The idea of self care has come up many times for me recently. It seems I do fairly well at it for awhile and then I fall off of the wagon. I have a busy day that turns into a busy week that turns into a crazy month. Before I know it, I’ve forgotten to take care of myself in all of the busyness that is my life. At some point my body begins to remind me that I’ve forgotten it. Sometimes that reminder is subtle. Maybe I gain a few pounds. Sometimes it’s not so subtle and I end up sick. When this happens, I find myself remembering that I have to practice self care.
In the busyness that fills my life, I often find that I put others ahead of myself. This works for awhile, but over the long term it isn’t really sustainable. I have to take care of myself if I want to be able to help others. In other words, caring for others starts with caring for myself. I have to listen to what my body is saying that it needs instead of only listening to what other people need from me.
My body is always sending me subtle cues. What I ate the day before nourished me or it didn’t. I slept wel and had tons of energy or I slept poorly and needed a nap to get through the day. I got outside to enjoy nature and renewed my spirit or I haven’t been hiking in weeks and my spirit reflects that. When I listen to those cues, I have insight into the type of self care that I need. When I listen to my body and am learning from it, I am living in harmony with my truth.
When I ignore the subtle cues that my body is sending, I find that life runs less smoothly. I get so caught up in doing things for others that I forget about myself. When this happens I start to find myself with a shorter temper. I get irritable more easily. I let the little things bother me. I feel like I just ‘have’to get one more thing done’ or I have failed in some way. I usually accomplish less because I am stressing over what needs to be done rather than just doing those things. Really, ignoring my own self care is counterproductive. I just get so caught up in the daily list of things to do that I can’t see this. Ideally, this is not the best place for me to be.
About 6 years ago, I started going on an annual retreat. I spend 5 days practicing yoga and hiking. I find this time refreshes me like nothing else can. After my first couple of times on this retreat, my children told me I was nicer for a couple of months. Hmmm… I started thinking about the connection to my moods and self care. I began to realize that I had more of me to give to my family when I spend a little time on myself. I had gotten caught up in being Mom and forgotten to be me. Now, my retreat time has become very special to me. I reschedule things just so that I can take this time to regenerate.
So, here I am years later and I’m still trying to practice self care on a regular basis. My annual retreat is amazing, but I need self care on a regular basis. It’s not always easy. I see something that needs to be done and my first tendency is to do it. My current practice is to remind myself that I am important too. I matter and deserve to do something for me. Giving myself this space for self care always gives me more energy mentally, physically and spiritually. I am more productive and a nicer person. Why not practice self care and be a better me?
Do you practice self care? What’s stopping you?
If you would like help with listening to your body to see what self care would mean to you, then check out my website www.pbyogatherapy.com