As you can gather, I think a lot about taking care of yourself, and I care A LOT about it. I want to shout about it from the rooftops! I want to hug you and bless you with self-care blessings! I want to grab your shoulders and shake you while I yell how important it is in your face!
But I shall take a more humble, write-it-in-a-blog route at the moment and dig a little deeper into why it’s so important and some simple ways to get started.
Talk To Yourself
Our bodies are constantly communicating. Be it different body systems working together, the body language we exude, or verbal conversations. But one of the most important conversations that we tend to neglect is consciously checking in with ourselves.
I wrote a few posts ago about negative self talk, and to start gently changing that conversation with ourselves. But along with that, there is the honest feedback conversation. It goes something like this:
“Hey, body/mind/soul. How are you doing today? What do you need? How can I help this whole day go better?”
And then taking the time to listen. For me, some of those answers tend to be something like this:
“Oh hey, girl. Thanks for checking in. Yeah, I’m doing pretty good, but my neck and upper back hurt a little. I think you slept kinda funny. You should do those neck and shoulder stretches that I like. Oh, and though we totally loved those cupcakes from Nichole’s last night, my tummy hurts. Eat a little lighter today. Ok? Ok. Cool. And by the way, you are the bee’s knees.”
It may seem silly and you may feel like you’ve got a little Gollum/Smeagol convo going, but it’s ok. Keep going with it and you will come to cherish that daily inner dialogue. I have come to not being able to function without it.
Movement: Does Your Body Good
This may seem like an obvious one, but your body needs to move. And yes, it moves all of the time, but we need that time of intentional movement.
The benefits of exercise and stretching are endless and yes we all know them, but seriously folks. If we don’t stretch and move and tend to our aches and pains, it can lead to incredibly negative and serious consequences.
A favorite quote of mine that is known in the yoga therapy world is:
If you listen to your body whisper, then you don’t have to hear it scream.
And that touches on my first daily convo point, as well. Those first twinges and whispers of body discomfort is our body’s way of warning us. Of saying, hey! lets doing something about this or else it’s going to get worse and lead to a torn rotator cuff or knee injury or heart attack, or who knows what else!
One of my new favorite quotes is by Core Fusion co-founder Fred DeVito:
“Embrace movement as an essential part of being alive.”
We weren’t created to sit at desks and stare at screens for 8+ hours a day. I’ll save that soapbox for another time, but self-care is how we counter that ever-increasing way of life.
And if you are up and moving for most of your day, self-care is how we create some stillness and more therapeutic movement and habits.
Fill Your Own Cup First So You Have Something To Pour
In our culture, there is a glorification of busy. There is a glorification of sacrifice and struggle. While I think being busy and sacrificing and struggling are important parts of life in their own ways, it’s gotten out of balance.
I’ve heard almost every excuse in the book as to why people can’t do self-care. “It’s so hard with kids; they need me. I never get a moment to myself. I don’t have time at work. I’m so tired by the end of the day. My dog ate my homework.”
Ok, not that last one, but they all sound like silly excuses to me.
What people don’t understand (and this is usually the self-care point that makes me want to shake people and yell, in a loving way of course) is that by taking time for yourself every day, even if it’s just 5 minutes of deep breathing and grounding, will make you a better partner, parent, friend, employer, employee, everything.
You NEED to fill your own cup.
If you really want to be the person you want to be in the world, you must take those sacred moments to yourself to take good care.
And not only will you be able to serve others better, but you will have valuable coping tools (like a healthy body, healthy breathing habits, self-love and confidence, etc.) to deal with stresses and traumas that will happen in life.
To put it all into a sweet-smelling, glossy package:
Check-in with yourself daily to receive guidance on how to move and stretch and care to yourself so you can be that kick-ankle force in the world.
You’ve got a lot to do, my friend. So please, please set yourself up for success and enjoying the journey of life with a self-care practice.
And if my reasons don’t do it for you, tune into your own why. Put some love and motivation behind those “shoulds” in your I-know-I-should-do-this conversation.