Taking Better Care of Ourselves
March is here! A month that ushers in the official Spring season. We will start to see budding flowers and leaves on trees. We may even begin to feel a stir of excitement and expansion within ourselves. The seeds we planted in our hearts back in the fall are beginning to grow roots and bud now, filling us with a new energy and motivation to emerge from our winter cocoon and live big. I love the feelings that Spring brings with it and the changes we feel inspired to take at this time.
I was recently chatting with a friend about some challenges she's facing. A major theme that came up was self-care, and the difficulty that comes with trying to take better care of ourselves. It's an area I greatly relate to, having first reflected on self-care several years ago and continue to work at making improvements to.
I remember first trying to navigate what taking care of myself meant. For the longest time I thought because I didn’t smoke or drink, and that I exercised and didn’t eat at fast food restaurants all of the time that I was taking care of myself. That served me then for where I was and what I knew. Then yoga entered my life and I began to understand on different levels what taking care of myself meant. This sparked a curiosity to explore other methods of self-care. Yoga, eating healthier foods, journaling, meditating, reiki, and massages are some methods I integrated into my self-care habits. I’ve benefited greatly from each of them and continue to enjoy and learn what else my body needs to feel supported and thrive mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
So how do we best figure out new ways to take better care of ourselves?
We first need to define what taking better care of ourselves looks like to us. Then we need to acknowledge what we feel is keeping us from doing those things.
Let’s break down the first part. What does taking better care of ourselves look or feel like? There is no wrong answer. Each person is unique and will require different ways to ‘fill up’. Is it making and enjoying a cup of tea, eating a diet that supports your body and mind, exercising, getting massages, taking a nap, or taking a deep breath? The list of possibilities is nearly endless.
Choose one thing you feel might benefit you most and then explore the answers to these questions.
Why do you want to improve this particular activity/area?
What benefits do you feel you will gain?
Are you benefiting in another way by not doing this particular activity?
How will taking care of yourself this way benefit those around you?
What is your end goal?
What is one action step you could take this week towards your goal?
When we are vague about what taking better care of ourselves looks like it’s harder to achieve. Begin to narrow down what your vision of better self-care looks and feels like for YOU and begin to see what steps you can take towards it.
Next we must observe and acknowledge what we notice is keeping us from taking better care of ourselves. What in your life is taking priority over finding the time and energy to take care of YOU?
I’m not suggesting to turn your back on obligations, but see if a specific situation, person, thought, or habit keeps you from providing self-care and nurturing yourself.
I often find that it’s easier for me to take action if I’m fully aware of why I’m doing it, what it is providing, what is keeping me from doing it and what action steps will get me there.
I hope this helps you gain more clarity around what taking better care of yourself looks like and one way to start moving towards this new clearer vision.