When we take a minute to think about what we would truly like to get out of self-care...we might desire it to spark healing + rejuvenation. The way we often partake, however, is more as a sort of quick fix. We look for hits of dopamine/pleasure that we can get from things like shopping + sugar. These indulgences act as a sort of inadequate bandaid used to patch over an unwell life...when what we are really searching for is a feeling of peace within our minds + souls.
As a matter of perspective:
--This whole understanding of self-care seems to be relatively new. Self-care has long been a term used in the mental health care field to determine a person's ability to care for him or her self + to perform the activities of daily living such as feeding oneself, bathing, getting dressed, brushing teeth + remaining continent.
--It's interesting to think about what self-care would have meant to the masses up until quite recently. Making sure that a family or tribe had shelter, enough to eat, firewood + appropriate clothing was a full-time endeavor. Surely this is + was considered self-care. This is the way many around the world would still view self-care today.
--Our own views of self-care will vary based on personal preferences + life circumstances.
I think that many of us (and quite possibly even those mentioned above) could agree to some degree that the goal of good self-care is to enable thriving. Self-care can take many forms, but if we neglect the roots of our stress, anxiety + barriers the effects will be fleeting.
Effective self-care comes down to truly knowing ourselves + taking an honest look at the lives we are living. If self-care is, at least in part, about being able to take care of ourselves...we can start by asking ourselves:
-Am I getting enough sleep?
-Am I feeling nourished through the foods I eat?
-Does showering, washing hair + brushing teeth feel like a chore?
-Is my/our laundry routine working for me/my family?
-How is my health? Mentally? Physically? Spiritually? Am I self-medicating in a negative way?
-Do I have some supportive people in my life? Do I feel isolated?
-Is my living situation clean, safe + nurturing?
-What parts of my life feel overwhelming?
Once we've been thoughtful + honest about our current reality, we can go back to each of these questions + think about what we would like the answer to be or look like. Be as specific as possible. Do you want to start each week with clean sheets + a stack of clean underwear? Do you want your littles to know what to wear each morning? Write it down. This can start to direct our self-care efforts.
Now...clean sheets on Sundays...that's self-care. Organizing your littles' closets so that all five pairs of their pants match all seven of their tees + their two hoodies (it's not just about matching...it's mainly about less)...that's self-care. Another frappe could never touch the thriving that these actions will bring!
We'll dive a little bit deeper into self-care here in the days to come.
My desire is for your health + thriving. As always, these are just my thoughts + not a substitute for professional mental health care. Please be kind to yourself + ask for help, if you think it might be helpful.
Also in this series :: time + wellness