When someone mentions ‘self care’ I think of ‘me time.’ I think of the time one spends (or should spend) doing things that enhance their well-being. Although we should all be taking the time to do the things we love or the things that make us feel good, I also think of self care as something rare… something that not everyone feels like they have the luxury to indulge in. You can be successful, healthy, and happy without practicing enough self care, but for how long is the question. For me, self care is the time I spend with myself doing things that are just for me. Things that are not on the to-do list, but can happen if I get my to-do list done. This sounds bad because self care should really be one of the top things on our to-do list, but unfortunately for most of us it is not. Sometimes things I want to do for myself, I end up pushing back days if not weeks or even months.
Occasionally I have moments in time where I realize that I’m doing way too much output and not enough input. The further away these things are from aligning or being even, the closer I get to a mental breakdown where I spend days or even a week being extremely emotional. It makes it kind of hard to hold space for others if I can’t even hold space for myself. How could I coach or guide other people through their emotions or encourage people to let their insides out, when I haven’t even done this for myself? That’s just on a work level. What about all the other people I have to care for, the other relationships I have to uphold, the other people in my life that are counting on me? I came to a realization a couple years ago once my teaching career took off, that if I don’t spend time on myself, I will not be able to continue doing what I’m doing. I love my job, which means if I want to continue serving my students I have to find a way to make my input more equivalent to my output. I also love being a good friend, listener, lover, and supporter for the people in my personal life, which makes that balance of input & output really important as well. The best way to balance: self care.
Self care can look different for each individual. As I have realizations about taking care of myself & spending “me time” I try to share them with others via social media posts, yoga class themes, or personal conversations with my friends and loved ones about how they are taking care of themselves. One thing I find myself having conversations with people about is healthy eating. When I spend time food prepping and planning the way I’m going to fuel my body for the week, I feel like I’ve spent time taking care to ensure energy & sustainability. Health & wellness are so crucial to a happy life. When eating healthy, food prep becomes a task that is both on your to-do list AND on of your self care list. I also find myself talking about rest, downtime, and sleep. These are simple self care subjects or tasks. Everyone has to eat & everyone has to sleep, so these are connective topics for anyone. I know a lot of hustlers and grinders and hard workers. They are awesome, until they burn out. Usually the burn out comes from the lack of…you guessed it…self care!
Sometimes self care can look like getting your nails done, hitting the spa for a day, buying some new clothes or shoes, or giving your chiropractor or acupuncturist a visit. These things cost money, which makes it hard to justify taking the time away to do them. The thing is, there are lots of activities we can do for self care that don’t require us to spend a ton of money. Lately I’ve been really focusing on cooking at home & clean eating. Food prep is sort of relaxing and you’d be surprised at how much you can get done in an hour. I also downloaded a meditation app on my phone that has guided meditations for almost anything you’re going through. The other day I did a ten minute guided meditation in my backyard and it changed my entire evening. Headphones in, sunlight on my face, eyes closed- I sat there and enjoyed being in the moment. It was so nice to hold still. It was free. And it only took ten minutes of my day.
Meditating has been something I’ve talked about doing/ wanted to do for many years now. I finally got around to doing it this week using guided meditation apps on my phone. The guidance is super helpful in bringing my focus inward & calming my mind. Another way I practice self care is to schedule a yoga, dance, or fitness class into my day around the classes I’m teaching. If I can get my practice in, I feel like I have way more to offer my students. I also have been food prepping a ton lately. This helps so that I have energy & feel prepared to move my body all day whether I’m teaching or taking class. Sleep is also major! If I don’t get enough sleep- it’s over. Sleep is important for recovery, and getting enough sleep helps prevent illness & improves my mood. Something I’ve realized overall is that self care is crucial for growth. Whether it’s personal growth, or growth in your career, that “me time” is the thing that can help propel you forward.
Some days it’s hard to practice self care. In an ideal world I’d have balance in my life each and every day. This isn’t always possible and sometimes when I’m feeling overworked I have to remind myself that I deserve to treat myself or at the very least take care of my health and wellness. There are times where I can hit some extreme lows. A competitive career that requires a lot of energy outward can be extremely exhausting. There are weeks where I feel completely drained. The internal pressure for perfection, goals to grow my career into my own business, the feeling like I’m not using all of my tools or creativity that I was blessed with- these are things that build up stress and anxiety in my mind. On top of sorting out these things in my mind, I have to wake up each day and hold space for others. My full time job is to teach, which means no matter how I’m feeling, I have to step into that position each day and have the ability to set my stuff aside. In the moments when I’m feeling really bad, I have to remind myself that I matter and that I deserve to feel good. I want to be the best I can for the people around me that I love, therefore those moments where I slow down and take care of myself are so important. I’ve had to learn how to say no, I’ve changed my diet, I’m working on my sleep patterns, and most importantly I’m truly working to find real self-love by doing the things I need, even when they are hard or take time or money.
It’d be nice for everyone to feel confident with their self care practice. No matter how exhausted I am, my number one thing is to share. Any tools I learn or things I experience that help to uplift me or enhance my health or mental state, I try to share with my students, my friends, and my loved ones. It gives me purpose and makes my heart full to inspire my students and friends to lead healthier, happier lifestyles. One of the best ways to inspire others to do something is to lead by example. If I’m preaching self care, then it’s important that I practice it as well.
Other than my weekly yoga classes at various studios and corporate settings in LA, I’ve started a monthly family yoga class that I like to call a “yoga exploration workshop”. We dance, make noises, and explore movement on and off our yoga mats. It’s a great way to get people moving & practicing self care- especially parents who feel like they don’t have time to step away from their children to take a class. I’ve also expanded my health & wellness coaching & am thrilled to be able to guide friends & family through a 30 Days to Healthy Living program based on a whole food, anti-inflammatory diet. My weekly class schedule, workshop details, and contact information can be found at www.brynnmoves.com or check out my Instagram (@brynnmoves) for weekly yoga and dance inspiration as well as healthy living updates.
*Brynn Fehir is a yoga & fitness instructor, dancer & choreographer, and health & wellness coach in Los Angeles. She is an RYT-200, and holds a degree in Dance from Oakland University.