When someone mentions self-care, I literally conjure up feelings of maternal instincts… like nurturing your inner child. A need to play, heal or even practice discipline can be expressions of self-care. As an empath, I believe in the energetic expression and transfer of matter. As a people-pleaser, I’m guilty of sometimes letting the basic idea of self-care slip away from me.
Practically, self-care looks like breathing in child’s pose, using aromatherapy to lift my mood, and most notably saying NO without needing to explain myself.
I’ve become very mindful of people and things that harm my quest for self care. I’ve severed ties with a toxic work environment, or friendship or relationship. And beyond the surface habits of throwing on a onesie (what? Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it), and some fake eyelashes to lift your spirit…
For me, self-care is about doing something I may or may not want to do, but knowing instinctively that my soul and overall being is crying out for it.
My arrival at the realization for self-care was literally a matter of life and death. I grew up with a bunch of dirty punk rockers and didn’t even know what self-care looked like in any shape or form. 11 years ago, I was diagnosed with brittle type-1 diabetes: child onset, hereditary, and incurable. No one in my family history has it, but here I was at 20, with this disease. No ‘expert’ was able to explain it, and I realized that I just had to accept it. I’ve got 11 years’ worth of gnarly ‘near death’ stories, with awful doctors, wacky treatments, ER visits, ambulance rides…
To add insult to injury (literally), I can recount horrible relationships, unhealthy work environments, and on and on. At some point, I came to recognize the pattern (see: death spiral), and decided to take matters into my own hand and learn how to actually take care of myself.
I’ve learned that self-care is free and accessible in terms of energy and money. I’ve also learned that if you don’t actually take care of yourself, you can end up spending way more energy (and money) than you might actually be able to afford.
My personal self-care practice is – on the surface – connected to my blood sugar levels. Over the years, my imbalances have manifested in many different ways. Lately, it’s shown up in the form of panic attacks and fainting. Panic attacks are like dealing with fire and gasoline: if you panic about panic… it just grows. It is literally CRIPPLING when it happens to me. I feel my knees buckle, I start walking like Bambi’s first steps, and I just want to curl up on the floor. My brain wants to go dark so I can just have a pity party and sob and feel sorry for myself.
But I don’t do it.
Instead, I set aside those thoughts and literally summons my BEAST higher being to help. I have to remind myself that an imbalance is occurring, and I need to regain balance. Sometimes, that’s in a Hot Power Fusion class in some powerful pose like Warrior and it HITS me… I’m seeing stars and my tongue is tingly (which happens just before I faint). In that moment, practicing self-care is TAKING A KNEE. Not trying to push through to finish class, and prove that I’m the best yogi ever.
Sometimes the real yoga (not the poses on the mat) is knowing when to stop. Even when I’m at work, doing a client’s makeup, holding my breath while I draw eyeliner for longer than any human should… my anxiety triggers and things start to snowball. That’s when I remember my breath, a higher power, and reach for my highest/best self to summon that energy of healing. For me, actually self care is recognizing the difference between what I actually need versus what my ego wants.
MY FAVORITE SELF-CARE PRACTICES:
-Cleaning: It makes me feel better and I feel like I have a little control. I find it clearing and freeing.
-Making essential oil rollerballs to serve what I feel I need that day, and infusing them with reiki energy.
-Simply digging my feet into the ground and focusing on my physical place, here and now. I visualize roots from the center of the earth to ground me, and repeatedly exhale any negative energy back to the earth to recycle into positive energy.
-I love (LOVE) ignoring phone calls or text messages, and only responding when I’m in the right head-space. I seem to attract people who like to vent and complain, so this has helped me tremendously.
-And as corny as it might sound, visualization helps me a LOT. I recommend checking out The Healing Field!
I remind myself that I matter by remembering that I don’t want to attract the very things that turn my thoughts into a giant pity party. I remind myself that I’m a strong, badass, stubborn brat! The law of attraction theory is what mostly keeps my head above water.
I share my lessons of self care by reminding people of their fingerprints, when they they feel they don’t matter. I remind them that like those fingerprints, they are one of a kind. You are so unique, that there isn’t another soul like you. You are here for a reason. Carry out your mission and don’t take advantage of this breath… this life. You don’t need to be hard on yourself. The world does that enough for you. You are someone special. Of course you matter.