What Self-Care Means to Me

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When Mara and Tamarisk – two gorgeous, brilliant women – asked me to participate in their Perfectly Imperfect Project blog-hop and write about the topic of self-care, I started thinking:

What does ‘self-care’ actually mean to me?

 

In the realm of self-love – encompassing (and not limited to) self-worth, self-respect, self-forgiveness, self-esteem and self-acceptance – where I landed was that self-care is the practice of taking care of yourself to nourish and recharge your mind, body and spirit, every day.

It’s the decision (self-responsibility) that we make to care for ourselves, often in lieu of “doing more” or “attempting to be more,” and it can be as simple as getting up from the computer every half an hour to stretch, or as decadent as a weekend at a health retreat. With a score of feel-good activities in between.

For me personally, and this is different for everyone, self-care is the distinction between a familiar statement like: “Once I finish this I’ll be able to relax/ do something nice/ take a breather” vs. “I’m always worthy of the same care that I extend to others.” (just saying that feels awesome).

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Self-care. In action. How does it play out in my life?

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FIRSTLY: By giving myself permission. To create space for myself in my life and to slow things right down so I can meet myself where I’m at.

THEN: It’s about paying attention to my energy. And asking: what would I be able to do better if I felt grounded, nurtured, free and full of energy? What’s keeping me from taking care of myself, and what one thing can I do to shift this immediately?

More specifically… 

SELF-CARE FOR “BUSINESS ME” MEANS…

 

Acknowledging when I’ve done enough for the day, flipping the computer lid down and disconnecting (completely). Email-free weekends – yep, even when it’s tempting to just “get ‘em done.” Reviewing my schedule, then asking for – and freely receiving – help to lighten the load. Doing less (which in reality, is always more). Lovingly saying no, or: “Self-care is a big priority for me right now, and that means I’m not available this time round (but thank you so much, I’m honoured to be asked).” Leaving space in my schedule for spontaneous play, random juice dates or a 3pm yoga class. Gently reminding myself that I am not my work. 

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SELF-CARE ON A BODY LEVEL MEANS… 

 

Waking at 5, in bed by 9:30. Getting my tight shoulders cracked/ released/ aligned by an osteopath. Yoga. Pilates. A long run. Movement, movement, movement. Getting my hair done and switching my phone off, pouring over a magazine I’d normally never usually buy and saying hell yes to the fancy blow dry… purely because it feels good. Drinking plenty of water for a clear head and skin that glows. Heading to a kinesiology session to find out what my body really needs. Listening, and asking: what are you hungry for, body o-mine? More greens? Less sugar? A grounding meal? A sleep in? Treating food as nourishment, not a response to an (emotional) craving. 

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FOR MY MIND, SELF-CARE MEANS… 

 

Mono-tasking – even when (especially when) my head is screaming ‘But there’s so much to do.” Losing hours in the pages of a good book. Deleting the social media apps from my phone and starting the day with a visualisation, instead of a thumb-to-screen scroll through other people’s lives (and moods). Tech breaks, full stop. Tuning in to teleseminars that teach, inspire, uplift. Cranking iTunes between clients and shaking it all out, head to toe, booty ‘n’ all. Evaluating whether I’ve taken on a commitment out of guilt or obligation. Forgiving myself, and planning a better response for next time.

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+ ON A SOUL/ SPIRIT FRONT, SELF-CARE PLAYS OUT AS…

 

Keeping a promise I’ve made to myself. Going outside, stretching my hands up above my head and silently mouthing thank youMeditating – with music, or in silence. At home or at the beach. Wherever I’m called. Journalling – big ideas in colour, support thoughts scrawled over many pages. Dreams and self-love notes. Making things with my hands for the sheer joy of creating. Ushering more pleasure into my life – laughter, intimacy, sensuality, the best piece of chocolate I can get my hands on. Lying in bed and staring out the window, doing nothing, and being happy there. An hour-long phone chat in the middle of the day, just ’cause. Looking behind overwhelm and busyness and asking: “What’s really going on here, honey?” Identifying and letting go.

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All that sounds so lush (right?!) but when it comes to tending to me, I’m certainly not perfect. I know how good it feels to honour my mind-body-spirit, and still I screw it up.

I over-commit. I leave things to the last minute and have to rearrange, well, pretty much everything, to accommodate my procrastination. Exercise sessions are missed . That afternoon off I’d scheduled? Gone.

I forget that I’m in control of my schedule.

I forget that I’m in control of my life.

I future-trip to Fantasy Land: “Oh yeah, I’m totally going to do {amazing thing} once I get through this mountain of must-do’s.”

