How often do we hear that self-care is important? That we should take time, whether it's 5 minutes or 60 minutes, to recharge ourselves? That we should take care of ourselves before taking care of others? You know…put your oxygen mask first before helping others on the plane?
Now take all that and compare it with how often we actually practice our own self-care. Are we actually practicing what we preach when it comes to self-care?
I work in a helping profession where burnout is very common. In fact, when I was just doing my field practicum, I heard too much of "but I need to finish this," "but this person needs me," or "I don't have time to relax."
I'd like to think many yoga practitioners' heads are not in the clouds, so I understand the responsibilities that have to be completed in our daily lives. I repeatedly told myself "Please don't let me be so engrossed in work and paying bills that I forget to take care of myself."
How can we preach self-care to clients if we don't even practice it ourselves? And most importantly, how can we effectively help others if we don't take care of ourselves?
Here are 3 tips to get started on your own self-care now:
1. Realize that self-care can be anything.
Self-care doesn't not have to be something new, expensive, or takes hours to do. Self-care can mean napping (my personal favorite), reading a book, watching TV, listening to music, playing or cuddling with your pets, sitting on your front porch with a glass of wine or cup of tea, writing, cooking…the list is endless.
It's anything that relaxes you, puts you in good spirits, and makes you feel ready to tackle on whatever you need to do next. Just be aware that it doesn't turn into harm (i.e. addiction).
2. Pay attention to what relaxes you.
Everyone's idea of relaxation is different. One of my friends' ideas of relaxing is "tedious" tasks like baking new recipes and planning a whole party, and just doing something with her hands. Others find that stressful.
Similarly, trying "something new" stresses out many people, hence why I suggested some of the activities above. Spending time on the mat can be relaxing for some people, while for others, it's tiring and energy-draining. So you see, this is really where awareness comes in! Go for what relaxes you, not just what everyone else says is soothing and relaxing.
3. Make yourself a priority.
And I do not mean this in a selfish way. Seriously. Ask yourself the above question I asked: "How can I take care of others if I'm not taking care of myself?" Make time for you and your overall health. Pencil it in your calendar if that's how you keep track of your responsibilities. And always remember that you do not have to go somewhere else or somewhere expensive to achieve self-care!
What are the simple, everyday things you do to practice self-care?
Image credit: Paige Rene