‘Self-Care’ has almost become a trite expression as we are hearing it more and more often, but interestingly it is anything but trite. Taking care of and nurturing ourselves, even for a few minutes a day, makes deposits that have huge dividends.
Willpower, or the ability to exercise self-discipline to accomplish our goals, is a limited resource. Like a cell phone charge, we deplete it through use (including emotional draws, hard choices, etc.). Fortunately, it is rechargeable – and self-care, or downtime, are the only ways to boost it. So if you’re wondering why you can’t seem to make healthy food choices, or why you can’t seem to pick up the phone to make work-related calls – you may want to start by making deposits into yourself.
Another payoff of self-care is the energy with which we show up for life. If we are harried, flustered, experiencing lack of sleep or malnutrition – we just don’t bring the same energy with us that we would if we brought our peaceful, fulfilled selves. People don’t want to join a sinking ship. If we refuse to give ourselves what we need, we send a loud and clear message to the universe that we don’t believe we are worth whatever it is we are asking for. Hmmmmm. Why should the universe give us anything we wouldn’t give ourselves?
So what are some good self-care practices?
Make a “joy list” – and intentionally treat yourself to at least one thing from your joy list every day. (Create categories – free, inexpensive, expensive. Free might include reading, taking a bath, taking a walk in nature. Inexpensive might be going out to lunch, going to a movie or buying a book you’ve been looking at. Expensive could be a massage, pedicure…or even a trip you’ve had on your bucket list.)
See what you can tweak to make your regular morning and evening personal care routines more pampering. Maybe add soft music that touches your heart while you wash your face, or invest in fluffier hand towels that make you feel like you’re at a resort. Get yourself some exfoliating body wash and body butter or spray (or make your own with all natural essential oils to help reduce toxic load, and support physical and emotional wellness).
Establish a simple morning routine that puts YOU first ahead of emails, texts and social media. When we wake up and immediately check into others’ lives, we don’t take the opportunity to fill our own buckets. Most experts recommend water, meditation and/or prayer, and moving – which can include stretching, yoga or exercise. If you haven’t already, check out the Sun Salutation from Essential Yoga Practice on pages 104 - 110, for a beautiful and thoughtful way to greet the day.
Establish habits, one at a time, that will support your goals. For example, if you’ve been wanting to eat healthier but it just hasn’t been happening, brainstorm a habit you could work on that could impact your goal. For example, maybe plan your menu once a week and get healthy snacks ready to go in the fridge, so when you’ve got a case of the munchies you grab a container with your favorite prepared veggies and hummus.
Using pure and potent essential oils aromatically, topically, or internally (read labels) can support all your body systems and your emotions, and are a beautiful way to connect to the gifts of the earth. Best of all, you can add aromatherapy to your efforts to reduce toxic load, diffuse at home or in the workplace, etc.
Keep your mind tuned to success by spending time with people who have already been where you are going. If you don’t personally know anyone like this, research authors who have achieved what you want to achieve and read their words – adopt the mindset that will take you where you want to go.
If you’d like to learn more about self-care and many other benefits of yoga and essential oils, join us for our Sangha coming up March 11-23rd. Registration details coming soon – Registration includes the book AND DVD, and if you are a yoga teacher, you can opt in for 10 online CE credits with Yoga Alliance.