The art of self-care.
"Self-care is all about getting yourself fed, dressed and washed, and to generally function in the world." But is this really what self-care's all about? If so, why not learn how to do all those things with some extra love and care! It is believed, that caring for oneself is making you feel the best version of yourself and hence you naturally let the good things in your life grow and you end up having more to contribute to the world. On the other hand, feeling unhappy makes you more self-absorbed and as a result prevents you from putting any energy on the things you love or the people around you.
The first thing to remember is that you shouldn't wait for the right moment to start complimenting yourself. That perfect moment will never come. You don't need extra time, a day already has plenty of hours. Self-care is neither about getting a make-over or buying a new pair of trendy shoes, but simply to be more engaged in your life. It is about taking a moment off to locate yourself more in your present life and assimilate where you are at right now and how you can make that better. Focus more on what you need rather than what you want to have.
Nourish, nurture, resource, recharge, refuel, love and kindness are the essence of self-care.
For each one of us practising self-care could be a totally different experience. For me the essence of it lies in the few moments I take off each night before going to bed. While Carlos is already asleep, I can then take a moment with myself and reflect on all the things that concern me, my fears, my blessings and the list goes on. I used to spend more time contemplating in the past but as the years went by and responsibilities have grown, making up time alone is getting more and more difficult. Thankfully, I am a list type of person. I organise my life in to-do lists and it really helps keeping me on track of things. So to begin with, let's have a quick look on a couple of first steps towards a more mindful self-care.
- Healthy eating shouldn't be a petty business or an urge to follow the list of the '10 hottest places to eat a quinoa bowl in London'. You eat what you like eating whether is looking good on your Instagram or not. I realised with time that the healthiest dishes are the ones I am usually craving for, especially these days. Food doesn't necessarily need to 'look good' in order to be delicious. It's a multi-sensory experience. So, take a moment to prepare your meal with care. Have you ever noticed that usually if one day you don't have a proper meal, or you aren't happy with what you've eaten you are not feeling great about it, and you're probably even spending some energy thinking over it?
- Recently, one of the things I regret -almost every single day- is not being less lazy when it comes to proper exercising. But exercise is not the only way you can care for your body. Rest, have a long bath, a massage, do a facial, contemplate with yourself. It's important to check in with your body and mind on a daily basis. The last few months I have been trying really hard going to bed before midnight. For most of my life I'd been keeping myself up and busy till late hours. The lockdown appeared to be a great opportunity to change that. Working from home and saving all commuting time, has given me the extra time I needed to perform the things I usually do in less time. This time could also be a great time for some of us, given the circumstances to build our resources and fill ourselves with energy for future days.
As a human being, you can choose to focus on what you have and not on what you don't have. Sometimes people exhaust themselves living in fear of missing out (FOMO). This is a lost battle, however. There is always going to be someone that has more, is looking better, or earning more. Practising gratitude and being thankful for what you have, could actually help make you learn to be more happy and sufficient with exactly what you've got. Enjoy life as it is and love yourself as you are. Be honest with yourself is the best advice one can give you!
Part II will follow :)