I believe in self-care that’s awesome. Not indulgent or expensive. I don’t believe in self-care that feels like a “should” or that masks itself in shame out of concern for you. I believe in self-care that feels awesome, not a burden. (That’s why I created Real Self-Care, which you can grab right here.)
But if you’re here for the first time, or you’re just starting to dip your toe in the pool of self-care, you might not be sure where to start.
Here’s a secret: it’s not self-care if you never do it.
If you keep putting it off or avoiding it, it’s not self-care. It’s only self-care if it’s something that brings you joy or benefit. It might not always be fun, but it will leave you with a sense of well-being.
Some days, I drag myself onto my yoga mat. But it’s worth it.
Self-care needs to feel personal.
The internet makes everything taste kind of the same: pleasantly bland. Full of things you should do to bring more joy and well-being into your life. But if you follow the suggestions of Internet People and feel nothing?
That’s just crappy.
So, wise one, what does your self-care look like?
I have built my own self-care practice over the last fifteen years, learning to meet my own needs with compassion over and over again.
I’ve healed or walked myself through all manner of dark times. I’ve survived the death of loved ones. I’ve kicked unhealthy food and body image mindsets. I’m still journeying through depression and scoliosis.
What I’ve learned in that time is that your self-care has to belong to you. YOU have to belong to you first.
Psst! I’ve created a free self-care planner to help you get started. Part journal, part guide, part planner, it will aid you in your journey toward more amazing self-care.
Grab your free planner right here! >>
There are, in fact: 4 pillars of awesome self-care
This is self-care that feels great. It’s self-care that meets you in the midst of your messy, imperfect life. It’s self-care that honors this as a practice – not a destination.
Your self-care has to fit into your actual life. It has to tailor itself to your particular needs, goals, intentions, desires… your reality. It has to work with your finances, your family, your dreams, your abilities, your time. As you are. Not the dream-you. Not the you fifteen years or pounds or miles from here.
Because, gosh. You’re awesome. Your self-care should reflect your exact awesomeness, not someone else’s.
Self-care is best when it honors exactly who and where you are in this moment. Your self-care might look different from someone else’s. Keep your eyes on your own paper and honor yourself with the care you need.
Examples of custom self-care:
- Ordering food in, because your chronic pain is high on that particular day.
- Making food from scratch, because cooking is a creative outlet.
- Doing a brisk vinyasa yoga practice because you’re looking to burn off some excess energy and get your endorphins pumping.
- Choosing a restorative practice because you’ve had a tiring week or are getting over a cold.
“Because” is a key word here. It’s what creates the context for why we make the self-care choices we make.
Custom is a cornerstone of self-care. Without it, there’s no “self” there – no you. Meaning: it won’t actually create a sense of self-compassion or well-being in your own body, in your own self.
Because it doesn’t meet your specific needs. It doesn’t fit into your actual life.
I believe that you are the expert in your own experience. I have some practices I can offer you. I can speak to you about my own experience and what’s worked for me. I may be able to reframe situations that feel hard.
I may even be able to remind you of what you’ve forgotten. But you are the expert. Your intuition knows best.
Examples of intuitive self-care:
- Looking in the fridge and following your hunger about what to have for dinner.
- Getting on your yoga mat without a plan, and moving as your body wishes.
- Breathing for a few minutes while you listen to what would most bring you joy next: coloring books? A hike? A hot shower?
- Doing one thing at a time, moving deliberately from one activity to the next so that you can discover the flow of your energy and how you best like to work.
I trust you to find the self-care that truly fits you. This is about keen inner listening. It’s not about a to-do list. It’s about going with the flow and following the calling of your personal wisdom.
It’s about slowing down enough, and quieting down enough that you can truly hear yourself. It’s about trusting that voice when you do hear it. It takes practice, but it will get stronger over time.
I’ve created a free self-care planner to help you get started. Part journal, part guide, part planner, it will aid you in your journey toward more amazing self-care.
Grab your free planner right here! >>
Again, if you don’t do it, it’s not self-care. You need to honor what’s actually possible. You may be able to shift things, eventually, to create more space, more time, more energy.
I encourage you to start right where you are, right now.
What is possible for you today, in this moment? (Then ask that question again tomorrow.) Making big plans that crash and burn isn’t self-care. That might actually make you feel worse. (I know, because I used to do that.)
Set yourself up with what is actually within your control, and give yourself care there.
Examples of feasible self-care:
- Making yourself a cup of tea, and sipping it slowly, even if you’re at the office.
- Going for a walk to the end of the block and back, if that’s all the time you have.
- Wearing your favorite sweater – not necessarily buying a new wardrobe.
- Spending a few moments looking at photographs of loved ones, even if you can’t get on a plane right now.
Feasible self-care is all about doing what’s in reach, what’s possible right now. Just because you can’t get an hour-long massage doesn’t mean that you can’t do 10 minutes of yoga. Do what you can.
Take baby steps. Make small gestures in the direction of your own self-care. Even if it doesn’t seem like much, it does add up. You’ll be happy that you did what you could. It’ll set you up for a pattern of self-care that’s worth more in the long run than a single spa weekend once every three years.
Self-care should feel respectful. It’s not another chance to fail or beat yourself up. Your self-care plan is not a hit piece. It’s a careful, compassionate way of approaching your own heart, and offering it what it needs.
I would like for you to be kind to yourself. This is why I created my meditation course, Hella Metta. This is why I do any of this work.
Especially if you’ve tried and “failed” at this whole self-care thing before.
If you’re starting at the absolute, very beginning, start with this: Be Nice.
Examples of kind self-care:
- Getting enough sleep instead of binge-watching something until 2am.
- Creating an inner monologue that is forgiving and compassionate.
- Offering yourself opportunities for nourishment, rest, movement, and creativity in a gentle way – not forcing yourself into something that’s “good for you” because of a fad.
- Claiming self-care in any moment – not because you accomplished something.
Awesome self-care isn’t always about heroics. It’s about self-respect.
It’s about sometimes doing the hard, but compassionate thing for yourself. Self-care isn’t a punishment or a chance to martyr yourself. You want to create a meaningful self-care practice? Start by being nice to yourself.
[bctt tweet=”The four pillars of awesome self-care are: Custom, Intuitive, Feasible & Kind. Learn more: www.christytending.com/awesome”]
Want to craft a self-care practice that feels custom, intuitive, feasible and kind? Start now with the free Real Self-Care planner! Grab your free planner here>>