“Self-Care”….That mysterious little phrase

Okay so I am sure you have heard this phase a good amount of time. People say things like, “practice self–care”, “self-care is so important to healing” and “make time for self-care”. But what does this really mean?

I believe self-care is really about self love and respect. I say love and respect because those two words both mean something important.   Since love can sound like this big vague word lets break it down and define it. Love can be defined as compassion, care, kindness and friendliness. Simply put, do you treat yourself and regard yourself with any of these words? A good measure is if you were talking to your best friend who you care dearly about, would you tell her to treat herself the way you treat yourself? If the answer is no then you are not practicing self-care. For example, if you know your best friend is going a million miles an hour and about to crash would you look at her and say you need to take a big break and slow down?

The word respect I think is also important in this self-care equation. The word “respect” can be defined in part as hold in high regard, revere, and honor. When you think about someone that you respect, you treat them with the upmost care and concern. You will go the extra mile because you feel that they deserve that. You give them your best because you want to honor them. Well its time to start giving yourself your upmost respect if you are not already. I like this idea of self-respect to because for a lot of people it is a little more practical and tangible than the word love. So if the idea of self love is a little too fluffy for you, then think of giving yourself the respect you deserve.

A lot of people have pushback against self-care because they feel it is selfish. If you are one of these people it is time to let go of the gilt of making time to care about yourself. It is much easier most of the time to focus on caring for others. Especially if you are a mom, a wife, a daughter, or that awesome friend to everyone, it is hard to take part of that time and apply it to yourself. But if you shift your perspective about this to think about the payoff to others of practicing self-care you will see it is actually an act of caring for others too. When you take care of yourself you are able to be a better you. If you feel healthier, happier and more energized you are able to be there in a much more profound way for the people you care about.

The fact is everyone should practice self-care but what that entails is so different from person to person. A great tool for discovering what you need for your self-care is by writing to yourself as if you were writing to your friend. First ask “her”, what are her biggest struggles right now. Seeing them unfold on paper will bring them into focus instead of being pushed aside which we often do withfibf our problems. Next read these struggles with love and compassion. It is much easier to generate compassion when taking a step away from yourself.   And then finally, what would you suggest for your friend to do? Does she need to simply take a bath a few times a week? Or maybe she needs to take that vacation she has been postponing. Only you know what you really need !!! So take about ten minutes each week to really sit down and have this conversation with yourself and please let me know how you are practicing self-care and what this phrase means to you.

With passion,

Jennifer