How You're Missing Out On Real Self Care (And What You Can Do About It)

How You're Missing Out On Real Self Care (And What You Can Do About It)

It's been a rough couple of months, but I'm back. This journey has been revealing, to say the least.

(Now, please note, this is LONG and I am going to get deep and crazy personal here so if you're not into that kind of thing, please feel free to skip this post. Or jump down to the tips here. That being said, I am sharing some golden nuggets I've discovered through this struggle.)

Backstory- my oldest sister (I'm one of three) Jessica had been battling metastatic breast cancer for the past few years. After her 4th hospital stay in as many weeks, she decided she'd had enough and chose to enter into hospice care. That was early May. After 2 months, she passed away on July 8th. She fought long and hard, and was even in the "transition" phase for almost a WEEK before she passed. She kept us all guessing, right until the end- in classic Jessica style.

Now... going through this has led me to a path of major introspection. Losing someone close to me always leads to me re-evaluating basically everything- how I spend my days, my legacy, the whole deal. And what I realized is that I'm at the point that I know what I want, and that major change is GOING to come. Because life is too damned short for it not to. 

Jessica was 52. She died a month before her 53rd birthday. My mom died at 72. I'll be 40 in less than 4 years. So.... I have this insane sense of urgency. And one of the things I realized as this tragedy brought me physically, spiritually and emotionally to my knees is that my self-care game is SHIT. I fell off that wagon hard. 

What is self care, really? In my mind, it basically means taking care of yourself- giving to yourself- space, time, love. joy. What most of us talk about when discussing self care is hair appointments, mani-pedis, and boozy brunch with our girlfriends. Those things are great but they aren't real self care. They're more like self-maintenance-  and I'd say a good chunk of us do that BS for other people instead of ourselves anyway. Feeling pretty can make you feel better, but it's really only part of the puzzle.

When I say self care, I'm talking about DEEP shit. Soul stuff. You know, the inner work we put off until the walls are falling around us & we can't move for fear of getting conked on the head. Meditation, prayer, connection. Exercise. Eating well. Saying what we actually feel. Giving ourselves the time and space to FEEL our feelings so we can work through them. Exploring things we want to do for ourselves (and only ourselves). All that stuff that gets thrown right out the window when our schedules get packed. And ironically, that deep soul stuff that is KEY to making sure we don't go bonkers when our schedules get packed.

So what do we do to fix it? How do we get tuned in to real self care? How do we get reconnected to what we really want? How do we remember who WE are in all this commotion? The goal is to feel more grounded and centered in your true self, which in turn makes you feel like you can do anything, and tackle that to-do list like a boss. Here's what I've been doing - two little steps get you started.

I've been tuning into what I'm really feeling by asking a lot of questions. 
I follow my emotions. When I don't do this, I end up a suppressed, frazzled mess. It's not pretty. I follow the energy that's flowing through me and I honor it. I ask myself "What do I need right now?" If I feel like I need to cry, I do that. If I want to laugh, I do that. If I need a few moments of quiet, I go hide from my kids in the bathroom. I look for the thing that will take my vibration up a notch or two, or provide an outlet.

I spend time, even 5 minutes a day, doing something just for me. 
- Recently I've gotten into coloring again. I love to play with color and express myself visually, so this has been fun. And there's something so soothing about mindlessly filling in the white space. Sometimes if I'm not in the mood to color, I meditate for a few minutes, sometimes I journal, sometimes it's listening to my favorite music. However you spend your time, make sure it makes you feel GOOD.

And I'm serious when I say that this is all it takes to get started. Self care doesn't need to be complicated. In fact, starting simple makes it easier to get done, so it becomes something you look forward to instead of the first thing to get dropped off your to-do list. 

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading!

What does your self-care routine look like right now? Is it providing you with a way to reconnect with yourself? Let me know in the comments!