set up for success with a simple, rewarding intentional self care ritual that will have you feeling amazing and nourished each and every day!