This evening I was chatting with the cashier during checkout at the grocery store. We started talking about self-care and how vital it is. It's a favorite topic of mine. My friends even call me the "Queen of Self-Care." It's a crown I now wear with pride.
It wasn't too long ago I didn't even know what self-care was, nor was it part of my daily routines. I don't even know if it was a once a month thing. I would catch up on sleep over the weekends, but that was about it.
At a young age, I fell into a role of a caregiver, rewarded for being selfless and taking care of others. That my purpose in life was to give of myself- it made me a good person. This also meant I was sick on the regular, walked around with the hunched tight shoulders, had lower back issues and felt it was "normal" to be stressed and exhausted- it was just a part of being a working adult.
When I began my healing journey a few years ago, mindfulness and self-care were at the top of the list. (More on mindfulness in a future post).
I would love to sit here and tell you how amazing it was to start taking care of myself, to start prioritizing my needs; but the truth is it was hard. It was hard to restructure my day to make time for myself. It was hard to put work and grad school down. Creating boundaries around my personal time was tough. I was learning a whole new way of being, a whole new way of showing up for my life.
But I will tell you how amazing and grateful I am that I somehow learned to do it. One day at a time I learned to appreciate how it felt to be more rested, more nourished, more calm, more beautiful. Self-care is now a non-negotiable in my life. I've learned that when I take care of myself, I can truly show up for others. I can be caring, empathic and present for them in ways I never could before. It's allowed me to connect better with others and genuinely love. Self-care is the oxygen of life.
What does self-care look like?
Self-care is getting rest. It's cooking for yourself. It's eating nutritious food. It's exercising (but not pushing yourself over your limit). It's taking genuine care of your health. It's taking days off. It's indulging in a good book. It's quiet time. It's journaling. It's taking a relaxing bath, getting a massage, facial or mani/pedi. It's giving yourself what you need to be your best, listening to your body and responding- do you need quiet time, to connect with a friend, to go for a walk, to hydrate, etc. It's whatever you need to show up in this life as your best self!