Self-Care has been top of mind for me recently, and as it seems to be, when topics get pushed to the forefront of my attention, it’s usually because I am being forced to face the issues myself. So, to lay all my cards on the table, I have not been taking care of myself. The other week I had about 7 different emotional breakdowns varying from understandable breakdowns, rationales I or my boyfriend could make sense of or at least comprehend where they were coming from, communication breakdowns, all the way to unreasonably dramatic, rollercoaster breakdowns. It was a fun ride, (said sarcastically in case you couldn’t tell) and probably more than anyone else, really fun for my boyfriend! Unable to see clearly through this haze, my boyfriend kindly suggested I go to bed earlier one night. It was the smallest change to make, so clear, so simple and yet I wasn’t even able to see that this was a possible solution that could start helping me feel better. Being that I was blindly leading myself further down instead of helping myself in anyway, it became clear to me that when the breakdowns become excessive or the clarity becomes obsolete, that I need to take that as a sign that I am in need of giving myself some tender love and care.
Self-Care – what this means to me is doing something that makes your soul sing, or at least makes you feel good, peaceful and loved. When you can feel peace in your body, you feel stability and balance in your life as opposed to balancing the imperfections. It can be the simplest action, just as long as you feel good while you’re doing it, and you notice you feel good afterwards because that’s the true sign of taking care of yourself.
Sometimes self-care is back to the basics- get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, follow your routine. Once you’ve started doing the basics for you again, you can start to think about what other self-caring methods are out there for you to tap into, to introduce to your life. Since my last breakdown last Thursday, I have been doing everything I can to balance my imperfections. Here are just 5 simple things I’ve been doing to take to better care of myself, and you can easily implement as well without massively disrupting your life. In other words, try some, or at least one, of these out and see if any work for you. If not, develop your own manageable yet soul-filling self-care methods.
1. Working out: Moving my body in some way always reminds me that I care about myself. I’ve taken a cycling class, gone to the gym and read a good book on the elliptical, gone for a walk around the block with a girlfriend, and taken a yoga class. I’m moving myself, breaking a sweat at least once a day. It really doesn’t matter what type of movement or work-out you do, and you certainly don’t have to force yourself to run if you simply don’t like running. Move your body in some way way, whether that’s your favorite kick-boxing class, a yoga class, or just a walk around the block, move your body in some way to push the body to feel healthy again
2. Meditating: Close your eyes, let your feet touch the floor, and quiet the mind. I know quieting the mind seems near impossible with the 60 thousand thoughts a day we have as humans, but start practicing just getting quiet, being quiet and recognizing what your thoughts are, where your mind is going. Meditating allows for the nervous system to slow, for the default mode to slow down and recognize the appropriate response to have as opposed to reactionary responses. Neurologically, it physically shrinks the amgydala, the part of your brain that holds stress.
3. Eating better: this doesn’t have to mean eat perfectly. This doesn’t have to mean you aren’t allowed to eat chocolate, or have that delicious plate of pasta. It just means be a little better. Make a smoothie in the morning, put a few cups of greens in because you know you aren’t eating enough greens. Be aware of what you’re putting in your mouth on a daily basis, snacks included, and eat what feels good to the body.
4. Journaling: Too many people believe that because they aren’t a writer, journaling isn’t necessary, or just isn’t something that they do. I say, so you’re not a writer, all the better! You can get your “SFD – Shitty First Drafts” as Brenee Brown calls them, out on paper, you word vomit all over a notebook that only you see and you give yourself relief from the words, relief from the stories allowing yourself to no longer be defined by them, or at least open yourself up to the process of no longer letting them control your life.
5. Have Fun! These last few weeks, I was so busy focusing on all the things I needed to get done, the boxes I needed to unpack, the things we had to buy to make this place a home, so focused on my own to-do list for the 3 different jobs I’m managing right now, that I forgot how fun it is to just have fun! I forgot how freeing it can be to let lose with people you love, giggle, vent, stay up too late laughing! I forgot that I have the power to create the balance between my having fun, and my productivity. So, I’m proud to say that all weekend long last weekend, I had fun, and did not unpack or touch a single thing in this new home!
So self-care Saturday is becoming a thing in my household! Basically this just means I am empowering myself, and those I love to take care of themselves and do one take, take one manageable action for yourself every single Saturday. Whether that’s a simple work out, a few minutes of alone time, some deep breaths in the fresh air, or something bigger like a hike, or a day trip, DO YOU. Only when we take care of ourselves do we open ourselves up to happier, healthier and more balanced lives. If you're intrigued by all this, I have a Self-Care Saturday workshop coming up in April where we'll be gathering strong, inspiring, loving women to support one another to give ourselves some self-care and attention! You can see more event details here.