Welcome to The Spark Show! In this episode, I’ll be talking about self-care: why it’s so important, why you shouldn’t believe what people are saying about it, and how you can practice it in your daily life to be the best version of yourself.
First of all, let’s talk about self-care. There is no right way to care for yourself. Only you know how to do that. Only you truly know what makes you feel good, how you feel most nurtured and supported. So, if you haven’t done this ever or in a while, I want you to make a list of things that make you feel good and cared for: physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Let’s talk about physical self-care first. This could be what you eat and put into your body, physical fitness and what you make your body do, and what you use on your body. Maybe it could be really simple like making sure you are hydrated every single day - yes, that’s self care. Or, it could be getting a fitness tracker to make sure you’re moving and taking a certain number of steps every day. Or, maybe you switch to something more natural that’s better for your body. No, it doesn’t mean you have to find time to be at the gym for 3 hours a day. That doesn’t sound like fun to me. But, I do love a good workout and there are things I like to do like hike, spin, and lift weights. You gotta know what you like to do because it’s more likely that you’re going to practice consistently the things you like to do instead of the things that you really don’t want to be doing.
Now, let’s talk about mental self-care. I’ve known for years that if I don’t meditate and do my morning routine, I’m more likely to be frustrated and get into an argument with my husband. That’s just a fact. So, I like to schedule out my morning starting with a dog walk, then a workout, meditation, journaling and affirmations. No, it doesn’t always happen because I’m not perfect. But, I do know that when I stick to that, I’m most productive and I’m also in the best headspace. So, once you find out what works for you, you should practice that. And, I say practice because it’s constantly a practice. I learned this from yoga. They call it a practice because every time you do it, it’s different. You can’t expect your body to feel and move in a certain way. Yoga is about accepting where your body is today, at that moment. Just because you were able to do the crow pose last time has no bearing on you doing it this time. I love yoga because it helps you practice being in the moment. Maybe you’re not into yoga, and that’s okay. Maybe you like to run or take long walks. That’s great! You gotta find out and do what’s right for you.
Now, let’s talk about emotional self-care. I’m a complex human being, I think we all are.
Let me give you an example: I just love the water, I was born on an island, I grew up near the beach, I just love water. So, whenever I just needed to destress or unwind, I would go to the beach (or now the lake) and go for a walk. Or, I would take a bath. Sitting in the bathtub is one of my favorite things to do. It’s the way I can unwind at night, I watch an episode on my iPad, have a cocktail or glass of wine. I have my bath salts and my bubble bath and it’s just something I do for me. Now, I understand some of you don’t have the luxury to do that all the time and that’s fine. That’s why you gotta find out what works for you and your lifestyle. But, I know some moms that take a bath after the kids go to bed and that’s their thing. You gotta find your thing.
Another thing that I love right now are my plants. It may not sound like self-care to you, but for me it is. I love taking care of them, watching them grow, propagating (that’s when you make new plants out of your current plants), and it actually makes me feel calm and peaceful.
So, plants are my thing. Yours can be whatever it is. I know some people who do puzzles or restore classic cars. Some of my fellow creatives, it’s all about practicing an instrument, painting or drawing. Whatever it is, give yourself the gift of discovering that.
One thing that I’ve had to overcome was the belief that self-care is selfish and it took me years to get over the cultural and societal beliefs that I’ve picked up from childhood and beyond that taught me that you’re supposed to put others first and not care if your needs are not being met.
That’s completely false and BS in my opinion because really, if you’re not taking care of yourself, how can you be present and help others? You can’t. Not fully. And, usually what I see a lot of people do, women in particular, is run themselves down to 0% and then be completely exhausted and unable to be there for the people they love.
We end up being stressed out, too tired to put time into our relationships with partners or friends, and then that can manifest into physical illnesses. I’ve seen it happen to people that I love and I don’t want to end up that way.
I don’t want to be in that situation where I put others first and then there’s nothing left for me. Because, I do believe that my happiness is my responsibility and not anyone else’s. I believe that we all owe it to ourselves to be happy and figure out and discover what makes us happy. I think that is our lifelong journey here, and it’s not to figure out what makes our partner happy or what makes our children happy - but to make ourselves happy and that spills out to everyone else around us.
Self-care is essential to happiness and success and when you’re feeling like you need to nurture and take care of you, you should do that. Communicate to whomever you need to - your partner, friends, kids, what you need. Maybe it’s an hour alone or you just need to go for a walk or a workout. Sometimes, we don’t like to ask for help or for support. And when you do, you’ll actually find out that those who love and care for you will be more than willing to help you do what’s best for you.
I want you to do a few things after listening to this episode. Make a list of things that make you feel good physically, emotionally and mentally. And, I want you to do one or even two of those things in the next 24 hours. Ask for help, yes you can. Get help if you need to get this done. And, make a commitment to yourself, your beautiful self who is worthy of love, care and support, that you will do at least one to two things a week just for you. Because you deserve it. Because you are worthy and because you owe it to yourself and the people around you to be the best version of you.
I want you to share a post or story of you practicing self-care this week. Tag me on Instagram @heygwenlane and @thesparkschool, I wanna see it!!
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