This time-period has been consumed of information on self-care. Just about every professional organization that I follow has mentioned it at one point or another. Perhaps due to the consequences of COVID, our lives have been awakened to look inward much more frequent.
Looking back to my young adult life, I can remember being encouraged to give to others of my time, finances and passion. Serving or volunteering became the motivation as I relocated several times and I struggled to find part-time work in my profession. As if being a mom to 3 under 10 was not admirable enough, I looked to belong to something more respectable. I kept at it until I realized that it did not matter how hard I attempted, I would never fit in. I was different in attitude, size, color and passion.
However, it pushed me to look deep into my needs and desires, instead of seeking the endorsement of institutions. I did not have a definition or title for it, but I knew I had to find myself. Some believe that it is selfish. I believe that it is essential, just as air is to the lungs. While I sought representation I came across the term, SELF-CARE.
The simple act of self-care has given me hope and justification to keep going. While others may find themselves early in the process or later, I have been investigating it for the last 7 years or so. Currently, I’m so thankful to broadly hear conversations in our society about it. It is an important aspect of health.
Experts usually attach health and wellness to dimensions that usually involve a person’s mental, physical, occupational, financial, emotional, spiritual, social or environmental state of being. Self-care influences every one of those themes. Now, what does self-care look like? Pause and reflect on the following.
First, it should start with complete awareness of what makes you tick and light up. It should not include people in your life, but they can enhance it. Ultimately, when you are alone, what gives you energy? Look deep in your soul of spiritual being in this step.
Second, be gentle with YOU. Practice empathy and self-compassion on yourself. This cognitive understanding includes your feelings, emotions and intellect. Put aside that inner critic. Be kind to yourself so that you will be kinder to others.
The manner in which you activate these practices look different for us all. Some prefer to meditate, others exercise or paint. Self-care can include a hobby, an activity or pampering. How ever you celebrate self-care, be sure to focus on your necessities, values or interests and not others or material things. Self-care may also require you to practice saying no to some events or people. It may also require you to ask for help so you can partake in it.
Perhaps you had role models that helped you understand self-care early on, but many as I, have had to work at it later in life to embraced it. Self-awareness and compassion has allowed me to love, understand and empathize with others better. Practicing self-care has opened my possibilities in purpose without expectations.
I enjoy sharing meaningful events.
Mona Chavez is a community advocate, volunteer, entrepreneur, world traveler, and blogger.