Self-Care = Self-Love
Self-care has been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe it is the craziness of the holidays or just that I feel extra busy all the time. It is also chilly in this part of the world. Skin can become parched and we may feel more prone overall to dryness, fatigue and overwhelm. And then there can be that “let down” sort of feeling after the holidays. This isn’t the case for everyone, but regardless of how you are feeling, if you don’t have a self-care ritual going on in your life, this is a perfect time to establish one.
Self-Care = Flourishing
As women, we are often preoccupied with caring for others, making life wonderful for our families, and trying to live up to expectations. We may feel guilty taking time for ourselves. How many of you feel like you should be checking emails, paying bills, doing wash or any one of hundreds of things instead of carving out me time?! This topic is so rich and so important that I plan to share strategies and reminders often.
Self-Care = Wellness
Taking time for lovely self-care is crucial not only for our emotional and spiritual health, but also for our physical health and wellbeing. It is as important as any vitamin or nutrient and is good medicine. I think it should be added to all healthcare providers pad of prescriptions. Honestly, when feeling harried becomes the new norm, we forget how calm feels and sometimes we can even forget that we matter. We may disconnect from what brings us joy in life and more importantly we may forget what joy feels like.
Self-Care = Presence
I love to ask women, “what bring you joy?” and see their faces light up. For me, it is spending time in nature where I can hear birds, feel the wind, see plants, and experience expansive views. I do this as often as I can. But sometimes, self-care can simply mean saying no. We too often end up at yes, but no can help us set healthy boundaries. Preparing a healthy seasonal meal, mindfully drinking a cup of lovely tea, or taking a short walk can translate into self-care when there isn’t an excess of time. Even reading a poem, taking a quick rest, arranging flowers, or just sitting and breathing deeply for a few minutes can be rejuvenating. Dream about how it would feel to stop just for a few moments and breathe or spend time sharing a moment with a dear friend. It is up to you.
Self-Care = Nourishment
Anything that allows us to breathe and feel more present counts as self-care. When we take time to come home to ourselves, we allow for our creative, authentic nature to bloom and we are better able to care for and love ourselves and others. There is a major ripple effect here. This simple gift of time can support your immune system and encourage a sense of calm and balance. It can sow the seeds of wellness by countering the effects of chronic stress. Self-care truly therapeutic!
Self-Care = Healing
I invite you to ponder these questions that can help cultivate self-care awareness.
*What does self-care mean to you?
*What do you feel you need more of in your life?
*How do you love to move your body?
*What kinds of foods make you feel energized and vibrant?
*What kinds of fluids do you enjoy for hydration?
*What encourages restorative sleep for you?
*Which activities are calming or centering for you?
*What brings joy and flow to your life?
*What relationships nourish you?
*How can you make yourself a priority even for a few minutes a day?
*What is realistic for you?
Self-care activities will look different for each of us, but we can all slowly begin to incorporate easy practices into our routines. It need not be all or nothing. Set an intention, maybe even make a date with yourself, take a deep breath and experiment, have fun and nourish your mind, body and spirit.
*Banner picture by Sarah Cullen
Here is a simple mindfulness self-care activity that you can do when you make your morning tea or coffee. Everyone can do it, whether you feel your best or not. It will bring all of your beautiful senses into the picture, allowing you to slow down and connect to what you experience in the moment. You can also do this sort of experiment with other activities you love, so feel free to chose an activity that resonates with you.
Simple mindful tea or coffee meditation
*With intention, gather your favorite loose leaf tea, teabag, or coffee, and your favorite cup.
*Pour water into the pot or kettle and listen to the sound as it touches the bottom; then turn on the flame. How are you moving your body?
*Take a few moments to take a breath deeply with the exhale longer than the inhale while the water comes to a boil. What do you notice?
*Place the tea or coffee into the cup, mindfully noticing the color, texture, aroma. You can even imagine where the tea or coffee came from and feel gratitude for those who grew, harvested, and transported the crop. How do you feel?
*Mindfully pour in the hot water, noticing how the color of the water changes as it makes contact with the tea or coffee. What do you observe?
*Notice the steam, the aroma and the color before picking up the cup. What do you notice?
*Mindfully pick up and feel the shape of the cup, the temperature of the cup, the weight of the cup in your hands. How does it feel?
*Slowly, bring the cup towards your mouth.
*Gently, take the first sip and savor the moment; taste like it was the first time. What does that feel like?
*Gently, put your cup down and take a deep breath. How do you feel now? Is it different than before you began this activity?
Enjoy the rest of your day! XO