Self care should be easy. It makes sense to take good care of yourself. And when are you NOT taking care of yourself at varying points in the day? You showered, got dressed, paid some bills, and generally handled your business (to a greater or lesser degree). But what does it mean to REALLY take care of yourself? To do the things that nurture you, feed you, make you feel alive? Things that make you remember why you are here on this earth in the first place? (I doubt paying your bills on time does that!)
Self-care involves giving space to that part of yourself that needs quiet attention, or needs to celebrate, or needs to rest or needs to boogie down. There’s a part of you that will eventually scream out at you when in crisis and everything feels like it is tumbling down at once. There is a part that says, “Hey! Remember me? I need more rest. I’m weary, tired. Do something. Now.” Or it says, “I’ve been working hard. I’m the only one who seems to notice. How about a reward?”
Unfortunately, we humans often become aware of our need for self-care when something goes wrong. We notice we are sad, we are pissed off, or something is missing. That inner voice gets a little louder and we are called to pay closer attention. And that’s a good thing, really it is. Anything that helps us pay conscious attention and gets us in closer touch with ourselves, though not always pleasant, is a very good thing.
Whether we are in crisis or not, getting to know and respond to this voice is one key to a more connected and fulfilling life– it is key to self care. There are many techniques you can use to get to know this voice. (And I promise to talk more in depth about some of those techniques.) For now, I am just asking that we listen. Of course meditations, visualizations, pilgrim walks, and prayers are meaningful and powerful tools on this journey of self care and awakening. And a simple, effective way to start right now is to ask yourself:
How am I feeling? What am I needing?
No analysis, judgment, or interpretation necessary. Just your gentle attention. Regarding yourself and your needs with curiosity and kindness. And openly, compassionately awaiting the reply.
NOTE: A commitment to self-care can be as simple as getting more rest and being sure to reward yourself. And if you’ve been at this for a while, you know it can be a bit more complicated than that. Click on the link to read more about being a Self-Care Warrior.