One of my favorite self care rituals (often in the winter-time) is pouring myself a glass of wine, running a bubble bath with some Epsom salts, relaxing essential oils, a sprinkle of healing herbs and lighting a candle, locking the door and slipping into bliss.
Taking a luxurious bath gives me a chance to unplug from the familiar, daily work routine. Quiet uninterrupted time alone allows me to unwind from the events of the day. Submerging in water feels weightless, creates warmth in my body and soothes my nervous system-as does the wine, lol!
Sometimes I’ll make a cup of herbal tea or have a healthy smoothie, depending on my mood. Epsom salts are packed full of magnesium and literally help to melt away stress, pain and soreness from the muscles.
This type of self care feels so pampering. Creating a special moment in time to enliven the senses, relax the body and calm the mind feels so good.
However, I have to come to realize that real self-care goes beyond this. In order to maintain a healthy balance so we can be our best selves every day, self care needs to be a daily practice. And I am not just referring to wine in bubble baths, pedicures and shopping.
Self-care is more importantly about cultivating a kinder, gentler relationship with yourself.
It’s knowing you have your own back.
It’s throwing some love back at yourself and appreciating who you are, even when you falter.
It’s saying no to the things that go against your own integrity.
It’s slowing down and checking in.
It’s letting go of perfection.
Why is this a much more challenging practice of self-care?!
In this culture, (living in the United States ), we haven’t been taught self-care as a way of self-preservation, as a vital component to our well-being. It has been viewed as selfish and overindulgent.
We definitely aren’t encouraged to slow down and meditate. We are rewarded for overdoing, overworking and our worthiness is based on how much money we make or how much we accomplish.
I wished I had allowed myself greater self-care in the past. I was too busy pleasing others and did not put myself in line. Sacrificing myself for others seemed to be the more moral thing to do, but was not sustainable.
I found it extremely tricky to find that balance with raising children. It was only when exhaustion set in and all my reserves diminished that I set out for some self care.
Self care is not about being selfish, it is about self-preservation.
This was my take-away from a women’s retreat, years ago, at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, in Lenox, Massachusetts.
My escape to the women’s retreat was one of my self-care investments.
I knew that I would be fed delicious, wholesome food, not have to do dishes or laundry, have quiet time to be by myself to reflect, hike, meditate, nap, do yoga, journal and connect with other women. All of these things I find valuable for my own health.
As a yoga teacher and life coach, offering the inquiry for others to create priority for self-care, to connect to their innermost, wise self for answers, to take a stand for themselves, to find their daily balance and to take time for self-reflection feels vital.
I have to be disciplined in my own life to remember self care. I have come to learn that staying in touch with my own daily, dynamic balance is a necessary practice so that I may serve from my best self. Some days are better than others, that’s why I call it a practice, it is not perfection.
We can simply do our best each day and remember to give ourselves some grace.
Making choices that are in harmony with ourselves and our well-being should be non-negotiable. This level of self-care makes all the difference.
It takes an everyday practice to put self care as a priority so that you are able to sustain your energy, foster a positive mental attitude, support physical, emotional health and cultivate spiritual connection.
You cannot pour from an empty cup!
So please grant yourself permission to put YOURSELF in the same circle of people you serve: your children, your family, your loved ones, your work. There is a valid reason why airlines tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, so you can help the next person.
When you make efforts to take care of yourself, you are a better parent, partner, friend, lover and mentor. Coping with the stress of daily life is more approachable. Your relationships are more genuine.
In addition, you have more vital energy to be able to take on responsibilities and get through your day. The desire to help and serve others is strong. Inspiration rises for creative passions and you simply feel better about yourself.
Here are some more self-care tips:
- Recognize your value and worth…you absolutely matter!
- Keep your immune system strong …drink lemon water w/vitamin C in the morning
- Eat healthy…add more fruits & veggies to your day
- Don’t watch the news every day…unplug from fear provoking content
- Hydrate…drink a minimum of 8 cups of water per day
- Get enough sleep
- Ask for what you really need
- Exercise…do what feels good for you
- Surround yourself with others who uplift you and want to see you thrive
- Get your OM on…meditate, walk in nature, do yoga, dance…
- Listen to music that stirs your soul
- Breathe deeply
- Take a nap
- Set healthy boundaries…say no
- Don’t judge yourself
- Be grateful for the blessings in your life…write them down!
- Get a massage
- Show yourself some grace…forgive yourself
Take Care Friends!
Mucho Love, x