What I also do, though, is love and respect who I am enough do this self-care thing imperfectly. Some days I nail it, completely tuned into my energy and what feels “right”. Others, I crawl into bed at night and realise I’ve just let out a breath I’ve been holding onto all day.

And it’s all OK.

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“Accept yourself. Love yourself as you are. Your finest work, your best movements, your joy, peace, and healing comes when you love yourself. You give a great gift to the world when you do that. You give others permission to do the same: to love themselves. Revel in self-love. Roll in it. Bask in it as you would sunshine.” ~ Melodie Beattie

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YOUR TURN BEAUTIFUL:

What does self-care mean for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below – share your practices, your struggles, how you feel when you’re making time for you.

This post is part of Mara and Tamarisk’s self-care blog hop — inspiring posts from 19 bloggers telling the truth about their own self-care. You can read all the posts by clicking the badge above. Big thanks M + T – so honoured to be part of this! x

Images: The Yard | Poppytalk

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26 Comments to “What Self-Care Means to Me”

  1. Such beautiful wisdom and insights lovely, I echo so many of the thoughts you have shared. Practicing self-care for me has often been an internal struggle, it has taken me many years (and I’ve only recently gotten the hang of it!) to be okay with prioritising me; above clients, above demands, above family and friends, above the clock. Countless times in the past (as you know!) I have pushed through low energy and compromised my health so as not to potentially let another person down or fail to complete a task. I have at times prided myself on a masterful balancing act that left me exhausted. Self care for me today means scheduling in time for me, for my relationships and all the little things that light up my life and not negotiating on those commitments. It has been learning to say ‘I wish I could but sorry I can’t’ and finally for me, it is being conscious of how I nourish my body, fuel my mind and nurture my dreams and aspirations xx

  2. Hi Rach,
    I was just working on a post this afternoon on this very topic. Self care to me is really, honestly listening to yourself at the highest level – then honouring what you hear. This way you can’t get it wrong. Your true self always knows exactly what you need in any given moment. Our job is to listen, then act.
    Beautiful post – thank you.
    x

  3. Totally beautiful post, Rach. I’m in love with it and sharing it now!

    I am on the road to incorporating these things. Just today I was working my butt off, felt a bit icky and decided to go and get my hair washed and blow dried. It was just a little suburban salon down the road and can you believe it only cost $27, but I feel a million bucks! So worth it.

    Tomorrow I’m coming down to Burleigh to hang with Tara and try out the kinesiologist you rave about – go self care!

    xx

  4. I need some time to process what ‘self-care’ means to me but I had to let you know this post resonated with me so much today!
    Perfect timing and a little message to me to take a ‘night-off’ and curl up in bed with a book.

    Thank you.

    Xx

  5. Cara: I loved reading this – boundaries, loving “no’s,” fueling up, prioritising you. Really beautiful honey and from our conversations, I know how important committing to this is for your health.

    The part: “It is being conscious of how I…. nurture my dreams and aspirations” really spoke to me, because it’s our dreams that require the kind of big, creative energy that comes as a result of a regular self-care practice. x

    Helen: “Self care to me is really, honestly listening to yourself at the highest level – then honouring what you hear” <---- THIS! You wise woman, you. Thank you. x Alana: Thanks lovely! The little things really are the big things (as illustrated wonderfully here). You’re going to LOVE Anita, enjoy your sesh tomorrow. x

  6. Gorgeous post, thanks so much for sharing. My automatic thoughts on what self care means to me were having respect for my mind and body and being honest with these. It’s an area I’d love to think about more thoroughly over the weekend and see what else comes to light.
    Thanks – Lou @ The Honesty Path

  7. Your morning routine sounds lovingly similar to mine – My absolute favourite time of the day!

    Self-care means a lot of things to me but primarily it comes down to living with intention and ensuring my pitcher remains half full, so that I can show up for myself and others in the way I want.

    Last year, one of my main self-care practices was learning how to say No – with grace and firmness.

  8. Beautiful, stunning, amazing post my love! You have such a gorgeous way with words. Every one spoke to my soul. Love! x

  9. Oh My Gosh Rach! I was just telling a friend last week that from now own I will be “uni-tasking” instead of multi-tasking. Loved hearing the universe speak to me through your blog saying YES!

    Great article – as always!!

  10. So WOW, I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve commented here! (It really has. Taking a break from the blogosphere – but still reading – has really been my form of self-care, I think.)

    Self-care to me, at this moment, is listening to my dreams. When I’m job-hunting (ah, the long-awaited “big girl job”), I’m looking more for what I’m interested in doing, rather than what I’m qualified to do. If that means taking a couple of internships to get there, then so be it.

    It’s becoming a challenge for me to apply that self-care to my body and daily routine. My part-time job never has a set schedule, and so it’s been rough trying to figure out my routine and adjust it to that. But all things that are worth it, are worth working hard for.

