Self Care is the Best Care
September is International Self Care Month. We don’t think anyone would argue that self-care isn’t important. But what is it really? And how do you find the time for it?
The phrase “self-care” may conjure up images of getting a massage or pedicure at a spa, taking up a daily meditation practice, doing yoga at sunrise, getting 8 hours of sleep each night, or eating kale and cutting out chocolate cake.
But as nice as all of that sounds, it’s not always that easy – because sometimes it doesn’t feel like there is enough time, or because it’s really hard to start a new habit, or because chocolate cake is just too delicious.
But what if we told you that true self-care really begins with small moments instead of grand (or expensive) endeavors and requires nothing other than you? Then it might feel like self-care “success” is in your reach and it just may help you feel better equipped to satisfy your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.
So let’s take a moment to explore what self-care really is and why it is so important, especially now.
Self-care begins with kindness, patience, and forgiveness of self. It is asking for help, setting boundaries and limits, taking breaks, and expecting no more or less from ourselves than we would another person. Simply stated, self-care begins with being kind and gentle with yourself as you sprint, stumble, glide, or fumble through the events, responsibilities, decisions, and relationships in your life.
How many times have you had a critical inner conversation with yourself about something you did or didn’t do? You might say things to yourself that you would never say to a friend or even a friendly colleague. Or do you tend to over-extend yourself so that you don’t let others down and in doing that, deplete your own energy source? Or maybe you have found other unique and creative ways to chip away at your energy or self-esteem. If so, you’re not alone… and a little self-care can make a big difference.
If you want a simple way to practice self-care that doesn’t carry a price tag or involve carving out blocks of time, try this: use affirmations. Positive statements (“I am enough… I am relaxed and at peace… I am loved… Everything is always working out for me… I am strong… I will celebrate my small wins…”) can remind you of your worth, power, and potential.
You may choose to write your “I am” statement on a note card to carry with you… or write it on your bathroom mirror so you see it every day… or put it on a sticky note in your car… or simply repeat it to yourself silently or out loud when you need that voice of support.
This year, we need self-care more than ever. With practice, the loving kindness that you offer yourself will make it easier for you to feel compassionate towards others too.