I Opened My Heart, it's All Over This Page.
We’re always told to love & care for ourselves but how many of us really take that advice to heart, or take it at all? Maybe we’ve heard it so many times it doesn’t have any meaning to us anymore. Are you like me and wait to take care of yourself until you are sick, exhausted, anxious, depressed or burned out? Or, do you make self-nurturing apart of your everyday routine? I’d say most of us lead fairly productive lives, but I think we all fail miserably in one area: caring for ourselves mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. BUT, perhaps this is the missing key for many of us….
Would we ever neglect anything else in our lives the way that we often neglect ourselves? I wonder what could our lives could look like if we made an intentional effort each day to nurture ourselves….
When I first started thinking about this, I felt like self-care would be a waste of time. It seemed to me that there were a million things that were more important than taking care of myself: a million things I’d have to get done first before I could clear the time for myself. After stepping back for a moment, I wondered: Is that okay? Is it okay that I myself, am last on my list of priorities? That doesn’t say much for my sense of self-value, self-esteem, or self-worth. I think this is the case for most of us: our jobs, relationships, kids, pets, friends, neighbors, and social events are ALL more important than ourselves.
Where do you rank on your list of priorities?
The next thing I thought of was how GUILTY I’d feel if I spent real effort loving and caring for myself. I recently had a whole day off where I had nowhere to go, nothing that I needed to accomplish. And, even in that special circumstance, it was still so difficult to spend my time and energy on myself. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself! I felt anxious and strange and like I needed to take care of someone else to feel good. I felt SELFISH. How dare I take an entire day and just pamper myself? How lazy! I think this is so deeply rooted in us (especially us ladies!): if we have energy, we immediately give it away to others. It’s thought to be “selfish” to keep the energy for ourselves. In one way, it’s so beautiful that we can be so generous and giving. But, in another light, how can we starve ourselves like that? I used to spend my days thinking of what everyone else needed, how I could do more for them, and how I could make them happy. I never took much time to think about what I needed, how I could do more for myself, and what would make myself happy.
It makes a HUGE difference in your life if you consider your own needs, feelings, and what would make you happy and feel good (sounds so simple….but I think most of us struggle with this.)
I think it all comes down to this: Do you think you’re worth your time, care, love and affection?
Big question. Difficult to answer if you really sit with it.
What if instead of everyone else, everything else being the center of our lives, WE were the center of our lives? Instead of neglecting ourselves when life gets tough, when we get fired from jobs, when relationships become difficult or don’t work out…We could use those times to take EXTRA care of ourselves. The more we give to ourselves the better, richer, brighter and more beautiful our lives can be. We deserve to wake up each day and feel refreshed, inspired, loved, motivated, cared for, confident, sexy, and self-assured. YES, every day!
I think starting small and practically is always best (as a dear friend recently reminded me)…so here’s some ideas of how to begin a routine of self-care. Experiment with them, and see how they make you feel. Perhaps it’s a good idea to pick one to try each day for a week and see if you notice a difference in your life. (I’d also love to hear what works for you, so feel free to leave a comment below!)
1) Turn off your phone and/or other electronics for one hour. Enjoy some silence. Quiet is such a beautiful, underrated pleasure.
2) Cook yourself dinner. Choose a meal that you haven’t tried, or a food you’ve been craving. Pour yourself a glass of wine, put some music on, and enjoy the creativity of the experience. Enjoy the idea that you are taking the time to nourish yourself.
3) Pick up a hobby you used to enjoy but “don’t have time for.” For me, it can be dancing, painting, reading, or trying a new yoga class.
4) Brew a cup of tea and just sit and look out a window. Enjoy the feeling of the warmth as you sip the tea, and the simplicity of just enjoying a beverage.
5) Reconnect with a friend that uplifts your spirit. Relish in the feeling of human connectedness.
6) Go for a walk and REALLY take in nature. Don’t spend your walk answering e-mails or taking calls. Breathe nature in to purify your whole being.
7) Schedule time with yourself like you would for another person. Make the plans official and put them in your calendar. Take yourself out for dinner, for a coffee/tea date, or anything else you’d enjoy.
8) Take a loooonnngggggg bath. Make it a whole experience with yummy bubble bath, oils, and music.
9) Do a guided meditation. You don’t have to know how. You can search for meditations on Spotify or Itunes to get started. Or, just turn on some relaxing music, close your eyes, and follow your breathing.
10) And ANYTHING ELSE you can think of that would make you feel cared for and loved. You are more beautiful than you know, so honor that by taking amazing care of yourself! 🙂
I’ll leave you with this gorgeous poem by Rumi:
“You are a ruby encased in granite.
How long will you decieve Us with this outer show?
O friend, We can see the truth in your eyes!
So come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.”
Happy self-nurturing! 🙂