Self-care is a concept that encompasses all aspects of our lives. It is something we must practice everyday; as we learn self-care in one category, we move on to learning self-care in another and another. Approaching self-care in this manner keeps us refreshed and strong. We are healthy mentally, emotionally and physically and capable of handling anything we encounter with grace.
As we practice self-care in all aspects, we open the door to peace and joy. I have written before that self-care can be taking time out for a hot bath or an extended coffee break. In this way, I have illustrated that self-care means taking the time to “treat” yourself. While this is true, and necessary, and recommended, I also want to emphasize that it is only one aspect of self-care. Self-care is not exclusively self-indulgent!
Today I want to discuss the basics of self-care. Here are some examples:
vWaking early and getting ready each morning in a peaceful, unrushed manner.
vTaking a daily multi-vitamin.
vWearing sun block.
vEating a healthy breakfast.
vPacking and eating healthy snacks throughout the day.
vLeaving the house well groomed and put together.
vEating a healthy lunch and dinner; enjoying dessert, too.
vEating while sitting down instead of on the run.
vDrinking six eight-ounce glasses of water each day.
vSpending time in nature a little bit everyday.
vExercising three to five times per week.
vSeeing a friend at least once a week.
vSpending dedicated one-on-one time with your partner at least once a week.
vSharing special moments with your kids each day.
vKeeping the house straightened.
vKeeping your car clean, inside and out.
vWorking quiet time, just for you, into each day – even 15 minutes counts.
vWashing your face, brushing your teeth and flossing nightly.
vSleeping seven or eight hours nightly.
The list above covers the basics of self-care. This list is universal; everything on here is meant to be incorporated into your life and eventually, be a natural part of how you live.
Some readers may look at this list and realize they are doing all of these things already. Kudos! The important lesson for you all, is to make the connection that living in this way is practicing good self-care. Take the time to acknowledge this. Pat yourself on the back. The next time you slather on sunblock, gulp down a multi-vitamin or eat that healthy snack, pause for a moment and reflect on the fact that in this way you are showing yourself love and care. Recognizing that you care for yourself in this way will help you to further enhance your self-care regimen. You will gain confidence and momentum for expanding into other categories of self-care.
Other readers may look at this list and feel like their lives need to be over-hauled. Don’t be alarmed and please don’t feel overwhelmed! Pick one or two items from the list and start integrating them into your life today. As you make each of those items a habit (pace yourself; research says a habit is made in twenty-one days), add in another item or two, until you feel you have the basics mastered. Each item you integrate into your daily life will add joy and peace and will make it easier to master other good habits.
Taking a look at this list myself, I can tell you I have not been taking my vitamins, drinking enough water, or exercising regularly. So I will be working on these basics in the coming weeks. Just thinking about this post, I already made corrections this morning. It is nice to be getting back on track.
Remember, caring for others starts with caring for yourself. When you treat yourself with love and care, it shows! The world reflects that love back to you. Also, as you care for and replenish your own spirit, you are better able to care for and inspire the people in your breadth. Your energy is raised; you have more to give because your well is no longer dry. In this way you are cultivating joy not only in yourself, but in others, too.