Self care is the buzzword. But, it’s not as simple as it sounds if you’re seeking to create deep connection within yourself. There are layers to it! If you’re in the self care movement for the long haul, here’s a blueprint that breaks it down.
I know, it’s obvious. Yet many of us aren’t used to doing it and that makes it challenging. Most of us have learned to equate productivity and business to success. Therefore, not doing makes us feel lazy or worthless. Initially, slowing down may cause you to panic, to feel emotions you’ve ignored before. That discomfort alone may cause some of you to give up. However, learning to pause is the foundation of this process and will create a ripple effect in your life. Now, how to pause will look different for everyone.
For me, this layer happened “backwards”. I learned to take BIG pauses, first. My type-a self scheduled them in instead of taking a moment here and there. After my baby was asleep it was me time.
When I made time for the pause, it signaled the habit of choosing pause. Now, I still make big pauses but I am also quick to tune into my breath in the moment of anxiety or frustration with said two year old if needed. Slowing down is no longer foreign, it is welcome.
2. Find Awareness During Pause
OK, congratulations -- you’ve learned to change gears. Next is emotional roll call. Slowing down gives us an opportunity to check in with ourselves. Throughout the day we put our energy and attention to what’s in front of us. When we pause, the only thing in front of us is ourselves. This is the perfect chance to notice how you feel in the moment and reflect on the day or feelings about the future.
I can be a Nervous Nelly. Sometimes I don’t realize I'm anxious but my body does. I will feel short of breath or tight in my stomach. Pausing allows me to connect the dots of my symptoms to what’s going on in my brain. That being said, I’m not always anxious.
Sometimes I’m joyful and grateful or hopeful and those are wonderful emotions to revel in during down time. This layer of awareness gives us a proper platform for action (see next step).
If you’ve been a student of mindfulness or inspirational quotes on Instagram, this is the time to apply those techniques. When you’ve slowed down, recognized what you feel and what you need, you can try some things out! It could be breathing techniques, yoga flows, free journaling, reading, listening, creating. This is your moment to break your norms and try something that will cultivate more joy. When you hear us positivity pioneers saying “choose happiness” this is when you have the option to do that. You take your power and put it where you want to see progress.
4. Collect Data + Finesse
You may not get Step 3 right for you right away. Becoming a master in self care is becoming a master of experimentation. If you tried something and it “didn’t work” take note of what result you were aiming for and why it didn’t meet the expectations.
For example, sometimes I choose reading as my shift when I don’t actually want to receive information but rather, I want to express it. Therefore, journaling is a better fit during those episodes. I still love reading to slow down but I am aware of when it will best serve me.
So, what will happen when you begin to uncover each layer of self care? You will become intuitive about it. You will know yourself so well you don’t have to think about each step. You’ll adapt to your needs in the moment versus not at all or when it’s “convenient”. The confidence you carry will shine onto external areas of your life -- your relationships, your work, your legacy.
Wherever you are in this process, keep going! You will only get better at knowing yourself and when you do that, the world becomes better, too.
Tori Rerick, PharmD is a holistic healer. She deeply believes in the individualization of each person’s healing journey. Her methods are rooted in mindfulness and her mission is to empower women through remembrance of their innate connection to themselves. Her digital workshop, Rx for Self Care, is a guide for learning to love yourself through everyday ritual.