Self care can take many forms. Some say it’s bubble baths and mani/pedis, others say it’s a high intensity workout, maybe one person thinks it’s taking time off and the next thinks it’s building small moments of rest into each day. I agree with all of these someones. Self care: like nutrition, movement, and spirituality, is very personal. Each person has to find their mix. Their combination of flavors that hits just right for them. Just like some people live for spicy foods (it me), others may be completely turned off by the sweet heat.
The journey to finding your mix is just that. A journey that continues your whole life. Things change, you change, life is in constant flux. The way I see it, you find a mix that works for you and then the task is calibration. We recalibrate our whole lives, but it’s nice to have a base, or a selection of activities, that make you feel at home in your own skin. This is my hope for those I work with, that you find your mix that brings you back home to you.
Recently, I was dealing with grief. A friend died, much too young, and it threw my world off its orbit. That grief provided some clarity and helped me recalibrate my activities, self care, movement, work, etc. After a time of prioritizing rest I was able to recalibrate based on a new vision of life, its brevity, and how I want to live.
An idea I constantly revisit is the concept of paramita - a Sanskrit word that translates several different ways. Donald Lopez, a professor of buddhist and tibetan studies, states:
What does all this ^ mean? I see it as an interesting idea that perfection means continuing on. We travel in our little life canoe from shore to shore and we turn it around and go again. All of our experiences and healing and awakening comes from the continuation of our life’s work, or living. The refinement of continuing to be imperfect as we surrender and practice this thing we call life. This helps me when I feel overwhelmed by all the choices, options and resources, or lack thereof we all sometimes experience in life.
My Self Care Mix: These are things I do at different rhythms, some daily, some weekly, some monthly. I take a step back every few months and evaluate the things I’m doing. What’s working? What’s not? What do I feel I need more or less of in this season? Self reflection and evaluation are important pieces of my self care puzzle. As a survivor of complex trauma I require a great deal of self care/personal time to recharge my energy. I used to be frustrated by this, but embracing it has been a game changer. I’m now really enjoying the process of keeping myself well, vs. constantly bemoaning the work and consistency it takes for me to do so. I’ve separated my list into what costs money and what does not, both columns are incredibly important to me. Even though there is a “no money” column, it still takes resources, time, energy, etc.
Self Care is the adding up of all of the small and large choices we make throughout our days, weeks and months to truly take care of ourselves. A big piece of this puzzle is how we see ourselves, and what kind of value we believe we have. For a long time I did not take care of myself in a meaningful way because I didn’t believe I deserved it. We all deserve it. We all were born deserving of the care we usually extend to others before ourselves. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, no one else will take care of you the way you can take care of you. I hope you are inspired to check out your own mix and look at your own choices when it comes to caring for yourself. Find your self care combination and focus on the positive things you can do, where you’re at, to support you in your journey.
Would love to know what you do to take care of you. Drop in the comments if you want to share!