Anger. Frustration. Hope. Anxiety. Regret. Shame. Curiosity. Fear. Overwhelm. Optimism.
Emotions are running higher than ever and for good reason. And when emotions run high, we must have systems in place to practice self-care.
What is self-care?
When we are in a heightened emotional state for an extended period of time, our nervous system becomes overworked. We struggle to achieve a relaxed state of being, we start to feel exhausted, and our creativity and problem-solving abilities decline.
This all tends to happen at the very times when we need INCREASED mental clarity, connection, and creativity in order to create the outcomes that are most desirable for ourselves and the greater good. If we don't make space to manage our physical and emotional responses - we risk burnout. This makes us less available for the important issues that need our attention.
Self-care refers to making time for behaviors and activities that allow you to calm your sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight response), activate your parasympathetic nervous system (rest/digest), and tune into your own physical and mental state. When we are tuned into our own experience, we think more clearly, solutions become more apparent, and we preserve our energy.
Self-care activities are things you enjoy doing in the moment, not things you "get through" to be glad to you did them. For example, I run because it helps me disperse extra energy and I feel good when it's OVER, but I don't necessarily consider that self-care because I don't truly enjoy it while I'm running.
On the other hand, I LOVE hiking - moving my body, the sound of water and birds, the wind in the trees, all of it. I truly feel like I tune into myself and relax while I'm doing it. Big difference!
Self-care is not selfish
Self-care is the number one way to promote your own health, happiness, and wellbeing. And believe me, this benefits everyone that you serve. When you are feeling your best, you create more opportunities for others to achieve the same. Trust me enough to try it and soon you'll see for yourself 🙂
It's OK if, at first, you feel a bit guilty taking time for yourself, especially if you are used to spending most of your time taking care of everyone else with little focus on your own needs. Just remember that 1. You deserve to feel good (you are worthy, just as you are!), no matter what, and 2. Other people actually benefit when you feel your best. So - win-win.
You'll have to play around with different activities to find out what self-care practices feel best for you. Some of my favorites include:
- Epsom salts baths
- Sitting with my bare feet in the grass
- Going outside and listening to the birds
You can get started with just 5-10 minutes per day. It doesn't take long to create a break for your nervous system once you set the intention to do so!
Leave me a comment and let me know - what is your favorite form of self-care?