The Unvoiced Aspects of Self-Care: Part Two

Monday, July 24, 2017

Image via Cate Willis
NOTE: This post is PART TWO of a mini-series on true and long-lasting care for ourselves. In the previous post, we talked basics of this deemed buzz-word "self-care". You can view the article HERE.

Now that we know what self-care is and isn't, what does it practically look like? And, how can we actively day in and day out practice this authentic type of care for ourselves?

01 | Establishing Routine 

Treating ourselves feels good in the moment, while self-care honors our value for both today and days to come. Indulging in routine and rituals is just one way we can celebrate our worth. Whether it be a weekly coffee date with an encouraging friend or setting daily "alone-time", adding practical care into our schedule allows us go through life hopeful and with peace of mind. Even simply giving yourself time for a proper meal in the morning and a moment to read or converse with your spouse, family or roommate can allow you to slow down and invest in your day.

RESOURCES: 
My friend, Sawyer, has great recipes and a genuine outlook on health over on The Wholesome Blog. Sawyer was featured on H&H earlier this summer sharing "Summer Recipes Even a Gilmore Could Make".

02 | Making Time & Space to Reflect 

When we go through life without taking the time to reflect on what is actually happening, it eventually catches up with us. That is why it is so vital to give ourselves the space to recall and contemplate our days. This does not have to be a daily habit, but implementing some sort of reflecting time often is important. This can be through writing, talking it out with a friend or simply giving ourselves the mind-space to think. Ah, yes, thinking. It's good for you.

RESOURCES:
a) A quality notebook. My trusty favorite is by Shinola.
b) On a solo drive? Try out "auditory journaling" by utilizing voice recording on your iPhone.
c) A designated physical space to reflect in. This can look like a lot of things, but ultimately this should be a space you know you will not be distracted or interrupted that also provides peace and familiarity. Mine is either a local coffee shop or solo-driving down my favorite road.


Image via Cate Willis 
03 | Seeking Counseling 

This is a hard one to talk about, but I can say from personal experience of counseling in different years and seasons of my life that it has proved to be one of the best decisions I have made to care for myself. Allowing a professional to walk beside us in a difficult period of our life is not something we should feel ashamed of. Consider this: we care for our body through seeing a doctor and our mind through various education, yet why don't we take the time or space to care for our emotions and feelings? In recent years, seeing a counselor has been seen as a failure or weakness (though that stigma is slowly but surely changing!), when in reality it is a simply a wise decision to care for ourselves in our need. (Plus, seeking wise counsel is not only smart, but biblical!)

RESOURCES:

I cannot give specific people or places due to the both the variety of locations and needs of my readership, but I encourage you to take the time to poke around on the Internet for counseling services in your area. (FYI: For those in college, many campuses provide free counseling services for students and faculty. Also, many places of worship provide services as well.)

04 | Making Clear What Is and Isn't Okay

Ooo, yes - boundaries. Boundaries with yourself, family, friends, coworkers, etc. are such an important aspect of caring for yourself. When we do not view ourselves as important or worthy, we lack being about to discern - and declare those discernments, too - what is and isn't okay. And, that is what boundaries are in Brene Brown's definition: what is and isn't okay.

Setting up practical boundaries with others and ourselves can be evaluating friendships by taking a deeper look into relationships to see if they encourage and build or if it perhaps is a toxic relationship that may need to end. For me, one way I have been practicing this is through staying true to my commitments while also being aware of the need to say no. (How I know when to say no: I am either emotionally or physically exhausted, knowing we would benefit more from another time when we are both available to fully show up.) Boundaries are a learned and practiced process for most of us: learning how to determine a work/life balance, learning how to have hard conversations with family & friends, learning how to not let your mind wander to unhealthy places. Therefore, boundaries practiced well with intention and forgiveness.

RESOURCES:
a)  Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend
b)  Rising Strong by Brene Brown (Honestly, any of Brene's work is very helpful to this subject.)
c) Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
d)  "How to Handle a Friend Who Wants Too Much of You" by Rachel Brown via Darling Magazine

Image via Cate Willis
It is in the simple things. And, since I only have first-hand experience with my life, here are a few ordinary ways I am choosing to care for myself (besides stopping with the Pop-Tarts everyday):

01 | Regularly purchasing the melatonin medicine that works and helps me sleep through the night rather than the cute on-sale decor item I see at Target. I know consistent, quality sleep is far better for me to get through each day rather than a throw pillow.
02 | Getting out of the house an hour before I need to be at work for a coffee date with myself to recharge and rest.
03 | Saying "yes" over and over to sharing in community with others. Even when I am tired. Or would just rather watch Master of None on Netflix for the evening. Surrounding myself with people that love me well and push me towards truth is the biggest gift (and, far better than Netflix any day).

And, I asked over on Instagram ways you care for yourself. Here are a few of my favorites:

@ratchelroberts: "I use essential oils in this fancy diffuser I bought on amazon. I also bought a fancy robe from Free People because more often than not I find myself wanting to prance around in a pink silky dream." (Same, girl, SAME)
@tori_foushee: "Journaling! Helps clear my mind and keeps me somewhat organized."
@thekindpilot: "Running regularly. Clears my head and that breaking a sweat and clocking the (pretty small) amount of miles feels good."
@kaesturg: "Alone time is just so valuable. Doing literally anything by yourself is refreshing."
@elainemacq: "Hot lemon water instead of coffee every morning." (Guilty culprit on the latter.)

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Caring for ourselves should not be a luxury, but a necessity in our daily life. To give ourselves the permission to intentionally take care of our needs and desires is a beautiful, brave creative endeavor that points to the immense value and worth we obtain.

Join the Conversation: How do you care for yourself in the day-to-day?
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by mlekoshi