As every February comes around there are a lot of talk, marketing, branding on all things self care, self love, love, relationship, and all that jazz, for audiences to either catch and hold or reject. We are at the studio are not immune. We've designed a month on self care. And, here's why I think it's very important to have the gentle reminders on self care and community care.
In a world that moves at lightening speed, we are becoming more stressed, anxious, and ill at alarming rates. That alone is reason enough to slow down and cultivate practices to keep you the best version of you. If you are a parent, or partner, or caregiver, it's essential to take time to nourish you so you take care of the others around you better. I personally detest the metaphor of applying the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others but, there is some merit to it, yes? I prefer the gentle guidance and motivation of taking time to take care of my own needs, will help me take care of my daughter and friends, and partner more. I'll have more to give if I give to myself. Yes, please! Otherwise, us givers, get depleted. Tired. Irrititable. Not ourselves, far from our best selves.
Self care is taking time for just you. With the intention of doing or not doing something that nourish you physically, mentally and/or on a soul level. It has many forms, and can look differently for everyone. It's typically something healthy- goes back to nourishing not depleting. Although, sometimes you just need to binge watch "The Crown" to make a girl happy, or rewatching "Arrested Development" or "30 Rock" to get some giggles. Laugh therapy is a thing, right?
Managing our stress actively will help us walk around with less levels of stress and/or anxiety- which is just us constantly in fight, flight, freeze or collapse, waiting for the other shoe to fall. Not to mention advancing our aging processes, disease, causing more inflammation and among other ickiness.
Here's what works for me. This is just meant to be a guide, or inspiration to know it may be something quick and quiet you can sneak into your busy schedule. The more we practice the more we can keep stress from creeping up to our ears.
warm lemon water first thing in the morning - it helps my belly
oil before taking a hot/warm shower
journalling - to get the feelings and thoughts down instead of around in circles in my mind
breath or mediation - it's amazing what taking a breath can do to reset you and I
anything to calm my nerves - If I'm running on the jumpy side I know I have an undercurrent of stress so do I need to color with my daughter, get outside, do any of the things on this list, call a friend, make plans...
long bath - so yummy
walk outside - fresh air and nature can do a lot to reset as well
movement - I favor yoga and Pilates to connect to my body, rest the mind, and be.
looking at what I am eating - can I do better? Food influences how we think and feel.
The tougher lessons of self care for me are : self love and : you are enough. Oh man, those carry weight for me. The practice of embracing these though helps us be less reactive, more confident, and stronger to be vulnerable with others (which is loads strength!!! Read any of Brene Browns' research).
"Self-compassion involves managing the best that you can, without criticizing or punishing yourself for not doing things exactly the way you imagine you should be doing them."
Taken from this article on why self care is important
It's hard work!! This is not easy. Life is not easy. Be kind to yourself. It's the small things that will add up to improve our experience of this life and to be reminded of its beauty. I also encourage you to take a retreat. Retreat away. Retreat by yourself, with friends, or with like minded folks! Unplug, and rest. It does so much for your mental, physical, and spiritually.
Speaking of like minded folks. Again, life is not easy. We all need support and folks to lean on. Some of us need to the kind reminder that vulnerability is NOT weakness. It's more than okay to ask for help and support to get back on track to your best self. That's where community care plays a key in our self care. Community care looks like:
gathering strength from others
support to lift you up
guidance from trusted sources
the ability to trade childcare with another parent could help take time for you
finding a studio or classes that makes your feel connected to others
Us human beings are social beings, we desire connection. Connection to ourselves, and to others. Yoga offers the sweet message of if we take care of our inner universe, the greater universe will benefit around us. I circle back to my daughter. I want her to have a kinder world around her, and it starts with me. So pour me that lemon water, and let's take a walk.
Be well out there!