“Self care is how you take your power back”. ~Lelah Delia
I used to frame self-care as indulgent, selfish, and out of my financial reach. I believed that taking care of myself meant to have the money to buy the nicest goods, treat myself to expensive meals, get endless massages and spa treatments, and take luxurious vacations. My capacity for self-care was limited through that lens and, therefore, I felt drained and defeated most days. I felt as though I could never feel full, complete, held. My ability to tap into my own inner resources, acknowledge myself and my true needs, and listen to my souls cries for care was non-existent. My focus on the false importance of gaining and obtaining to meet my outer needs clouded my inner awareness and knowing that all I needed was within. Tending to my Self in a soulful way was right there at the end of my fingertips yet it took a (scary) commitment to slow down and tune in. To begin to find gratitude for all that I do have accessible to me, and to really listen to my souls cravings and needs rather than the impulsiveness of my minds.
As a woman with the imprint of decades of recovery in the realm of eating disorders and other addictive patterns, I have associated self-care with working out until I drop and eating “perfectly” so as to attain a shape that is unattainable. I was stuck in the compulsive cycle of consumption in the hopes that the next item, event, food, drink, man, friend, would fill that inner void and meet my body, heart, and souls cries for care. It has taken years to re-pattern that way of thinking and to embody sustainable and nourishing ways of taking care of myself, and my body. My daily meditation practice has gifted me with much, one of those being the presence and capacity to pause, listen, and respond from a place of self-honor, genuine self-care, and soulful nourishment.
Self-care does not necessarily mean spending a lot of money and obtaining things. It doesn’t always mean exercising or moving ones body. It doesn’t necessarily mean eating a particular food or eating in a “perfect” way (whatever that really is!!). Self-care is not associated with productivity.
It is the experience of feeling a depth of peace in your soul – a space within that you can truly rest into – a feeling of being held unconditionally with love.
That fullness that so many seek from the outside world through obtaining and consuming, can be tapped into by true self-care.
Below are several qualities and action of embodied and soulful self-care, of course there are many which each of us, as individuals, are all guided in unique ways to feel this sense of soulful connection to our bodies and hearts. It is a process of experimenting, tuning in, and unfolding. There is no magic formula yet, to me, it is the attainment of an inner state of being that feels held, seen, supported, loved, and honored.
Quiet – unplug from your devices and leave the music and/or TV off. Carve out time to simply listen, to allow the space for your inner world to quiet and open to the wisdom that lies within.
Stillness – life for most of us is busy. We are pulled in many directions. The invitation here is to choose to cultivate time in stillness. It could be making tea and sitting on your porch, doing some restorative yoga, taking a bath…any opportunity to still the body, rest, and invite in the emergence of a deeper well of wholeness to emerge.
Flow – Carve out unscheduled time in your life: an hour, a couple hours, a day, a weekend, to tune into your own rhythms and needs. As working parents I do understand the impossibility of this, yet I find that even if I can give myself a half hour to an hour in midst of it all to do what I need to do to honor my soul, it shifts the energy for the rest of my responsibilities.
Retreat– for an hour, a few hours, a weekend, a week – whatever you can manage in your life will have significant impact
Prepare and eat whole and organic foods – add in a trip to the local farmers market – meet the farmers who are growing your food and increase your bodies ability to nourish and assimilate all of the goodness.
Sleep! Nap! Make sleeping a minimum of 8 hours a night a priority. Nap when you are able. It is the deepest form of self-care and rejuvenation we can gift ourselves with.