    I’m also actually listening to my dreams – in the sense that I’m allowing them to come out into the open. I’ve told a few family members and friends about my blog, so now I feel more inspired to actually update it – and do blog-worthy things, hahaha. ;) I’m also in the process of writing a novel – and I’m getting re-excited about it, after a couple of months of just blah.

    Self-care comes in many different forms, and it’s wonderful to read about everyone’s. <3

    xoxo

    P.S. – Have kept myself updated on happenings here on InSB, and can I just say CONGRATS on leaving your job?? We're all so proud of you for following your heart and dreams. :)

  11. A beautiful post! One of the things I’ve learned is that just because I’m good at something in a professional sense doesn’t mean it’s good FOR me. About 5 years ago, was the first time I said no to a freelance role that wasn’t going to be good for me and it felt so amazing that I still remember that moment clearly and haven’t looked back since.

  12. Totally need to read that right now honey. I realised today that I have taken on WAYYYYY too much. I get so excited but then realise holy cow where the heck am I going to fit that all in.

    So here’s to coming out of fifth gear and back into second or even first.

  13. Thanks for the amazing post, Rach! I absolutely love what you said about self-care for business. I couldn’t agree with you more. Doing less (but keeping busy) in the end gives me so much more satisfaction than running around like a crazy person and losing focus. Plus, taking the time throughout the day to really give my body what it needs is so hard to do but SO necessary. Love it! xo

  14. Love, love, loved this post, Rach! As you know, self-care is big on my agenda right now and I connected with everything you said – taking a breather, looking after our physical self, getting outside, mono-tasking. So spot on! Another thing that helps for my self-care is enveloping myself in the goodness of blogs like yours – letting the words wash over me, comfort me, and lift me up. x

  15. Lou: Yay. A pretty lovely thing to ponder. x

    Kirri: When a no is said with grace and firmness – and confidence – 99% of the time it’s understood (no wishy-washy, leaving people hanging stuff). Here’s to more loving no’s. x

    Jess: Oh honey, thank you! Loved seeing your name pop up in here. You’re the queen of self-care and a fantastic model for me now that I’m running my own biz. x

    Maggie: Synchronicity! x

    Mara: Thank YOU for asking – loved putting those thoughts down in a post. Keep rocking it girl. x

    Katy: Welcome back! Ooh I just got a big ol’ surge of YESSSS! reading this. Your dream IS worth it babe. x

    Sara: Thank you for being here. x

    Lucent Imagery: Nailed it. x

    Mel: Haha, we just want to do All of the Things (like, now) don’t we? I love your cranking back the gears analogy and can’t wait for some extremely relaxing good times with you next weekend. x

    Jacq: Glad this one hit the spot for you gorgeous. It’s a work in progress this self-care business but always (ALWAYS) means better energy (not frazzled, racy, edgy energy) is being poured into our work/ relationships etc and so on.

    From where I’m standing, the tides are turning in the land of “work” and the old ideal of smashing yourself into the ground and striving relentlessly are being replaced by work that’s done from a foundation of love and tender care. Pretty freaking exciting if you ask me. x

    Kylie: You don’t know how happy it makes me to hear you honouring your beautiful self like that! x

  16. Rach this post was so well timed!! It can be really hard to slow down when there are a million things you hope to achieve. Sometimes it feels like I’m standing in my own way – nope, don’t have time to sleep in or spend a night relaxing, must be productive!! Of course, this ends up being counter productive and eventually our body lets us know.

    Thanks for the lovely reminder to indulge in a little TLC more often, and for being honest about how this can be hard at times. xx

  17. Em: Bang on sweets. Giving the body what it needs WHEN it needs it prevents the inevitable (throws hands up in the air) “That’s it! I’ve had enough!” x

    Erin: Love you right back girl! X

    Susana: Sending you love babe x

    • Hannah: I listen to teleseminars from Kris Carr/ Marie Forleo/ Danielle LaPorte/ Gabby Bernstein and also watch a bunch of interviews and motivational/ spiritual stuff on YouTube. Hay House radio online is brilliant too. x

  18. OMG, thank you for this. I mean, really, THANK YOU! As a person who decided to leave my job to become a full-time entrepreneur, I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care, what it means to me and its importance. The truth is that when you are working for yourself, it’s up to you to set your own boundaries and to know when it’s time to stop. After working 20 hour for 5 days straight, I realized that I need to allow myself to rest and snap the computer shut to spend some quality time with my boy-friend and friends. Taking these breaks to relax and truly disconnecting allowed me to renew my energy and creativity. I come back to work with even more zest!

    This is awesome!

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