Self care is such a buzz phrase right now and tends to be associated with days at the spa, reading a book while lounging in a bubble bath surrounded by candles, or going to the nail salon. While these are great examples of self care, they’re only representative of a tiny portion of what self care really is.
Think about taking care of your car: every so often you need to take it to the gas station to refuel it, change its oil every now and then, and fix or replace a part when it running as efficiently as it should. That’s car care. Self care is taking care of yourself. Everything from buying fresh food, getting exercise, resting, and going to the doctor when we’re ill, and sometimes even going to work is a form of self care.
It isn’t always fun and relaxing. If I could spend a couple hours at the nail salon and have all my needs met that would be amazing! But the reality is that I need food, water, fresh air, exercise, and many other things and I’m the caretaker of myself, no one else can do these things for me, just like no one else can do them for you (unless you’re a small child, then you’ve got the golden ticket, it expires though, so enjoy it). All these things take some amount of “behind the scenes” work too.
Food for example. I have to go get the right food for myself and then prepare it. If I’m the type who doesn’t cook that means I needs to work for an income that allows me to eat out at restaurants that serve good food– serial fast-food dining leads to dis-ease in the body which leads to doctor visits, medications, and other expensive issues so I’m trying to keep it simple/lowest cost here. It all takes an investment in our time and resources.
Then there’s exercise! It boasts so many health-improving benefits for our bodies, minds and spirits! It’s one of the greatest and most beneficial self care acts you can do, and yet so many of us choose to skip it. It feels so easy to skip because in our pro-productivity culture it’s often seen as “extra,” “optional,” if you get to it at the end of the day, awesome. If not, yeah, me either, right?
As a long-time athlete and yoga enthusiast, even I put up a mental fight with myself about hitting the mat or the pool or whatever I’m doing. But I know that it’s important and I know once I get going I’m going to enjoy myself and feel like a million bucks afterward. Sometimes I don’t do it though. Sometimes, as in OCCASIONALLY, that’s self care too.
With self care, you have to think about the semi-long term effects of your decisions. The quick fixes often lead to problems later on. If I’m feeling tired and don’t want to go to the grocery store, knowing that I don’t have what I need to make breakfast the next morning, I might have to skip breakfast, which is going to make me less productive throughout the day and feel exhausted by noon.
Meal-prepping is a great way to practice self care. Yes, it is an investment in time and energy, but if done when you have some extra time, you’ll SAVE time and energy later. Just like stopping at the grocery store to make sure you have what you need to take care of yourself. Taking the time to prepare meals for the days to come, you’ll likely also wind up eating healthier and saving money. There are thousands and thousands of ways to practice self care, some of them are so relaxing and yummy, while others might feel like drudgery at times. It’s just a practice and experimenting with what you need, what works for you and how you can get the biggest bang for your energetic buck.
I’d love to here what your self care practices are and how you’ve navigated the times when you didn’t want to do something you knew was important for your wellness! Say hi in the comments! And don’t forget to sign up for the Gro Yoga Tribe Insiders eNewsletter! Click here!