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Why You Need To 'Self-Care' Like Your Life Depends On It

Yes, I am aware I just used self-care as a verb that was entirely intentional.

The Collins dictionary definition of self care is: "necessary care activities, such as eating, sleeping, and, which are or should be initiated and performed by the individual receiving them, rather than an external carer."

I’m sure you’ve heard all the typical analogies & quotes giving you permission for your own self care.

“You can’t pour from an empty cup”.
“Put Your Own Oxygen mask on first”.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
“Self care isn’t selfish”
“Self care is not about indulgence, it’s about self-preservation”

Logically you can understand why self care is important, but do you actually follow through? It's time to give yourself permission to get really radical about your own self-care this year, I certainly am.

As you know, I’m a single mom running my own small business, recovering from trauma/abuse and severe adrenal burnout. I feel the best I have felt in my whole life. And do you know why? Because I continue to prioritize my own self-care, And radically so.

When society tells me to push harder, I resist. Why? Because I am already enough and I am worthy of taking excellent care of me. You are too! You don’t have to prove your worth by doing more, serving others relentlessly and giving away all your energy to things that do not fill you back up or move you towards your dreams.

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

In 2018, I upped my self-care game and I plan to do that again in 2019. Why? Because if I can’t sustain my own well being in a deep deep way, I won’t effectively be able to take care of my kids and support my mission to empower other women to do the very same.

You see, the majority of us are already in a somewhat of a state of burnout and just one more major life stress could tip the scales and take us down. We have got to take self-care to heart my friends, our collective culture and planet depends on it.

There are times when you are surviving more than you are actually thriving. Essentially that is true of my whole life. In some areas of my life I’m still in survival mode a bit. I recognize that and am choosing to let more go so I can shift and begin to thrive in those areas too. Self-care includes letting go of anything that really does not serve your highest good and purpose in life. Self-care is essentially the ultimate recognition and act of self love.

Stressful events can leave you reeling even once the actual event has passed. It is natural to require some space to to sort yourself out in such instances. Even the micro-struggles of daily life added to more stressful events can exacerbate things immensely.

Instead of forcing yourself to just “get over” things, sometimes you need to let yourself be okay with actually slowing down and letting a lot of things go for a while! Pushing yourself and putting on a brave face only hurts you and others in the long run. You are allowed to be human and to take really good care of yourself. Take the unnecessary pressure off yourself to be the general manager of the Universe. I promise, the world won't fall apart if you chill more. But you might.

Society gives us this misconception that we need to be and do it all. As women especially we can end up in burnout and overwhelm because we not only have to be on top of all our own shit but everyone else’s as well. All of those duties, responsibilities, expectations add up and can lead to incredible pressure. If you think you have to ‘do it all’ and try and fail, it can be very defeating.

The 'do it all' conundrum kicks in even more for women when we start having babies. We aren't given the appropriate support and expected to still do everything we did before we had to take care of a whole entire other human. So the mindset runs deep and the lack of self-care issue is quite pervasive in our modern day.

Ladies, please be more gentle & patient with yourself this year.

Truly deeply care for yourself. You are incredibly worth it.

Martyrdom is bullshit, it doesn’t serve anyone.

If we can’t take good care of ourselves now we could end up so burned out someone else will have to take care of us later. I’m watching that a lot these days with the sandwich era -of parents in their 40-50-60’s still supporting their kids and now also helping their aging ailing parents.

We need to learn this now for ourselves, so we can demonstrate it for our kids and stop this vicious cycle.

What message are you sending when you don’t prioritize your own life, health, time, energy and resources (internal/external)? To yourself and others?

Society has conditioned us to drive hard to achieve things outside of ourselves leaving us quite empty inside. Society has conditioned us to run to the doctor for a quick fix whenever we get sick to take a pill to get better quick so we can go back to doing all the same things that got us sick in the first place. That will never correct the problem. If you want to enjoy vibrant health;  mind-body-soul-spirit you can’t expect to heal yourself by doing the same things that made you unwell. You can’t recover your health in the same environment that got you sick. 'Environment' includes many of the current mindsets pervasive in our culture.

That seems like a tall order, but that’s why self-care and prioritizing time for you to slow down, meditate and shift your nervous system are non-negotiable.

When you are lacking the mental, physical and spiritual energy to engage deeply with your life, this is a sign to shift to a more holistic awareness. This is your signal to take steps to get self-care in place. And not just for a brief season, as a way of life.

You’ll be happier, freer and have better energy for the people and things in life that truly matter to you. You do have to plan for it and begin to incorporate it just like any other healthy habit. Self care goes a long way in managing stress and living your best life.

