We all know that we need self-care, that we really should buckle down and get out of the office a bit earlier, that it is technically important to take vacation. So, why is it that so many of us still put taking care of ourselves last?
Lately, the word self-care has been all over the place. All kinds of marketing companies use it to tell you why you need a certain overpriced beauty product or why you need to get a 10 pack of Swedish massages at a luxury beauty salon. While some of them do have a point, they are also equating self-care with having abundant money and time.
When we make decisions to do anything, most of us think about how much money and how much time something will take. They are two of our most valued and limited resources.
What I would like to tell you today is that self-care does not mean that you have to spend more money OR that you necessarily have to make more time in your busy schedule.
It is nothing you should ever have to feel guilty about.
Self-care is self-preservation and therefore an act of love not only towards yourself, but towards everyone else you love.
How will you take care of your family, your friends or your business if you are totally drained and burnt-out?
So, let’s get over it and accept that self-care in its essence is the sunshine that allows flowers to bloom and fruits of grow ripe.
It's a non-negotiable.
So, let me peel the onion for you and show you how I see self-care being possible without spending a good chunk of your income or quitting your full-time job.
As I see it, there are 3 main layers.
Layer 1: This is the outer-most stage. The big acts that do cost you money and time. The vacation. The massage. The lavish dinner. You get it. No need to elaborate.
Layer 2: Swap and modify your simple daily choices. It’s all about looking at the things you already do and infusing them with a sense of love and self-care.
Waking up: Instead of waking up to an alarm clock that sounds like nails on chalkboard, wake up to music you enjoy.
Putting on lotion: Instead of slathering on bodylotion that smells like plastic, take joy in rubbing in lotion with natural ingredients that smells like vacation.
Getting to work: Instead of taking the train to work, bike or get off a few stops before your actual stop, so you can feel your body and breath in some fresh air.
Eating lunch: Instead of ordering in the same healthy but boring lunch every day, take a break and try something super flavorful at a new place (you will catch up that time by being way more productive following a little break). What else can you switch?
Cost: Intention and Practice
Layer 3: Change you internal dialogue.
The best way to truly take care of yourself is by speaking to yourself in a way that reflects caring. We are so used to talking to ourselves in a judgmental, unkind voice that it takes a bit of practice to even notice it. So when you catch yourself in the midst of negative self-chatter imagine yourself as a 4 year old and ask yourself “Would I talk like that to my own 4-year old self?” If the answer is “no” then replace what you just said with something that you would say to the 4-year old You.
Cost: Commitment to being kind and humorous in you inner dialogue and perception of the world around you.
In the comments below, I would love to know: what do you intend to change in order to start taking care of yourself better? Start simple.
I know you can do this.