Self care is any activity that we do intentionally in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Although it’s a simple concept, it’s something we often overlook. Good self-care is essential to a better mood and reduced stress. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.
By nature, women are natural care givers. We are so quick to take care of everyone else around us and often end up neglecting our own nourishment, rest and joy. I believe true self care is a reflection of the love and honor we have towards ourselves. Before we can initiate proper self care we need to have an understanding of what our bodies and our hearts are asking for. It’s crucial that we fully believe we are worth being cared for. If we struggle to value ourselves then it’s likely that we won’t prioritize self care. Self care isn’t selfish or weak. It is a significant component to personal wholeness. I’ve found that when I’m truly taking care of my whole self I’m more at peace and less susceptible to feeling burnt out.
Growing up, I wasted the majority of my teen age years in deep inner turmoil about the way my body looked. I didn’t value or love myself. I spent my energy divided between punishing my body with endless miles on the treadmill and starving myself. I had no connection to myself or to my own heart whatsoever. I trained my mind to ignore what my body was asking for and all it got me was smack dab in a mental institution. Yes, for real. I spent the next months in various recovery centers for anorexia. Each doctor that I saw would give me the same pep talk about the damage I was doing to my body by purposefully starving it. I started to listen to their warnings and knew that I needed to make some changes so I started to take baby steps onto my healing.
My healing journey started by simply paying attention to what my body was telling me. I had to learn how to trust myself. Instead of treating my body like the enemy, I started to treat my body like a friend. I began to journal, spent time reading the Bible and started researching all things nutrition. Over time I felt a connection to myself. I was comfortable in my own skin. I understood what I needed to feed my body in order for it to thrive. I was aware of what my heart and spirit needed in order to feel recharged. Little by little, I felt very happy and whole. Our bodies are so smart, listen to what yours is trying to tell you.
So many of us go about our lives completely checked out from our own self. We give ourselves to so many other people and to so many commitments. We remain disconnected from our own bodies and hearts. We often agree to things out of guilt or fear rather than a genuine commitment. We run on empty for far too long and before we know it, we feel wiped out, sick and frustrated. Let’s strive to be women who take care of others from an overflow of what we have in our hearts. I know I have so much more to offer the people around me when I’m taking care of my whole self first.
Self care should look different for all of us because we all have different strengths, capacity and personalities. For some, self care might look like a long, hot bath at the end of the day. Maybe self care means getting together with your best girls or curling up with your favorite book. Some times self care can simply be saying no to things that we don’t actually have the capacity for or reinforcing healthier boundaries in certain relationships. There’s no wrong way to practice self care. All that matters is that you’re intentionally creating space to honor your personal rhythms that help to keep you afloat. Women play so many roles day in and day out. We carry so much! Let’s be sure that we are checking in with our hearts every day and listening closely to what our body is trying to communicate. We all know that we can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.