According to the Oxford Dictionary, self-care is defined as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health. Taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, especially during periods of stress.”
As an entrepreneur, mom of 3 children (plus 3 cats + 1 dog), a wife, a homeowner, a daughter, and a sister, I have had many roles and responsibilities to juggle over the years. It slowly became a habit to put the needs of others first. We have all heard that saying “You need to look after yourself and put your oxygen mask on first or you are no good to anyone else”. There are no truer words. Why do we not prioritize ourselves? So many answers can be discovered by asking yourself this simple question.
A friend took a photo of me a few weeks back and it struck me to see that how I was feeling on the inside showed on the outside. I looked tired (exhausted really!), my face was puffy, there was no energy in my posture, and my hair needed to be styled. I thought this is not me and not who I want to present to the world. It was the end of accepting old habits and the beginning of working on starting new ones. Life is short and our physical and mental health matter. There will always be the to-do list so put yourself at the top of the list.
There are a few things I have learned over the years. First, there is no one coming to save you. You are IT. When I saw that photo, I immediately said to myself “this is ENOUGH”. I started booking more yoga classes, taking the time for walking and prioritizing myself throughout my day. I am not 100% consistent yet but my morning routine includes meditating, diffusing essential oils (we know where to help you find some *wink wink*), moving my body with yoga or a walk and writing my morning pages to clear my busy mind. Morning pages are free flowing writing about anything that comes to mind until you fill 3-5 pages. It doesn’t need to make sense, the thoughts and ideas don’t need to flow. Find a nice pen, a nice journal and set you mind free. It’s interesting to see what comes up.
Self-care is choosing YOU. Start a daily day practice of what makes you feel good, and it will change your life. I promise. For me it is not going straight to my phone or laptop. I admit it is easier said than done! Start your day with the practices that feed your body, mind and soul. How you start your day, sets the stage for the day and impacts everything you do.
On International Self-Care Day today, I encourage you to choose ONE thing that is focused on looking after you. Book that massage, make time for a quiet cup of coffee, consume more water, move your body, get out in nature. Whatever will make the biggest impact for you. Slow and steady changes will become life changing shifts. Congratulations on your first step.