How often do you see people treating themselves to a massage or a pedicure all in the name of #selfcare.. Of course, self-care can mean different things to different people, but somehow over time, it has become a simple beauty treatment, rather than something that can refuel and revitalize you.
I used to describe my non-yogic work as being a “self-love and care coach,” but now I can barely stand how the term has evolved. Self-care is not about expecting yoga sessions, massages or goji berries to correct the injustices of our economic system, sexism, racism, all of the other -isms. And it’s certainly not about pedicures. It shouldn’t be a momentary escape from your life so that you can get back to making a soul-sucking situation slightly more tolerable. It also shouldn’t be seen as selfish or self-indulgent or even optional; it’s essential, to you and your wellbeing, if you’re going to get anything done in this world in a sustainable way.
One thing we can all agree on is that we all have busy lives
– rushing from home to school drop-offs to work, meetings, study, dinners and so on.. And so when we finally find a moment in our week that is free to do as we please, it is essential to be more mindful about how we choose to spend this time.
We’ve believed the myth of self-care for too long. True self-care is embodying self-respect. This means you have to get to know yourself to speak your truth and begin living your values. It’s taking care of yourself in the same way that you’d want someone you love to care for themselves. Now this will require some extra time to thoughtfully decide on which kinds of practices will lead to resilience, strength and joy in your life.
At the end of a long week at work,
you might be looking forward to the weekend, when you finally have a day off to watch a movie, go to the hair salon or indulge in a fancy dinner. However, embodying self-respect might mean choosing not to fall into these #selfcare patterns and instead spend more time in nature, meditating, going to a yoga class, hanging out with your bestie, your kids or your partner, or even just alone.
We are all different and self-care is different to everyone, so first of all we should get to know ourselves to discover how we should be spending our time and what is essential to take care of ourselves. For some of you, this might mean focusing on body-care – adjusting your diet, ditching the sugar and eating more plant-based foods. It might mean creating a rock-solid morning routine that gets you confident and ready each day to do your best work. For others, it might mean focusing on your mental-care – quitting an old belief or pattern that doesn’t fit your lifestyle anymore. It could be as simple as resting when you’re tired or changing your mindset that rest is not something you have to earn.
For me, I discovered that self-care is about striving less and appreciating more. Honouring my ‘being’ as much as my ‘doing’. And while I’ve found this hard (because so much of my identity is wrapped up in accomplishing things), I’ve felt an undeniable rightness about it that reverberates within me. And the best part of all is that the benefits of my self-care go beyond me. I’m more present for my husband, my daughter, my dogs, and of course my clients and community – a sentiment I hear back all the time. We have more to give when we’re living from a place of deep alignment.
So what’s one step you could take right now in the direction of embodying self-respect, for real?
Creating Space is a program that works as an incubator for personal growth, starting with some core habits that yogis, sages and contemporary researchers agree are key for health, happiness and resilience. If you don’t know what truly mean self-care for yourself, then our community can help you to discover this.
The next round starts in February, so now’s the time to get on it.
Go on, treat yourself!