This past week I had an aha moment about self-care. Part of my revelation came as I looked at the scene from my dining room table. The world felt skewed when I noticed the messiness in my backyard. As I played with the photo, this version appeared. It seemed some self-care was needed.
My Previous Understanding
I’ve written several blogs about self-care, including my feature, Five Tips Toward More Self-Care. In reading my tips, I still feel they are valid. But now it seems just part of the story about self-care.
Before my aha moment about self-care, I thought it was about
- booking manicures and pedicures
- buying myself flowers
- taking a walk in nature
Understand me. Self-care includes my shortlist. But it also includes taking care of yourself by
- updating your resume
- calling a friend
- preparing and eating tasty food
What’s the Difference?
The first list seems like out-of-the-ordinary actions, while the second is more mundane. Does that open the door to more understanding about self-care for you?
Self-care is taking care of yourself while not harming anyone else.
If it’s so simple, why do we often fall short?
From My Experience
From as far back as I can remember, my self-esteem was so low; putting my needs first was impossible. I couldn’t conceive what that meant.
My first memory of the term came from a woman’s magazine in the 1980s. I would pick one up as I waited at the grocery store check-out. The articles were talking to young mothers like me. My reaction was typical for the times.
“How can I take time for a bubble bath when caring for my home and family is a full-time job!”
Forty years later, I’m much wiser and know that taking time for self-care would have prevented so many problems in my mental state and relationships.
It’s More About Thinking than Doing
Generally, thinking leads us to a lot of stress. But if you can use self-talk to soothe yourself, it’s one of the best self-care modes.
When we start judging ourselves, it’s beneficial to turn it around with self-compassion. For instance, when someone says an unkind word, start acknowledging what you feel is a universal human experience. Others have felt the same way. The more you can see these experiences with self-compassion, the easier it will be to steer yourself away from focusing on self-sabotaging emotions and begin opening alternate thinking patterns.
My aha moment about self-care led to the acknowledgment of my personal growth over the last six months and an appreciation for everyone who has helped me along the way.
And thank you for reading my thoughts.