The thing about self-care: it doesn’t have to be about spending exuberant amounts of money. It can simply mean doing our best to stay aware of the actions and choices we make daily to take care of ourselves and our sense of well-being.
Maybe you can relate to this; I know when I’m exercising, meditating regularly, eating well, and getting enough sleep I’m able to show up for my life, my family and the Universe in a way that feels good. I’m more relaxed, more organized, and I can (mostly!) handle whatever comes my way with a sense of grace. *Progress, not perfection*
I incurred no extra costs to engage in activities that have a positive impact on me and the world around me. Which busts the myth that self-care requires money for things like going to a spa or getting a manicure! (Although if you do those things as part of your routine, that’s great!)
The self-care I’m talking about is the everyday things that we have at our fingertips that we sometimes fail to recognize. Such as:
Connecting with others who encourage and support us
Doing things we enjoy like reading a book or taking a bubble bath
Limiting caffeine and sugar
Digital detox, putting our phone away early in the evening
Exercise and hydrating our bodies
Setting boundaries and saying no when we’re tired or overwhelmed
Taking note of the things we may already be doing in terms of self-care gives us the opportunity to tweak the things that lead us to feel a greater sense of joy. Alternatively, it can help us determine what we need to eliminate!
I often hear women talk about self-care as a luxury for which they don’t have time. They come up with all sorts of justifications. Maybe you’re familiar with: I don’t have time to talk to anyone, I’m too busy. Can’t walk away from the computer right now; work is crazy. I’ve got too much to do, no time for (fill in the blank) there’s the kids, the housework, the laundry . . .
Consequently, when we put the needs of everything and everyone above our own, our self-esteem suffers. Resentment, anxiety, and stress can be our teachers if we’re paying attention. They are the cues that indicate that perhaps a little self-care is in order!
Similarly, we think self-care means we’re being indulgent and selfish. I know this can be a big deal for women who are new to recovery – especially for those whose families have suffered as a result of their addiction. But the bottom line is, that’s not who we are today. Think about it this way, if you’re exhausted or feel poorly about yourself what does that mean for the people you’re closest to and how does that affect them?
Above all, if we’re fully committed to showing up for life, we have to start taking good care of ourselves to minimize the chances of falling prey to the things that brought us into recovery in the first place. Consider the aeroplane analogy and putting on your oxygen mask first! It’s not selfish to want to be at our best mentally, physically and spiritually so that we can be fully present for ourselves, our lives and the people we care about.
EVERY SINGLE CHOICE WE MAKE MATTERS
When we’re staying aware and mindful of our choices, our internal radar becomes way more proficient when it comes to recognizing the habits and patterns that keep us from looking after ourselves. We intuitively become better equipped to notice and become aware of the stories we tell ourselves that keep us stuck in a pattern of negativity.
For instance, practising self-care with our finances may mean we’re paying attention and being mindful of what we’re spending our money on. We might even ask ourselves, Am I just spending for the sake of spending? Am I spending to change the way I feel? What is the feeling I’m looking for and can I find it in a way that won’t leave me swimming in guilt or shame?
Maybe we’re stressed and relatively new in recovery, but instead of reaching for a glass of wine we ask ourselves, Am I bored? Am I anxious or angry? What’s a solution that won’t make me feel bad about myself? What is it that I really want or need at this moment that I can identify in order to take care of myself?
As you can see, self-care can also mean cultivating a thought process and mindset that helps to alleviate anxiety while bolstering our mental and physical health.
ONE GOOD HABIT BEGETS ANOTHER
When I quit smoking, I had more energy, so I started exercising. That prompted me to start drinking more water. As I began to feel better about myself, I started to pay more attention to what I was eating. I was getting to bed earlier; I was getting more stuff done in a day, and I had more time to focus on the things that were important to me.
There was a natural progression, a snowball effect, and it all started with one decision in order to start taking better care of myself.
DEFINE SELF-CARE FOR YOURSELF
Decide for yourself what your self-care routine looks like and commit to sticking with it. Maybe you establish two or three non-negotiables for a day, for a week or for a month and just do it!
Likewise, self-care can be as simple as staying conscious and aware of the thoughts, and people or places that screw with our peace of mind.
As a result of becoming more familiar with practising the things that truly support the person we know we are meant to be, we’ll inevitably show up for life and the people we love with more grace and ease than we’ve ever experienced.
Tell me in the comments below some of the things you do as part of your self-care practice!