WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
First thing I want to tell you my friends is that I’m no specialist. I have no degree in self-care (not sure it even exists) and I haven’t studied on the topic for years.
However, I’ve always been good at listening to myself and do what feels right for me. And when I embarked in The Self-Care Journey (365 days, 365 acts of self-care), I decided to learn as much as I could on the topic.
So far, I came up with a of definition of self-care I love because I think it summarizes it all:
SELF-CARE IS A POWERFUL CHOICE TO GAIN AN OPTIMIZED LEVEL OF PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL HEALTH.
Let’s deconstruct this sentence together and you’ll see why it is so powerful.
SELF-CARE is a powerful choice to gain an optimized level of physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual health
The words SELF and CARE are about taking care of YOURSELF. And this is fundamental. Self-Care is not about taking care of the projection people or society have on you. It’s not about losing the 50 extra pounds you need to look like a model. It’s not about bending like a snake to do this crazy yoga posture.
It’s about doing what feels right for YOU. With the body, the mind, the heart and the soul YOU have.
What is interesting about this idea is that – every one of us being unique- it makes self-care a very relative notion.
The way I take care of myself is not the way you would take care of yourselves.
Bu there is more than that to it: self-care is different from one day to another.
Sometimes, I feel like reading a poem or feeding my soul in front of a sunset. Others, I might want to take a punchy zumba class or dance in the kitchen with the kids.
What I need to take care of myself today is not what I needed yesterday nor what I will need tomorrow.
Ultimately, self-care is about listening to yourself and defining what’s right for you at the moment you’re wondering how to be good to yourselves.
Does it mean that you do only what feels good to take care of yourselves?
I don’t think so. Self-care is not about being lazy and doing only what’s easy.
It’s about finding balance between comfort and effort.
Exercising can be painful but it is Self-Care.
Sometimes, when I feel like staying home and watching a movie, instead of taking a yoga class, it might not be me talking. It might be my laziness.
So ultimately, self-care is about doing what feels good but also trying to see if you’re not fooling yourselves.
Most of the time, we know when we are, right?
Self-care is a POWERFUL CHOICE to gain an optimized level of physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual health
The words POWERFUL and CHOICE are strong because they imply 2 ideas:
SELF-CARE IS A CHOICE: Only you can decide to take care of yourselves. You can be inspired, influenced, pressured by people who love you, by people you follow on Instagram, by magazines, by your dietician, your therapist, etc… but only you can go a step further and start taking care of yourselves.
SELF-CARE IS POWERFUL: I’ve started this journey a couple month ago and I’m already sure that it will change my life for ever. Feeling better in my body, my mind, my soul, my heart makes me feel a greater alignment with who I am.
So far, this journey helped me :
– improve the quality of my daily life
– feel stronger and energized
– know myself better because I’m constantly wondering what I need to be good to myself
I believe that on the long term, self-care allows you to build the strongest, the healthiest, the best and thus, the happiest version of yourself.
This better version or yourself is also the one that will be better with others too.
Which makes self-care care even more powerful because it spreads collective care.
Self-care is a powerful choice to GAIN AN OPTIMIZED LEVEL of physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual health
The key here is in the word optimized. It means that you don’t want to overdo or underdo.
Exercising is good for the body. But running two marathons a week is not sustainable nor healthy.
Taking time to meditate is good for your soul but if you spent all your free time meditating, when will you have a social life?
Having a healthy diet is good for your body. But depriving yourself from the pleasure of chocolate or ice cream can be frustrating.
As an example, I love eating Raisinets (these ridiculously delicious chocolate coated raisins). I love their taste and I associate them with a great moment: when the kids are in bed and that I’m free to enjoy my evening watching Netflix, reading, listening to music…
But I love Raisinets so much that I started eating a whole box every night. After a couple months, it affected the quality of my sleep, gave me heartburn and heavy stomach.
Taking care of myself consisted in removing them from my evening diet for a while (see self-care act #19).
Well, I’m sure you got my point here: the optimized level of self-care is about balance.
Self-care is a powerful choice to gain an optimized level of PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL HEALTH.
You can be good to yourself in different ways. Taking care of yourself is about alternatively taking care of each and every part of ourself.
PHYSICAL SELF-CARE CARE: TAKING CARE OF YOUR BODY. Eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, treating yourself with a massage are aspects of physical self-care that can improve your health. But they usually have a great positive impact on your psychological and emotional health as well. When I take a yoga class for example, I know I’m being good to my body but I also feel energized, happier, calmer.
PSYCHOLOGICAL SELF-CARE: TAKING CARE OF YOUR MIND. Regularly engaging your brain in creative activities or puzzles or thinking about a topic that’s meaningful is a great way to practice mental self-care. I try to change the usual route to my office and get out of my comfort zone as often as I can to keep my mind alert for example.
SPIRITUAL SELF-CARE: TAKING CARE OF YOUR SOUL. Spiritual self-care is not necessarily religious. It’s is rather of set of activities you can engage in to be good to your soul. I love meditating, helping my friends with their projects, watching the stars and connecting to my inner self in a way that I feel deep and universal.
EMOTIONAL SELF-CARE: TAKING CARE OF YOUR HEART. This is the self-care I love the most. The one I experience when I have a good laugh with a friend, when I hug Duderino so hard that I could put him back in my belly, the one I feel when my heart is full and joyful after sharing the chocolates with strangers (see self-care act #59). Well, you got it, emotional self-care is any self-care that warms you from the inside and allows you to love and warm others in return.
Now, if you’re looking for activities to practice taking care of yourself, check all my Self-Care Acts. Some of them might inspire you.
Love to all and please, take care !