Self Care Doesn’t Have To Be A Luxury

What was the last nice thing you did for your Self?

What does taking care of your Self look like?

Self-care is different for everyone.  For some it’s getting up bright and early to go running.  For others it’s prioritizing bubble baths and time with good books. It might be getting a massage after a hard week at work.

My Self-care regiment has taken the front seat this year.  As a Yoga/Barre instructor and bodywork practitioner, I am hyper aware of my internal state and any small malady in my body.  I have become pro-active in managing stress and fatigue.

In the past, when I had less body awareness, I found myself with a chronically tight jaw and digestive issues.  After years of bodywork, and therapy, I came to realize that my physical ailments were symptoms of buried emotions and unexpressed thoughts.  I would clench my jaw when I was angry or frustrated.  Because I wasn’t actively processing my mental distress, my body wasn’t properly processing food.  The mind-body connection is powerful.

Taking care of my Self has become a way to ensure I can take care of others.  My work is very energy intensive.  I connect on deep levels with my clientele and exert a fair amount of physical energy throughout the day.  So I need to make sure that I fill my cup before I can pour it out.

Here’s a glimpse of how I take care of my Self:

  • Massage 
  • Chiropractic adjustments with Jamie Titus at Emanata Chiropractic.
  • Acupuncture with Gina Fabiano at Heal OM.
  • Floating at The Float Foundation.  I just tried this, and it’s awesome!  Great for muscle recovery/stiffness and mindfulness.
  • Meditation: my friend Greta Ertl shared this guided meditation that has been helpful for me.  It’s a wonderful way to start the day.
  • Taking time for creativity whether it’s writing or glassblowing.
  • Eating healthy/fresh food that makes me feel good.

This might seem like an outrageously luxurious program that could never fit into your life.  Though what you do might be totally different, don’t let these thoughts get in the way of Self-care:

  1. I don’t have enough time!
  2. I don’t have enough money!
  3. I don’t deserve all of that!

First of all, you are in control of your time.  No one is forcing your hand as you plan your daily calendar.  We probably all have little habits that are time-suckers.  If you watch TV or spend time browsing the Internet, take a day off.  If you are a serial over-scheduler, ask yourself why.  Use extra time for something a little more nourishing.  If you have children, you will certainly have less wiggle room in your schedule.  But there are always babysitters, or childcare swapping with close friends.  It just takes a little bit of creativity to carve out a chunk of time for your Self.  Maybe its once a day, maybe it’s once a month.  Whatever you decide you need, it is possible!

You don’t need to be super-wealthy to take care of your Self. Maybe all you need is a walk outdoors each day. I make a modest living doing what I love.  It helps that I’m not a shopper, I don’t go out to fancy restaurants every week, and I don’t spend $50+ going out dancing and drinking on the weekends (most weeks anyway…).  I value my physical and mental well-being, and spend my money and time to align with that value.

Many people go out for cocktails or buy a new outfit after a “hard day.”  There is often a comment about, “I needed this,” or “I deserve this.”   Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with a drink or a splurge, your life is left unchanged.  Perhaps you have a hang-over or buyers remorse, but the stressor hasn’t been addressed.  Alcohol and other “uppers” can be a great imposter and enticing replacement for actual Self-care.  If you can spend $50 on cocktails or a new top in a week, why not save for two weeks and opt for a healing session instead?

I sometimes find myself slipping into the mindset of feeling un-deserving.  I haven’t worked hard enough, or I haven’t suffered enough, or I haven’t [fill in the blank] to deserve a break.  There is a difference between good work ethic and not valuing your Self.  Having a martyr mentality doesn’t really serve anyone.  It leaves you exhausted and whomever you’re “helping” left with a less authentic version of you.

To me, taking care of the Self is doing whatever helps to nourish and uncover the true, authentic Self.  The Self that is undefined by income, wardrobe, status, or appearance.  The Self that is unchanging, vibrant and eternal.

If you find your true Self tired, unenthusiastic, or burnt out, it might be time to ask, “What can I do to take care of my Self today?”  Be open to the answer!

There is enough time.
There is enough money.
You are enough.

Self-care is putting action behind the intention of valuing your Self & others.