Self Care has become a buzz word, we hear everywhere it seems of late, but what exactly is self-care and why do we want to practice self-care? Before getting into the why, let’s look at the what. Trying to find a good definition of self-care is actually pretty challenging. The one I’ve found that I like is:
“Self-care is a very active and powerful choice to engage in the activities that are required to gain or maintain an optimal level of overall health. And in this case, overall health includes not just the physical, but the psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual components of an individual’s well-being.” – Mary McCoy
Why would making regular self-care a priority be a wise idea? Well, the simple answer would be if you give more than you receive for an extended period of time then you are likely to burn out or become sick. if you continue to burn out and get sick again and again, then it can manifest into disease, chronic health conditions or a health crisis.
I often hear the “I don’t have time” excuse when it comes to self-care. I’m sorry to say that that’s just an excuse. You may not have a lot of time and you may have to get creative, but there are windows of time that can be harvested and rededicated to self-care if we are really honest with ourselves.
I know from experience that if you ignore this burnout and illness for too long, the universe will eventually knock you on your ass so that you have no choice but to stop and listen. I call those “frying pan to the head moments”.
Once I started teaching Yoga full time, it became painfully clear to me that mastering the art of self-care was going to be crucial for me to be able to shine my light bright, so I can help and heal others.
“When we practice Yoga and Meditation, we are happier, healthier, more patient and present. That, in turn, affects our loved ones and communities, so that others benefit from our practice as well.” -nyk danu
So, really, practicing self-care is the least “selfish” thing we can do if we want to be able to support others. If you’ve ever flown on a plane, you’ve likely heard “when traveling with a small child, put your own oxygen mask on first.” This is because you can’t help anyone else until you help yourself.
How much self-care time is needed depends on the individual. Because I am an Introvert (doing an extrovert’s job) an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and an Empath, I generally need more self-care than most people. So, I often say I am practicing the Art Of Extreme Self Care.
In the video below, I describe a bit more about the why behind self-care.
So, when I say I am learning to master the art of extreme self-care, I mean that I am making a conscious choice to listen to my needs and to schedule in regular self-care into my routine. My self-care routine consists of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly commitments. Below, I will describe my own current self-care routine (which is constantly evolving, just like me). Of course, yours may be completely different than mine.
My Current Self Care Practice
- Daily green juice to start the day (in addition to healthy nourishing meals throughout the day)
- Daily bath with a big mug of green tea
- Yoga and Meditation 6-7 days a week
- Saying NO to any and all group events (over 6 people) that I am invited to, including parties for birthdays, showers, weddings etc.
- Steering clear of negative people, or energy vampires whenever possible (I love them from afar)
- A day long, self lead silent Yoga & Meditation retreat: where I unplug and do nothing but sleep, read inspiring books & practice Yoga & Meditation all day (if this sounds dreamy to you, make sure you’re on my email list; I have plans for you brewing on this)
- Monthly Acupuncture (I would do this weekly if I had the budget for it)
- Massage every 6-8 weeks (looking at increasing that to once a month)
- Regular time with my spiritual teacher and Sangha
- A yearly Meditation retreat or Teacher Training program
So, in a nutshell, that’s my self-care routine as it sits now, but it is always in a process of changing and adapting as my needs do. If you want to learn even more about self-care, this article great.
In the comments below, let me know how you practice self-care. If you don’t have a self-care practice, what acts of self-care could you add into your life?