WTF IS SELF-CARE ANYWAY?
I know, I know, another blog on #selfcare, just what we all need. Here's the deal though guys, this IS what we all need. The world needs you, putting yourself first, wising up to your body's needs and making choices that serve to bring you only the highest of vibes and the greatest joy.
For me, leading a life filled with self-care is choosing to value, love and respect myself and my health so much that I intend to put myself first in every single situation. The caveat to that idea is the word "intend", I intend to put myself first in every single situation, it doesn't always happen.
Over the past year, as my brother fought acute illness and then was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, I often put my parents' needs ahead of mine and now, in the weeks after David's death, I catch myself doing so even more. I write this blog from my parents' guest room at their home, 60 minutes from mine, where I ate dinner with them, laughed with them, watched a network sitcom with them and said goodnight to them at 9:15pm. A truly enjoyable evening and yet, I am annoyed and resentful, I am missing a weekend at a house on the water with my friends because I put my parents' needs in front of my own. And they didn't ask me to.
Does that resonate with you? Take a deep breath, in and out, think about how many times you put someone else first last week. Close your eyes and think about how you felt towards the other person when you did it. Resentful? Angry? Annoyed? No fibbing, remember, I just told you that I resent my parents because I suggested that I spend the night at their place on Good Friday and have brunch at a local brewery on Saturday and now I can't get away for the weekend with my friends. WTF? They literally suggested NONE OF IT and I am annoyed at them? It's gonna be a no from me, dawg.
If I had taken a moment, when planning for Easter Weekend with my mom, to consider how I wanted to feel on Sunday and what I might really enjoy doing over the long weekend, I may have chosen a different plan. Allowed myself some space to enjoy a weekend of comfort, rest and support with friends whom I love very much and I guarantee I would have had their blessing.
One of the key parts of choosing self-care is understanding what self-care means to you, why it's important to you and when you need it the most. For a lot of us self-care means going to the spa, getting our nails done, getting a haircut or a shave, etc. and there is great value in taking a time out to get pampered. It allows us to check out of our lives and allow someone else to take care of us for a bit. It feels good, we leave feeling refreshed and revived but then what? The goal is a base level of rest and joy not a fleeting moment of rest and joy every 7 days.
So this is where we can allow the practice of self-care to take us deeper, this is where the practice of self-care becomes the work of self-development, this is where we must lean in because we do our best work, we bring our best selves to the world, when we are identifying our deepest needs and values, and choosing those, as often as we can. When we practice deep self-care we are able to support, serve and be present with the people who we love. We let go of one (very common) source of resentment.
Identifying our self-care needs takes time and some introspection. If you're unsure where to start, try this: every morning when you wake up, set an intention for how you want to feel that day. Instead of reaching for your phone, reach for a pen and paper and write that intention down, I like this tool for doing just that. For sure you're not gonna pick any of the following: resentful, angry, like an asshole, pissed off, sad, no will to live. Right? You're gonna go right past happy, straight to joyful, leave busy behind and hit up productive, nothing but light-hearted and fulfilled ahead for you, I can see it now. And when it comes time to make a choice about how you are going to spend your time that day, intend to choose joy, productive, light-hearted and fulfilled over angry, sad and resentful. Every. Single. Time.
Putting ourselves and our needs first allows us to behave like better humans and we need as many of those in the world as possible right now.
One had up for self-care, y'all.