What is Self Care?

Everybody’s talking about self care these days it seems. Ok so maybe my sample is skewed since I’m living in the health and fitness community as a yoga teacher and bodyworker. Helping people with their self care is literally my job. So you would think that I would be a pro at practicing self care on myself…right?

Sometimes I is, sometimes I ain’t.

To me, self care means intentionally and purposefully nurturing yourself. I have come to realize as a thirty-one year old mother, wife, and friend, that every person you count on will let you down at some point in time. There is no ‘perfect best friend’ out there. You have to be your own best friend.

Jeez, you may be thinking, that sounds really pessimistic. Why do you hate the world, Jen? Well I don’t hate the world. I just remember the times I haven’t felt heard or the times I have felt run down but no one noticed.

Adulting means handling your shit – paying bills on time, cleaning every so often, etc. But how can you handle your shit if you feel like shit? It’s rough. It can be done but then maybe you’ll start to develop unhealthy relationships, maybe you’ll begin harboring resentment toward those things/people in your life that require an energy input from you. Maybe you’ll become a *gasp* Bitter and Cynical Woman.

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Ain’t nobody got time for that. Especially us gals. We have career ladders to climb, kids to feed, partners to connect with, and communities that need us. We give a lot. The question is…who’s giving to us?

We’ve all heard the oxygen mask analogy (tip: put yours on first). I prefer the one about the cup. If your cup is full, you can pour out some for others. The challenge is to keep that cup full, maybe even to overflowing.

How do we do that?

Self care doesn’t have to be grand, expensive, or time consuming. Self care can be simple and sometimes as simple as changing your perspective of mundane activities like washing your face or preparing a meal for yourself.

Here’s a list of some simple, typically free, activities to help you nourish yourself:

• Sit outside. Notice the warmth of the sun on your skin; listen to the birds; smell some flowers.
• Meditate, even just for 5 minutes.
• Take a nap.
• Prepare a colorful, beautiful meal for yourself; pay attention to the tastes and textures while you eat it.
• Take a bath.
• Go for a walk.
• Have a dance party while listening to a song you enjoy.
• Take your time washing your face. Pretend you’re getting a facial and lovingly massage the cleanser and moisturizer into your skin.
• Write in your journal.

Nearly anything can be self care. Does the activity make you feel revitalized, nourished, and sustained? Then it counts!

One way to get started in the self care game is to make a list of those activities that fill up your cup. Aim to do at least one or two a day. Then you can slowly build toward more intentional daily rituals that become healthy habits.

What are some activities you enjoy for self care?