What do we mean when we talk about “self-care”? There are many ways to nurture oneself, but self-care focuses on a few different areas – our physical self, our work self, our emotional self, our spiritual self, our mental self, and more. In essence, our whole selves. Though we may think of the concept as a simple one, we often overlook ourselves to focus on others, on getting ahead, or on avoiding the hard and important questions.
The truth is, it can be difficult to practice self-care. We are all busy. We have children or families or stressful jobs or all of these. Choosing to focus on ourselves can seem selfish and challenging at first but becomes essential once we make it a regular practice.
No two people are alike, so it makes sense that self-care plans are not a one-size-fits-all set of solutions. Each of us needs to look inward and assess where we require more attention and dedication– and those areas can change as aspects of our lives change and on a daily basis. This is why it is important to listen to our minds and bodies as time passes.
This month, we are working to think about some of the following:
- Our body. We often ignore aches and pains, and discount our physical shape, how tired we are, or what we eat. You would take a family member to see a doctor if they were in pain. Why not do the same for yourself? Start an exercise or relaxation plan that you can adhere to. Whether that means yoga or strength training, it is okay to start slowly and integrate it into your routine. Try meal planning to make sure you are putting healthy things into your body.
- Our work routines. Do you take work stress or tasks home with you? Are you “on the clock” all of the time? When possible, reschedule your day so that you feel safe leaving work at work. And don’t forget that sometimes, it is okay to say no.
- Our mental and emotional health. Read books or talk to a professional if you need help coping with your anxiety, depression, or anger. Practice expressing yourself, rather than minimizing your feelings and emotions. Talk to your friends and take time to do things you want to do.
These ideas are just the beginning of a true self-care practice. As we become better at tending to our minds and bodies, we will notice other areas of our lives that need attention. When we are quiet, our bodies and minds will tell us what we need. Modern stressors and technologies distract from the practice of stillness and listening. It is okay to take the self-care process slowly; the most important thing is that we start to do it.
Our Alabama Chanin team has created a playlist to help us look inward and start to care more for ourselves. Visit our new Retreat page for things to help relax and feel more at home in the world. Loving and caring for ourselves is not selfish. It helps us nurture and support others. Let’s begin today.