Self-Care is Self-Love
During difficult times, carving out some time for yourself can seem like a luxury, if not an outright impossibility. Depending on what you are going through, you may be limited in the type of self-care you can give yourself. If you normally count on a trip to the nail salon, a weekend away, or some retail therapy for stress management, and your time or finances are tight, you may need to get more creative with the way you cope with stress.
The good news is that you can get effective stress relief at home, with simple, inexpensive self-care strategies. If you’ve been relying on spending money, keeping yourself super busy, or relying on other people to feel good, you’ve been missing out on the true power of self-care as an expression of self-love.
Putting Yourself First is NOT a Bad Thing It takes conscious focused attention to care for yourself first. If you’re like most people, you likely give to everyone else first, and sometimes, that is ok. But a regular routine of giving out means that you deplete your inner resources and power. You cannot take care of anyone or anything else if you are worn-out. You are the priority because all that you give to the responsibilities of your life comes from your inner power. Let’s break down the steps to self-care, starting with getting past the obstacles that get in the way.
Make Self-Care a Priority
Now that you’ve shifted around some energy, you’ve created some space to consider caring for yourself while you’re caring for others. And that’s when a new obstacle emerges – guilt! It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking of "me time" as simply being selfish. The truth is, prioritizing your own well-being is not only fair, it helps you be there for others because you’re in a better place yourself. This is just as important in times of high stress and unrest, and maybe even more so, than in the days of the “old normal.”
We’re going to start with small baby steps. Practice thinking of at least one self-care act a day as a prioritized commitment. This may be as small as committing to take one 5-minute meditation break between zoom meetings. What’s important if guilt starts to creep in is to remind yourself that you deserve to show yourself some love. Of course, sometimes emergencies will take priority at the last minute, but training yourself to view your own wellness as a top priority helps keeping it that way become the norm.
Start with a Daily Self-Care Check-in
Holistic wellness has always centered the mind-body connection, so taking time to check in with them both can be an effective stress management technique. If nothing else, each morning before you get out of bed, run through a quick scan of the following four areas. This short respite will center your energy within yourself before you start giving it away to others and allow you to start your day empowered.
• Mind. What has your attention? Notice where your thoughts are gravitating and reassure your mind that you will attend to them at some point during the day.
• Body. When we’re focused on meeting other’s needs, we can become oblivious to what’s going on in our bodies. Take a moment to check in with how your body feels and ask it what it needs to feel good today.
• Heart. Give yourself a moment to daydream about what your heart is longing for. The simple act of listening to your heart, for even just a moment, is a powerfully affirming message of self-love.
• Soul. What’s your highest spiritual intention for the day? Maybe it’s simply to be kind or grateful. Checking in with yourself as a spiritual being will help you keep your human experience in perspective.