What Is 'Self-Care', Really?

In the world of 'self-care', sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that it's something we 'should' do, or that 'we'll get to that later'. After we tick off our to-do lists, run our errands, and take care of everyone else but ourselves. Self-care can be mistaken for indulgent and selfish, but is it? The truth:

To show up fully in the world, you need to fill up your own cup first. It's only what overflows that can be generously given to others. It's not a game of filling and emptying, it's a continuous journey of genuine fulfillment.

 

WHAT IS SELF-CARE, REALLY?

Self-care is so much more than making sure I eat well, exercise, and get enough Z's at night. It means taking care of our emotional, physical, and spiritual needs, moment to moment. It embodies the utmost respect for myself, my worth, and my desires (for starters). It's the ultimate form of radical self-love. It's not selfish, it's necessary.

When we're plugged into our self-worth, there is no pushing, striving, struggling, or white-knuckling. Our drive to be in alignment with our truest desires and needs happens automatically. Life ebbs and flows, and we flow with it. We act in honour of our mind, body, and spirit rather than in resistance to it. We tap into our intuition, listen, and take action.

We become connected to ourselves.

 

WHAT DOES SELF-CARE LOOK LIKE, TO ME?

For my routine: Early to bed, early to rise. Stepping away from the computer when I need a break. Calling it a day even though I'm tempted to just keep going. Giving myself permission to slow down when I need it. Leaving space in my schedule to avoid overwhelm. Setting an intention each day.

For my body: Asking myself, "What do I need most?" More sleep? Relaxation? A high-energy dance-off? Hydration + nourishing foods. Drinking plenty o' water, getting enough greens, filling up on fruits + veggies, taking supplements. Moving my body. Yoga. Stretching. Rock climbing. Being active might mean half an hour to start my day, an hour in the evenings, squeezing in a quick 10 minutes where I can, or just doing squats while I brush my teeth!

For my mind: Practicing awareness. Creating space around my thoughts. Forgiving myself. Staying away from negativity. Filling my brain with empowering + inspiring resources. Losing myself in a good book. Jumping on my mini-trampoline. Hopping into a hand stand. Cranking up the music for middle-of-the-day dance parties. Surrounding myself with people who bring out the best in each other. Expressing myself creatively.

For my soul: Laughing every day. Finding joy in the small stuff. Disconnecting. Getting outside. Presence - and resisting the urge to scroll through my phone. Connecting more deeply in my spiritual practices. Meditation - guided or silently, especially when I'm feeling 'in my head' and resistant. Keeping promises to myself. Journalling. Letting go. Acting intuitively. When I take a few moments to pause, close my eyes, and ask myself, "What do I need right now?" Usually I'll get a direct, clear answer and I know I have to take action, otherwise I'm dishonouring myself and that's not the kind of energy I want to send out.

I'm not perfect, and I don't always 'get it right'. I still get overwhelmed, I still sweat the small stuff, and I still battle with my inner-critic. But that's okay - because it's about actively seeking forgiveness, releasing guilt, and knowing that I deserve to have my needs met. 

We all do.


TELL ME: What does 'self-care' mean to you? What practices do you bring into your days? 

Over the next few weeks, I'll be diving more into the specifics of what works for me, different products/ practices/ tips + tricks that I lovingly use... would you guys like something like that? Is there anything specifically you'd like to see? Head on over to the comments and leave me a quick note! I'd love to hear from you.

Image via Julian Bialowas

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