As we settle into the reality that COVID’s impact is here to stay, continue the process of unwinding, and shining a light on the effects of America’s racist history and stress out over the upcoming election, self-care becomes top of mind. Taking care of ourselves is essential for being able to show up in the world with clarity and as our best selves. It allows us to take care of others without feeling resentful or projecting our shit on them.
Typically when you think about self-care you think about going to the gym, drinking enough water, or taking a long bath at the end of the day. While these things are great (and are definitely part of self-care), over the years I have learned that for me, self-care is really just a series of daily habits that I prioritize based upon what I value. A lifestyle of caring for myself, for others and for the land.
Some of them are small and have been easy to implement, like oil pulling in the mornings or giving up meat. Others are large and have taken time to stick, like waking up at 5 AM for yoga and meditation or saying no without explaining myself.
No matter if they are easy to implement or something you struggle with, know that each habit, each action that you take on a daily basis either choose self-care or rejects it. The choice is ours. The question is what does self-care mean to you? If you read my last post about living consciously in times of crisis, you might remember that self-care for me is maintaining a routine that puts my priorities first right from the start. Without that, I find that other people's priorities become mine, and next thing I know I’ve spent the first part of the day on other peoples agenda’s rather than my own. We are each blessed with 24 hours each day, how we use them is up to us. We all have daily obligations - sleeping, bathing and eating, attending to work, handling household duties, spending time with loved ones or any other combination of things that occupy our time. If you find that you are struggling with self-care or finding time for yourself, I suggest, that before you default to the standard “I don’t have time”, you observe your habits and how you are spending it. You’ll quickly see what things you are choosing to prioritize in your life.
Over the years I’ve done this when I’m feeling overwhelmed or neglected and have realized that oftentimes it’s not that I don’t have the time, but rather it’s that I’m not prioritizing what I say is important to me. Sometimes that’s work, sometimes its spending time alone, other times what’s important is as simple as making sure my house is in order.
For me spending my time in a way that I have intentionally set out to do, is the ultimate self-care. When I find myself consistently spending time doing things that are out of alignment with my greater goals and vision for myself, I end up feeling drained and exhausted which is a sure sign I need to refocus and reevaluate.
By the time this is posted, it will be Sunday. This week, as you go throughout your normal routine, pay attention to how you spend your time each day. If you are a super geek like me, write it down. Do it for 7 days and you’ll quickly see what you are prioritizing in your life. Make sure it’s aligned with what you say you want. If self-care is one of them, great, if not (and it’s something you complain about not having time for) look to see what you could move down on the priority list to create space for yourself. Because if we don’t do that for ourselves, who will?