The Black, White and Shades of Grey of Self-Care
Self-care is a trendy topic right now! Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are filled with self-care tips and images to tantelize you into taking care of yourself.
And I completely agree, self-care is not only important, it is vital to your healing!
So with all the lists, ideas and prompts available out there why do so many people still neglect themselves?
I believe it is because as a whole our society is too concened with fitting in and too preoccupied by comparison. If the list doesn't fit your lifestyle or the image is in any way intimidating or you do things because they are on a list but don't really work for you, the baby usually gets thrown out with the bath water. Now, not only are you not practicing any self-care, you are likely beating yourself for not being successful at is as well.
Speaking of bath water...I think it is amusing how many self-care lists contain some form of "take a bath." What if you don't own a bath tub or really dislike taking baths? If bathing is on every list you come across it can be very disheartening which often derails the whole process.
Don't get me wrong, I love lists and ideas and prompts but that works for me. I am able to pick what I like, combine things from many sources, and create my own self-care plans.
But what if you don't have time, are too exhausted, or don't have the resources to think outside the box?
Self-care is not a black and white set of accepted practices with one size fits all ideals. Self-care is shades of grey and consists of what makes you happy, refreshed and rejuvenated. So if you have a Pinterest Board full of self-care ideas that you never refer to, a spa gift certificate you never get around to using, or a pile of self-help books collecting dust I have a different approach I'd like to offer.
Make Your Own Self-Care Plan
I. The first step to figuring out what things revitalize your worn out spirit and make your heart sing is to understand what your soul craves. Answer these questions without filtering them for probability or reasonableness! You have to know what drives your spirit in order to build a self-care practice that has a chance of working for you.
If you could spend the day doing anything, with no time restraints, responsibilities or anyone/thing pulling on your energy, what would it be?
What do you need more of in your life?
What do you need less of in your life?
What brings you joy?
What makes you feel powerful?
What makes me feel nourished spiritually?
What makes me feel nourished emotionally?
What makes me feel nourished physically?
What makes me feel nourished mentally?
What wild thing would you like to try?
II. Once you have a good handle on your desires, figure out what activities or lack of activities could achieve these results. Be creative and think outside the box. Even if your ultimate desire is not physically within reach you can find many things that will achieve the same or similar emotional, psychological or spiritual results.
For example: If your answer to #1 was "Tour Italy" and you are unable to book a trip right now, there are many other ways to experience your dream destination. For instance, you could download the free Duolingo app and learn Italian, do an internet search on the history of Florence, peruse a picture book of Italy and make a list of the places you want to see in person, read a novel set in Venice or Rome, or watch movies filmed in Italy like Under The Tuscan Sun or Roman Holiday.
III. Compile your list and decide how much time is needed for each activity to achieve minimum and maximum impact. Figure out your Good, Better and Best time frame targets. Sometimes you have 5 minutes and sometimes you have an entire day. Knowing how long you need to feel results gives you attainable options. These examples taken from the above scenario illustrate two very different time commitments.
Activity: Learn Italian Good: 15 minutes Better: 30 minutes Best: 1 hour Let's say you chose the "Good" goal of learning Italian, but you did it everyday. It's not a huge time commitment and it allows you to escape everyday to a world you dream about. This small thing could result in a huge impact over a short period of time.
Activity: Watch Italian movies Good: 2 hours Better: 4 hours Best: all day marathon Watching movies is more of a time commitment so yo might decide to do that once a week or once a month. Get your favorite candy bar, pop some popcorn and curl up on the couch for a little soul indulgence! There can be something so magical about being lost in a fantasy for two hours or all day. Movies can send us on a roller coaster of emotions which can be very therapeutic!
As a bonus, when you put your energy into something you want and are passionate about you invite the Universe to present opportunities to make it happen.
IV. Now that you have your own unique list of self-care activities and Good, Better and Best time frames, the power to relax, rejuvenate, and revitalize is in your hands!
Click the button below to download the Make Your Own Self-Care Plan!