Self-care is how you take your power back.– Lalah Delia
Most of us have heard and felt a nudge to rest via self-care in response to a stress trigger inviting us to do something now.
Yes, self-care is a good thing to routinely seek out with intention. But, do most of us daily or occasionally practice self-care with intention?
There is no judgment here. Rather a loving “wake-up call” to grow our awareness of what we need to stay balanced in a season of chaos so we can move from reacting less and responding with authentic care.
According to the American Institute of Stress (AIS) (2019) – “Burnout Syndrome” has been recognized for the first time as an official medical diagnosis. Burnout has also been classified as a medical condition by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Among the areas of burnout are the following:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Unmanaged workplace stress
- Mental disconnect from work
- Negative feelings associated with work
- Physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and anxiety
With heightened awareness centered on care for body, mind, and spirit we seem as a society more stuck than ever in a vicious work and thought cycle that “owning the day without missing a beat and getting everything done” are markers of real success.
Burnout and self-care seem oddly juxtaposed with one asking the other to be of service. Self-care sets the stage to counter burnout, which in turn lessens and re-leases physical and emotional toxins.
The antidote? Compassionate, life-affirming, self-care on your terms. How we treat and care for ourselves either creates more positive healing energy for the universe and those in our lives or acts to further deplete our emotional and energetic resources.
Self-Care 101 Basics
What is Self-Care? The Oxford online dictionary states Self-Care as:
- “The practice” of taking action to improve your health.”
- “It is the practice of taking an active role in preserving and protecting well-being and happiness especially during more challenging seasons.”
When practiced with a compassionate mindset self-care renews our energy and increases our productivity in all areas both individually and collectively.
My Intentional Self-Care Story
My self-care experience started moving away from reacting to how tired or stressed I was and “shutting down,” to creating a personal relationship with self-care in my daily life. Self-care was no longer an afterthought or done from crisis mode. Overhauling how I “lived” daily has changed the course of how I “do me and my life.” This, in turn, has positively impacted my family and close friends.
Through a slow process of learning and unlearning, my ability to offer self-care shifted and I owned authentic self-care on my terms.
Here Is A Glimpse of My Daily Self-Care
Upon waking I walk to the kitchen and notice the morning light with appreciation and gratitude. I take a moment to set myself and my place in the day with all that has yet to be. I take time to hydrate my body with water. I begin and end each day rain or shine with a walk that usually includes our family dog. Being outdoors and walking affirms life and is for me a meaningful way of connecting to the vast beautiful universe and my Creator. My daily self-care practice is not complex at all and takes a short time. This simple practice grounds me, empowers me, and sets me up for what is yet to come.
When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.– Jean Shinoda Bolen
How To Practice Intentional Self-Care: A Thought Guide
Reframe your perspective on true self-care from a one and done to whole-person centered lifestyle.
Take a moment to reflect on what it means and looks like to you and how you feel when you have extended whole-person care to your physical and emotional self. We all deserve this. Can you expand your relationship and increase your vantage point regarding this element from a want to a basic daily need that goes beneath the surface?
Learn to be deliberate with your care by responding rather than reacting out of old habit patterns and outdated beliefs. Start where you are. No need to overthink or make this complex. Simple is powerful!
Craft A Lifestyle Relationship with Self-Care
Following your reframe, take intentional small steps by building in a structure of daily self-care. Do for yourself what relates to your wholeness in the season of life you’re living. This is yours. As I shared earlier, for me this was getting outdoors twice each day, first thing in the morning and at workday’s end. This involved intentionally crafting a ritual that made me feel whole and balanced.
Start with one or more meaningful items. As this weaves itself into your life call in other aspects of your life as space opens up.
Move from” doing” into “being.”
Map out some health care items that affirm and nourish your body and emotional needs.
Use the list as a starting point to add items that work for you:
- Hydrate and make friends with water and include this throughout the day.
- Include a diet of fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean proteins, healthy fats, dairy such as yogurt, kefir, organic milk (if dairy is right for you), nut and grain milk are wonderful, too, if this is right for you.
- Get moving and adding stretching such as yoga asanas
- Practice an intentional sleep routine
- Get outdoors five minutes daily if possible
- Stay connected with others who lift you up and who you can lift up
- Find your spiritual connection within
- Incorporate intentional breathing because doing breathwork strengthens the muscles related to respiration which increases your heart-lung capacity for inner calm while redirecting stress.
Here’s to you and your life, to holding the reigns of care on your terms!