How To Fill Your Well: A Self Care Guide
I’ve heard the term “self-care” a lot— usually when describing getting a pedicure or going for a massage. But what does self care actually mean? I guess the title itself is self explanatory… Self care literally means taking care of yourself. But not in the “get up, brush your teeth, eat your vegetables kind of way”. Self care is about nurturing all the aspects of you. Physical, spiritual, and emotional.
I like to think of it as self preservation.
The concept seems simple but so often we focus on the care of others, and not the care of ourselves. Self care means doing things for yourself that nurture you. After all, you can’t give from a well that’s empty!
So, the more I heard about self care, the more I thought about how I could add a self care practice to my life. We’ve all heard the homage of self care being a spa day, or taking a day off from work. And while YES both of these things are definitely self care there are a myriad of things you can do to show yourself some love, and recharge. As with most things self care is a different spokes for different folks situation. You’ll have to try things, and find what out what works for you.
Here are a few things I love to do for my self care:
Reiki (Pronounced ray-key): I feel like our spiritual health is one of the first things we “let go”. At least for me it was. I moved through this fast paced life always on the go go go.. without stopping to process, or consider the impact my lifestyle was having on my spirit. Once I became so exhausted and so depleted I couldn’t function. I didn’t understand why I felt this way. That’s when I found Reiki through my good friend Stella Metzner. She is a Reiki practitioner, and recommended I try the practice. She was right, during the session I could literally feel layers of stress fall away. With her holding space, and acting as my Reiki practitioner I was able to see deeper truths. I was able to release and heal aspects of myself that had fallen by the wayside. This is why I love the practice of Reiki. Reiki healing is a form of energy work in which the practitioner lays hands on the recipient, bringing universal healing energy to different parts of the body, mind, and spirit in order to remove blockages, open channels, and return people to a general state of health and well-being.
Most sessions last about an hour, and the experience can vary from person to person. Not everyone has a huge spiritual release. But at the very least Reiki allows the recipient to feel completely relaxed and enter a state of meditation.
Salt Baths: They say salt water is the cure for everything. Tears, and the ocean. What I love about salt baths is they can address body and spirit all at once! Spiritually speaking, salt baths can cleanse your aura, and help remove negative energy. Physically speaking, many forms of salt are a fantastic source of magnesium. Which is why one of my favorite forms of self care is taking a nice long soak, in warm salt water. I like to use epsom salt, sea salt, or pink Himalayan salt. Each type of salt has different properties and will have a different effect. For example epsom salt is an excellent source of magnesium. I also like to amp my baths up by adding essential oils to the water. A few drops of Lavender oil (mixed with jojoba oil to prevent quick evaporation) is one of my favorites for relaxing.
Please note that essential oils are quite strong, and may affect everyone differently. If you decide to use them do research before hand!
Exercise: Some people love working out, others hate it. Truth be told…for a long time I thought I hated exercising. This mostly came from my experiences with fitness in PE classes in middle and high school. But once I learned how to work out, and what kind of exercise I like… my whole perspective changed. Now, I enjoy my time in the gym. It’s a time for me to connect with my body, and really ground in my skin. Nothing is more meditative to me, then getting on the bike, turning the music up, closing my eyes, and going to town. Sure the other people in the gym may think I’m weird for furiously biking with my eyes closed.. but I love it! I love getting my heart rate up, and I love the strength I feel in my legs. Those endorphins don’t hurt either!
Say No: This is another one that seems simple.. But how many times have I pushed myself too far because I didn’t want to let someone down? Or because I had the dreaded FOMO? This is where the emotional well being comes in. I have often felt obligated to take on projects, invest my time, etc because I’ve felt like the needs of others (friends, family, work) were more important than my own. But guess what…They’re not! You can’t give your best to those you love, if you’re not fulfilled. Sometimes I think the hardest, but most obvious way to take care of you is to learn how to say no. Let a co-worker take on that extra project at work, tell your friends you can’t go out because you need extra sleep, tell your family you love them, but you need to take a day for you. Prioritizing yourself doesn’t make you selfish… it shows those around you that you love yourself enough to invest in your own wellbeing. Sometimes saying NO to something (that doesn’t serve you) is the best form of self-care.
The point is this: We deserve the same care and love we’d give to friends or a family member. We aren’t robots! We need to nurture ourselves, the way we’d nurture someone we love. We are worthy, and we deserve it! So carve out some time, and show yourself some love! Whether it’s taking a long salt bath, going for a walk in nature, or splurging on that massage! Develop a self-care practice that will make you feel revived. Remember theres no right way to practice self care, so find what works for you! At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you did.