A New Perspective on Self Care

Self Care…..

These two words are buzzing around a lot these days.  And at the same time, do we all truly know what this means?  Does it have the same meaning for everyone?

For many years I envisioned self care as buying the things I needed right then and there, feeling privileged to always fulfill my wants, and doing anything and everything to protect or satisfy my emotions.  I work hard so I deserve it, right?  Isn’t that how it works?  I should have nice clothes, and be able to buy clothes when I am sick and tired of what’s in my closet.  I should be able to drive a car just like my friend Sara.  If someone says something that I don’t like or don’t agree with, I should be able to say exactly what I am thinking right then and there so that they know I am right and they are wrong.  If I have a stressful day at work, I should be able to eat something that will comfort me and allow me to forget about the overwhelming deadlines or tasks that are hanging over my head…at least for a little while. Or at one point, making sure I ate 100 less calories than yesterday so that I could feel skinny and ‘beautiful’…isn’t that self care?

Little did I know, my actions were doing just the opposite.  Instead of providing myself self care, I was self sabotaging.  I was operating in a world where I was trying to be perfect in every way, setting high expectations for myself, seeing myself through other people’s eyes, trying to ‘keep up with the Jones’,’ and letting my emotions drive my reactions. 

Now let’s put emotions aside and truly talk Self Care.  I’m going to flood you with a few quotes on self care to shift your mindset…

“Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation.” –Audrey Lorde

“Rest and self-care are so important.  When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow.  You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” –Eleanor Brown

“Self care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” –Parker Palmer

And finally…

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are WORTH THE EFFORT.” –Deborah Day

What does this all mean?  Today I can tell you that in my mind self care means respecting my body in a way that allows me to serve my purpose in life.  It means that I must embrace the small things.. drink water throughout the day, nourish my body with the whole, fresh, nutrient rich foods that it is truly craving, see the positive in every situation (even when I have to work a little harder to search for it), slow down, truly be in the present moment, continuously asking myself “who are you living for?”, prioritize my tasks, detach my emotions from other people’s opinions…and the list goes on.  Once I invested the time in establishing my values, priorities, and mission in life, everything else started to fade away.  The way that I react to situations, the activities I choose to do, the daily routine that I plan for myself, and the people that I surround myself with are in alignment with my values, priorities, and mission in life.  That to me is self care.  When I nourish my body with nutrient rich foods, I can operate at an optimal level.  When I take the time to do yoga and meditate, I am able to come to the present moment and turn off all of the nonsense chatter in my mind.  When I take the time to schedule my daily routine, I am my best productive self.  When I focus on my values, my kids are able to enjoy a mom who is present and fun.  When I detach my emotions from other people’s opinions and reactions, I am able to stay grounded, unconsumed by something I cannot control, and make decisions based on my passions and desires. Self care allows me to find and stay true to my inner truth.

While this is a topic I could go on and on about, I will quickly get to the point on how to take action.  Here are twelve steps for self care …

1.       If it feels wrong, don’t do it

2.       Say “exactly” what you mean.

3.       Don’t be a people pleaser.

4.       Trust your instincts.

5.       Never speak bad about yourself.

6.       Never give up on your dreams.

7.       Don’t be afraid to say “No”.

8.       Don’t be afraid to say “Yes”.

9.       Be KIND to yourself.

10.   Let go of what you cannot control.

11.   Stay away from drama & negativity.

12.   LOVE

There's no doubt that it was a journey for me to get to this point.  If you are reading this and thinking, "I want to feel this way," PLEASE do not hesitate to reach out to me to schedule your complimentary session to find out how I can support you in your journey.

Lots of LOVE to you,
Ali

References

http://thedailyquotes.com/12-steps-for-self-care/