Practicing Self-Care

Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.

―Eleanor Brown

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I recently published an article in Thrive:  You can’t pour from an empty cupMost of us know that is true, but how many of us actively practice replenishing ourselves? I just returned from a retreat for women, and in speaking to the women individually, what I discovered was that the biggest factor that they had to overcome to go on the retreat was the guilt! Guilt for taking the time for themselves and guilt using money exclusively on themselves.

We, especially women it seems, have difficulty taking time for ourselves and prioritizing self-care. It often takes an illness or an accident to persuade us to give ourselves the time and care we need.

In an article by Dr. Susan Biali in Psychology Today, Biali describes feeling incredibly unwell, but continuing to push herself. She had an epiphany, that although she had been teaching people about stress management and self-care for over a decade, she had not been practicing what she preached. She explained that when she finally took time out for herself, it felt like she had woken up after being asleep for a long time. But it’s only when you wake up that you notice you were sleeping

But when we are stressed out, self-care is often the first thing we let go of.

Why is that? Barbara Markway, Phd explains in a different article in Psychology Today a few reasons that that is the case.

  1. Our brains go into fight-or-flight mode and our perspective narrows.
  2. We’re so busy trying to solve problems that we’re stuck in “doing mode
  3. We may not have a “go to” list of self-care activities.

So once we wake up, so to speak, how do we practice self-care, what can we put on our list of self-care activities. For those of us that can, a retreat is a lovely way to have time and space for self. But if that is not an option at the moment, here are a few suggestions:

Focus on the sensations around you — sights, smells, sounds — this helps you be present in the moment.

· Go for a walk and breathe in fresh air.

· Listen to running water.

· Take a hot shower or a warm bath.

Do something pleasurable for yourself.

· Get creative! Do some art, journal or play some music

· Garden.

· Take yourself out for a nice meal

Give yourself some spiritual space

· Practice gratitude — journal about things your are grateful for

· Light a candle and meditate

· Walk in nature

Connecting with others is an important part of self-care.

· Go on a lunch date with a good friend.

· Call a friend on the phone.

· Join a support group.

Caroline Myss asks us: “How do you define taking care of yourself?” Think about that and then as Myss suggest: Create a new self-care practice, starting today.

Remember what Audre Lorde says — self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation. Take care of yourself, start today, you are worth it!

To close I’d like to put an invitation out there to ignite a self-care revolution!

 

 I’d love to hear how you practice self-care.  I love learning from all of you.
And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.
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12 thoughts on “Practicing Self-Care

  1. So important, yet so many days where I think I can’t find time for myself. I know there is time, but I have to make it a priority. Like tonight, I was running low on energy by time my husband got home. I still managed to take our pool down, clean it, and cook dinner. Of course it took an upset stomach to get me to lay down uninterrupted by others, but I wound up falling asleep at 7pm. Unusual for my household, my husband took over the kids bed time routine and let me sleep. I slept until about 130am. That uninterrupted sleep was vital. I spend many days wishing for just an hour of solid sleep. To finally get it was completely blissful. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Patti. Reading your blog is a self-care activity and it helps me. I will attend a small, faith-sharing group for several weeks as self-care. Live far away from many friends and it is a big push to go to the group because of work schedules. I will make the group a priority even though I do. Not like to drive after dark.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful words! I appreciate the message and I appreciate you taking the time to say it. And re self-care – back at you – I appreciate all your posts about gratitude. So grateful for your contributions to self-care.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So interesting! I’m attending a chronic pain class where we just went over all of this! I remember having to teach myself to do self-care some years ago. I didn’t understand it at all over the child raising years when I really could have used it. And I’m finally moving past the guilt of taking time just for myself. Guilt’s a pretty useless emotion that gets in the way of so much healing!

    Liked by 1 person

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