Wednesday Missive: My Latest Definition of Self-Care

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Hello Beautiful People,

I hope you had week full of care!  I spent my holiday weekend driving to and from Pittsburgh (Micah drove while I tried to entertain a toddler in the backseat), visiting family there (so lovely) and all three of us getting sick in the process (which was trying, to say the least).  I’m so grateful to have my self-care practices to help us all come back to health and regain our balance this week.

A few things today:

Sign up for the Women of Color Self-Care Roundtable this Saturday or forward it to your women of color friends in support of their self-care!

You’re going to love my newest podcast with revolutionary herbalist April Rameé! We talk about connecting with plants and how to be more authentically yourself while in community with others.

Starting next week, as a way to sustain ourselves through the “holidaze,” I’m sharing five free selections (with beautiful art by Maria Habib) from my upcoming book “Selfcarefully”!  We’re hoping you’ll get inspired to buy an early copy of the book as a gift that keeps giving.

And now today’s missive….

As I often find, the more I think about self-care the more confusing it can seem.  It’s like saying a familiar word over and over again until the syllables feel foreign in your mouth. And yet sometimes, taking some distance can be the best way to rebuild a lost intimacy or discover something new about an old, faithful lover.

Over the years, I’ve learned specific healing practices, studied overarching wellness frameworks and been melted by the most intimate of self-care testimonials.  Each of these has transformed my definition of self-care. And yet, they are incomplete when it comes to answering the ever-present question: “What is self-care?”  

Day by day, my definition of self-care changes and expands.  Sharing pieces with those who are interested feels like following the breadcrumbs as we move toward the larger truth of it all.

So, today’s piece: While walking Jonah to daycare, it occured to me that more than anything, self-care feels like a shift.  This was because that morning I had deeply felt the shift of self-care. I had woken up frantic that I wouldn’t get everything done today.  After a few deep breaths, I realized that I was allowed to dictate my own pace and that none of my productivity could prove or disprove my worth as a person.  

Ahh, such relief in that pivot!  With that, I wanted to share a few other examples of how to use self-care to create a shift in your own mentality and how this shift can bring connection and comfort to your sweet self.

Self-Care is a Shift

Self-care is a shift…

...from feeling like you’ll never get everything done to realizing you’re allowed to do just one thing at a time (and take breaks in the process).

...from the desire to go on restrictive diets (or other ways of clamping down on your compulsions) to the desire to eat in a normal, sane way while exploring the roots of your compulsions with tenderness and support.

...from feeling like practicing your self-care routines will make you a boring person to understanding that your routines are a gift you give to yourself.  

...from saying that you’ll take care of yourself once your to-do list is done to caring for yourself whenever you feel sad, tired, lonely, or otherwise depleted.

...from living from a place of obligation (all those “shoulds” and “have tos”) to living from a place of opportunity (the “get tos” and “want tos”).

...from feeling overextended because you’re afraid of disappointing others to consistently saying the word “no” with love, and seeing how it brings relief to yourself and others.

...from frantically rushing around, wolfing down meals without tasting them and leaving the house like a tornado to mindfully moving through your life, savoring your food and getting calmly into your car each morning.

...from mercilessly beating yourself up over simple mistakes to giving yourself grace for being a human being who is doing the best she can.

...from seeing vulnerability as weakness to understanding real strength happens in the moments you can fall apart and allow yourself to be supported in the breakdown (or breakthrough!).

...from thinking you have to do everything yourself, beloved martyr you, to realizing that you can ask for help, collaborate and enjoy the process.

...from shutting down your creative desires as being unrealistic to exploring them slowly, steadily and with childish glee.

...from meeting your reflection in the mirror with judgment (“The pounds, wrinkles and problem features!”) to saying a real “thank you” to your body for steadfastly carrying you through this lifetime.

...from spending most of your energy trying to keep up an image of having it “together” to spending most of your energy caring for yourself and your loved ones, during your moments of togetherness and your moments of falling apart.

...from believing that voice that keeps whispering “you’re alone in this world” to seeing the myriad ways you get to connect to the people you’re with every day.

...from feeling lost in your own suffering to realizing you can be of service to others who are also suffering ( this service is what truly sets you free).

***

Wishing you the miraculous energy that shifting to a place of self-care can bring!

With care,
Gracy