I work as a Reiki Practitioner and Yoga Teacher, but lately, it seems like my job description has been, “Person Who Tries to Convince People to Take Care of Themselves.” I often find myself running into people who treat everyone else better than they treat themselves.
Not surprisingly, these are the people who are wilting—failing to thrive—they are suffering from stress related illnesses and in need of healing. This is how they end up with me. They deny themselves until they get to the point where they can’t go any further without professional help.
It’s not that I don’t like having clients, and it’s not that I don’t enjoy helping the people that I see. I adore every person who has ever come to see me and because of that, it pains me to see how far gone they let themselves get before they act.
I know that self-care feels like extra work. It’s another pull on your time and energy. I get it. It’s also a skill that you develop, like anything else. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Here are first few steps on how you can start a new self-care routine:
1. Make it a priority
Your first priority should always be you. It may seem like other things should be a higher priority, but think of it this way—you can’t offer anyone your best self until you become your best self. As long as you are denying you, you are denying the world your best self. And yes, I do recommend completely turning your life upside-down if necessary. There is only one you; make the most of what you have.
2. Plan for it
In this world of constant distractions, interruptions and requests, if you don’t consciously make a plan, it will never happen. There was a time when humans were naturally faced with the question of self-care because of lack of easily accessible distractions. We were forced to sit with ourselves while taking trains, standing in long lines, walking to destinations or merely sitting alone in our rooms without the convenient distraction of tablets, laptops, phones and TVs. Because of the possibility of constant connectivity, it has become the general expectation that you always be available to your friends, family and boss. Given this climate, self-care time needs to be planned.
3. Find the things that work
When we hear the term “self-care” we conjure up images of old Calgon commercials and reading cheezy romance novels on the beach. In actuality, it means different things to different people. It could mean a hot bath. It could mean a Yoga class. It could mean starting a journal. It could mean going for a run or taking a nap. It could mean a Reiki session. It could mean saying to your husband/wife/partner/kids, “Feed yourselves tonight, I’m going for a walk.” It could mean all of those things or none of those things.
Ask yourself what feeds your soul. Even if you don’t believe in souls, you probably have some idea of what this means—you feel like you’re being fed on some internal, basic level. If you don’t know, try this: Sit down in a quiet spot somewhere, take a few deep breaths and relax. When you reach a state of calm openness, then pose the question to yourself. The fear of judgment will probably arise, but give yourself permission to have free reign on that question. After all, no one needs to know the answers but you. Ask yourself this question often because what fed you yesterday may not feed you today.
This a two part series and part 2 can be found by clicking here.
A whole new self-care regimen takes time and contemplation to start. The first three steps, require a bit of effort and patience. I know that patience is hard to come by. But, the things that help us the most are the things that require an Investment of time. You will reap the rewards in the future.
Do you have any self-care rituals now? Is there anything that feeds you on a basic level that you find surprising? Tell us below!