Buy this product! Take a pamper day! Do this therapy! Go on this retreat!
Unless we’ve somehow amassed a small fortune of time, money- or both to spend, it can seem like “self-care” is a practice not really available to us-
And as we lament over what could be; sipping support with Goddesses around a fire in Bali, or finding that Jiminey Cricket like conscience we’ve always wanted in a therapist, or even just having an afternoon to yourself- our idea of self-care grinds to a halt. Waiting, for that golden opportunity for when we’ve achieved such a fortune, we can now finally indulge in our health.
But, like we explored in What is Self-Care there’s a lot more to it than just “indulgent” ways of practising.
And no two people will practice it the same either-
Meaning, that throwing a bunch of practice methods at you to get you going in this time you’re essentially still poking sticks around in the dark, trying to figure out what self-care is to you- there’s a good chance whatever technique, or method I share- it’s probably not going to resonate with you yet.
Why won’t they resonate? Head on over to the last post “What is Self-Care” to find out more…
So for this post on ideas to get you started, I thought I’d share actual ideas rather than ways of practising, to help you try get to grips with integrating the healthier self-care choices you want to make (or even find out what those are).
On that note, please remember I’ am not a health-care professional, life-coach, or professional of any kind. I’m just an everyday gal, figuring out how to have a consciously healthy life on this floating rock in space, without it costing that entire rock…
And on that notes note, our first idea-
#1: Own It
Your well-being, is your responsibility. Own it, cause no-one else will. They can’t, cause they’re probably trying to place their responsibility onto something or someone else too, or they’ve figured out this idea.
The idea being that you can see all the health-care professionals in the world, hire all the coaches you want, drown yourself in aromatherapy oils- but if you’re placing all the control and responsibility you have over your well-being into the hands of the product or service, getting to stand on your own two feet without them will remain a struggle.
If you aren’t committing to the responsibility of your own well-being and remain relying on others, or other things to fulfil your needs for you- whilst these products and services may help you in the immediate moment, their purpose of helping you get to a healthier place where you aren’t solely dependent on them is a bit redundant…
Which leads us on to the second idea-
#2: Do The Work
Only you, know you best. Which is why alongside owning your responsibility, putting in the work behind that responsibility, is equally as important. And by doing the “work”, really, what I mean is to ASK QUESTIONS.
Question everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.
What do I want out of self-care? Why am I gravitating toward this in my life right now? Why a I looking to improve my self-care? How can I simply, and healthily start working toward those things? What obstacles might I face? How can I overcome them?
Asking questions is what’s going to help you lead yourself into organically growing a supportive self-care practice, and powering through what I like to call stage 2: Aware Self-Care. (I have a free e-book to download of a 30 day journal series that’ll help you start questioning your self-care methods and what to do about them if you want a little kick-start!)
Then using the answers to your questions to begin to research, explore, and-
#3: Go Shopping With Your Limitations:
One of the beautiful things about self-care, is the versatility in its ways of being practiced- and if you’re willing to do a little digging, there’s a wealth of free tools tips, practices and such out there that can help with our self-care exploration…
From asking your questions and following the trail that leads you to wanting to try something pro-active toward your self-care, you can use the knowledge you’ve learnt to find methods that align with you, your life, your interests…
As an example, say you really feel therapy is really needed as part of your optimal self-care strategy. But, you’re faced with the limitation of not being able to afford it financially for the foreseeable future, and, for whatever reason, cannot access free services. What do you do?
Give up on the idea entirely until you can?
Or, could you still go “shopping” (actively work toward this part of your self-care) with these limitations?
Like, researching types of therapy and practitioners you resonate with, listening to any of their talks, podcasts, or reading any of their posts online- giving yourself a more concrete idea of what and who you need for when you can go to therapy, but also, thanks to the golden age of social media, there’s many practitioners now using their online space to promote a range of resources and ideas to help support you in your self-exploration from the comfort of home. Bonus!
Kick-start your self-care thinking…
With a free, 30 day journal series available to download as an e-book! Packed with meditations, breath-work, and journal prompts designed with self-care in mind.
#4: Start Simple
A lot of us have the tendency when starting anything new, is to go ALL IN. Radically changing ourselves and our lifestyle over-night in an attempt to fit with this new way of being we want to experience.
Problem with this though, not only can our current demands of life not support it, but neither can our brains.
Excitedly putting together a new, intensive self-care routine to try might seem like a great pro-active step forward, but as we’ll look into in our last idea, life just doesn’t stop until we’ve figured out how to fit with this new way of being. Things will crop up that will knock us off this course from time to time, as our brains adjust to adopting your new choices, no matter what life throws at you.
We don’t push our bodies into a ridiculously advanced exercise the first day of working out, expecting to come out of it radically different- which is essentially what you’re doing to your brain- expecting it to dramatically change how it’s used to functioning, just because you’ve recognised you want to change something. Like our bodies, it needs time to adjust to the new demands we’re placing on it in adopting healthier choices toward taking care of ourselves.
Light exercises first, light changes as we build up strength and steam growing more comfortable with what we’re doing.
So rather than commit to one big “workout” a week or month of seeing to your needs (which as you know, is unlikely to go in the way expected, if at all), work with what you’ve got, not what you hope you’ll have…
Like, using that time between bed and sleep to stop phone scrolling to do something more pro-active toward getting a better night’s rest. Or gratitude “journaling” in the shower, voicing what you’re thankful for the little mood boost that comes with appreciative thoughts-
Just because it sees like your day is so impossibly full to fit anything else in it, doesn’t mean that what’s in it already, can’t be better refined to what you need!
At the end of the day, a minute here, thirty seconds there- it all adds up. You’re more likely to see results (your brain automatically reverting to these healthier self-care decisions) faster this way than only exercising your self-care time every once in a while.
#5: Bring a “First-Aid Kit”:
As we get to grips with optimally practising healthier self-care, we’re going to get chucked out the saddle, a lot. Especially in the beginning…
Like I said, the brain, like the body isn’t designed to support quick change. It needs practice, repetition- both of which take time. And whilst it’s trying to support you in adopting your new self-care decisions, it’s also got a lot on its plate, juggling supporting your body, and helping you with everything else that’s going on with your day…
Sometimes, something might happen that causes it to drop the ball. In an attempt to recover, it might resort to old, familiar ways of coping with whatever has got you in a fluster, not yet knowing how to apply the new self-care decisions to this particular scenario yet.
(Check out this great post by Brooke Kasir on the brain science behind making habits stick)
Placing this demand of change on your brain- it’s part of the responsibility to your overall well-being to help it get back on track when life disruptions causes your new self-care habits to fly out the window. To help us do that, it helps to have a “first-aid kit…”
This kit contains tools, practices, techniques you can employ to refocus you and your brain back to working together to adopting the healthier self-care choices. In the beginning, we might not know what these are- and it’s like we’re trying to conduct surgery with a tooth-pick, but the more you explore the first few ideas we looked at, the more things you’ll be able to add to your kit!
I think the most important thing of all behind these ideas though, is to have patience with yourself. And, remembering to celebrate the small achievements.
For those of you interested in some simple techniques and practices you can look into as self-care options- even for your first aid kit, subscribe in the sidebar to be notified when it’s up for you to read!