As we come to the close of our week of looking at self-care, what could arrive with better timing than Valentine’s Day? At this time of year when the celebration is all about love, it is important to remember to include ourselves. Do you think it’s selfish to love yourself? I believe that only when you love yourself can you truly love others.
Practicing self-care is a great way to show love to ourselves.
I hope this week has given you something to think about for your own life as we have talked about what self-care is. We used the following from RAINN.org to give us a basic working definition:
Self-care includes any intentional actions you take to
care for your physical, mental and emotional health.
Even though our working definition is simple and straightforward enough, many consider the notion of self-care to be self-centered and just plain selfish. What could possibly be selfish about taking care of your physical, mental and emotional health? Strength and balance in these areas are necessary for a life of well-being.
But why? We broke it down into three categories: RELAX, RETHINK, and RENEW.
Self-care allows us to enjoy some downtime – a period during which we let down our guard and allow our bodies to work without stress, strain, and opposition.
It allows us to look at how we are doing life – to think about the choices we make, the actions we take — in order to determine if these are in our best interest.
Possibly best of all, as we step back from our daily do’s, we gain a new perspective, a different way of looking at life, which, in the long run, may cause us to make healthier choices.
Why self-care? At the risk of sounding smart a*s, I say, WHY NOT? You are so worth it.
Cheryl Richardson talked via video about how to respond to requests made of you. She reminded us that it is more than OK to say “NO!” She even gave us some tips on how to do it gently but emphatically.
So what does self-care look like in practice? What are some rubber-meets-the-road ways of implementing self-care in your life? Try these on for size:
- What do you need more of in your life? Maybe on this Valentine’s weekend, it’s love. Maybe you need some time for yourself. What about fun? Fun is so important but often neglected. Often we set our needs aside as we rush to fulfill the needs of others. Self-neglect can have consequences over time. It’s important to consider what you need and do your best to bring that into your life.Are you depriving yourself of something you need?
- At the beginning of this article, I mentioned loving yourself. So do you? Love yourself? Louise Hay, the reigning queen of love yourself to heal yourself, suggests standing in front of a mirror, and saying to yourself, “I love you. I really, really love you.” This is no easy task. Sometimes it may be difficult even to look ourselves in the eye, much less to say to ourselves, “I love you”. Here is an article that talks more about this. Can you do this exercise?
- “I don’t care what they think!” Have you ever said those words? Did you mean them? Gosh, it’s so easy to say that in a moment of frustration or anger, but deep down inside, we may care more than we want to admit. Living your life based on what someone else may: a) think, or b) say, is very taxing, to say the least. Most of all, it is not authentic. Days lived in inauthenticity (now there’s a word) tear you down from the inside out. This can quickly dismantle your self-esteem. How would you go about letting go of being driven by the fine opinion of those around you?
- Do you live your life by the seat of your pants, or do you follow a routine? This may seem like a strange component of self-care, but think about it. As you go through your day, hitting here and missing there, it requires much more thought than if you set about following a plan. You may want to start simply with a morning routine. Get up, sit for a few minutes and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, eat breakfast, shower and dress, go to work. Cheryl Richardson reminds us, “There’s something healing about repetition.” What sort of routine can you put in place in your life?
- Are you a super-person, able to finish all tasks in a single bound all by your lonesome? You never need any help because frankly, you’ve got this. S.T.O.P. I want to let you in on a tiny little secret. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. Wait for it: even YOU. It’s great to be self-sufficient and willing to do whatever it takes, but gee, it makes for a rough road in life. I’m not saying turn into a whiny heap of helplessness. Not at all. But when something comes along that’s even a little too much for you, ask for help. It’s good for you, and it’s good for the help-er. What could you use a little help with?
- How are you spending your time? I have experienced times in my life when it seemed that every waking moment was spent in doing what everyone but me wanted to do. Children, parents, spouse all had needs that cried out so much louder than my own. Really? That’s how I heard it. In truth, I was neglecting myself because I did not believe myself worthy to guard my time and my well-being by saying “no” once in awhile. Of course, with children much is required, and this in no way advocates turning down every single inquiry that comes your way. But as we saw in yesterday’s video, consider the requests made of you and consciously decide whether you want to or can readily agree to do it. Can you allow yourself the luxury of saying “no”?
- Virginia Woolf told us in A Room of One’s Own, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” I contend that EVERY one must have a space of their own, if she or he is to craft a meaningful life. Most of us enjoy being around other people, to have conversations and laughs, to share good times and bad, to sit quietly in support of one another, BUT it is just as important to have time to oneself. As an introvert, I can barely survive without downtime away from the crowds — even a crowd of one. Even the most enthusiastic extrovert needs some time alone. This is one more way we can relax, rethink, and renew ourselves. Do you ever spend time alone with just YOU?
Self-care is integral to our well-being. Doing a good job of caring for the self helps us do a better job of caring for others. It matters to our health – physical, mental, and emotional. The act of honoring self can improve our self-esteem and self-worth. It just makes good sense.
Now is the time for all good women and men (or those who may consider themselves not too good) to begin to find intentional ways to care for self. As I have said before, and please, please, PLEASE do not forget this one:
YOU ARE WORTH IT!
In closing, I will ask you one more time.
What is one thing you can do to begin the practice of self-care in your life?
Cheering you on!
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If you have enjoyed learning more about self-care, I hope you’ll share these posts with anyone who might find them beneficial. Even though it’s possible that I have never met you, I am rooting for you to step up and take care of wonderful, precious you. If you accept my challenge, let me know how it’s going. Message me on Facebook. www.FB.com/stephmarks
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If you are interested in learning more about self-care, I highly recommend Cheryl Richardson’s book, The Art of Extreme Self-Care, which I used as a reference for this post. She will take you through a year-long program through which you will be able to fully practice the concepts mentioned above and more. Click the book title to purchase.
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I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small commission for books purchased. If you prefer to purchase directly from Amazon, please use this link:
The Art of Extreme Self-Care