Here are ten ways to practice self care and take better care of you:

1. Know your worth

A big theme I saw collectively for women in 2018 was; 'You are enough'.
Ladies, it's not 'so 2018' that we can't reiterate this truth in 2019. Please learn to believe and own your worth, everything in your life hinges on knowing this. I shared more on this in my post; 'Vulnerable Share: How to love yourself as you are."

2. Start a journal

I love journaling, I really think everyone can benefit from keeping a journal. Read more about; 'What happens when you journal daily for a year.'

3. Move your body

Obvious right? Yet culturally speaking, you and I sit way too much. Your body was designed to move. Find ways to move more that suit your current health. Not too little, not too much (as in intense), just right. Park further away, take the steps instead of the elevator, try to work at a standing desk if possible, set a timer to work for 45 minutes then get up and stretch or move around for 15 minutes before getting back to work. You get the idea, right?

4. Meditate

I know, this one is hard for a lot of you. BUT, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself a little, it's SO worth it. There are a myriad of ways to meditate, find one that works for you right now where you are at in your health and mental space. Then stick with it, notice how it helps you. Then you can consider taking it further or trying different modalities. Read more: 'How To Make Meditation Be Your Super Power'

5. Eat more organic veggies

No brainer right? Fill your plates up my friends!

Also, try more variety of veggies. That's another reason to join a CSA or head to the Farmer's market, you'll have more options to choose from. I am so fortunate to live somewhere that I have a ton of options.
Root veggies: beets, carrots, parsnips, kohlrabi,
Green veggies: leafy greens of all kinds not just regular lettuce. Kale, collards, spinach swiss chard and then also any other green veggie you can think of.
Cruciferous veggies: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, rutabaga.
Starchy veggies: potatoes, pumpkin, rutabaga, sweet potato, yam, yuca, plaintains.

There are SO many to choose from and it's so fun to create so many different meals with all the gorgeous color and variety. You'll get more phytonutrients and way more nutrition with the variety vs. sticking to 3-5 of the same veggies in your rotation. Notice how you FEEL when you choose to fill your belly with more veggies and crowd out the less than optimal food choices.

6. Drink enough water to stay adequately hydrated.

This seems obvious and maybe even boring, but it bears repeating because I don't know anyone who does not need this reminder.
Consider including an herbal tea for it's healing benefits.

7. Create healthy boundaries.

No is a complete sentence. Ask for help. Let things go. Crowd things out of your life that don't bring you joy. Learn ways to declutter your life in all areas. Learn to stop 'shoulding' all over yourself. Boundaries are crucial to your well being my friends (and FYI journaling helps you keep track of where you need more boundaries).

8. Prioritize Your Sleep & Take Naps if you need them.

Seriously if I have to spell this out for you any further... then Houston, we have a problem. Society perpetuates a vicious cycle that has wreaked havoc on our bodies natural rhythms. You are a human, your body runs on a time clock in line with the sun. Go to bed when it gets dark and rise with the sun. Sleep enough 7-8 hours if you are relatively healthy, 8-10 if you are still growing or recovering from burnout or autoimmune diseases. It's ok to rest when you are tired instead of reaching for the caffeine, lay down for 20 minutes (or more if your body needs it). It's ok to be human y'all, sleep is incredibly rejuvenating. Guard your sleep, you are not invincible.

9. Include some daily detox practices

Some of those I've already stated, in this list but you could try adding in something like a detox bath once or twice a week for additional support. It's a great way to slow down and even meditate. Read more: 'How to really boost your energy with detox baths'.

Also, you could take this further seasonally and set aside some focused time for detox; I do this in sync with the change of seasons intuitively each year.

10. Spend more time in nature

I love nature! Nature provides the best place on earth for the ultimate in self-care. Spending time with Mother Nature in the great outdoors helps to reduce stress, find clarity, and refresh your mind while invigorating your body. I've written about this on the blog a bunch and showed you how much I love nature by all my pics - so I hope I've inspired you to add this to your list of self-care!

You could do all of the above (and more), but choose a few that you actually WILL DO that resonate with YOU. Choose baby steps over perfection, start small, start where YOU are at. If you are a more supportive type of personality (aka: your shadow side is people pleasing), this may be harder for you, but incredibly important. Anyone who is a care taker in any capacity needs to be supported deeply. So if that's you, please take really really good care of yourself first. You matter.

If you are looking for support with a mentor and coach to empower you further than you can on  your own, so you can radically transform your health & life... I invite you to book a breakthrough session with me.  A breakthrough session is designed to provide you with clarity, confidence and effective tools to move beyond the challenges you are facing (in your health or life) and a simple action plan to follow so you can start creating a life you love.

Now, I'd love to hear from you. Do you have a self-care dialed in? What ? Let me know in the comments.

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