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Last week I did a presentation on self-care. Self-care is one of my favorite and more popular topics, and I have presented on this topic numerous times. Self-care is at the crux of all we do, if we aren’t caring for ourselves, nurturing ourselves that we aren’t as happy, productive, and engaged. Self-care is also such a ‘buzz word’ these days. We all know HOW to care for ourselves.
As I was preparing for the presentation, I pulled out my usual information about taking care of the self-body, mind, and spirit. I looked at my information on taking 3 deep breaths, getting enough sleep, exercising, eating right and drinking enough water. Then, I thought about my own struggle with self-care. It isn’t so much that I don’t know HOW to do it or don’t know what the ideal steps to self-care are. It is that I get so caught up in my own to do list, obligations (real and imagined) and the anxiety that surrounds them that I don’t even notice that my neck is hurting, or my breathe is shallow and from my chest.
The times I am most successful at self-care is when I am taking the time to build in self-awareness. When I take the time to notice how I am feeling, to pay attention to my body and not just what comes next. I have found, self-care has to start with having the self-awareness that we need to take care of ourselves. To break the cycle of push, push, push we need to establish the time to do that. We need to establish rituals that break us out of our everyday patterns.
Rituals such as:
- Every time you hit a stop light take 3 deep belly breaths.
- At work every time you hang up the phone take a drink of water.
- Every hour get up and walk around or do some stretching.
- When you are eating a meal, pay attention to what and how you are eating.
- When you are in the shower, take the time to be in the shower not reciting your to-do list.
When we can establish these rituals we bring to break the cycle of push push push, we hop off the proverbial treadmill for a period and bring awareness to our mind, body, and spirit. From this point from this place of awareness, we can then bring some self-care, self-acceptance, and self-love. The trick is to not only engage in the rituals but after each ritual or as we are doing the ritual to bring awareness to our body, mind, and spirit.
Self-awareness gives us a chance to tune into what we are feeling, what we need and how we can best care for ourselves. Bottom line without self-awareness there can be no self-care. Without self-care, there can be no growth because we are too freaking exhausted from the obligations of life to think about what it is we need, want and desire.
What about you where do you struggle in adding self-care to your life? What self-care/self-awareness rituals have you implemented in your life?