I am a big believer in self-care. I think nourishing your body, your mind, your spirit is essential to moving through life with compassion, with understanding, with purpose. Giving yourself permission to be loved by you is huge. We’re so hard on ourselves, we demand so much. We overwork ourselves, and we can be unkind and unfair in our self-talk. Self-care, to me, is the practice of loving yourself.
Self-care looks different to different people. For some people, it might mean a massage or a pedicure. And while it absolutely can look like that–who doesn’t love to be pampered?–self-care doesn’t need to be about pampering, and it certainly doesn’t need to be expensive. Self-care shouldn’t be elitist. It’s not about having the most expensive beauty products, the best personal trainer. Again, you can have them, they can be a part of your own self-care, but they aren’t necessary.
Today I thought I would share how I try to practice self-care in my own life, and what self-care looks like for me.
5 ways that I try to make self-care a part of my every day life
Journal + reflect.
If you don’t like to write, you don’t have to, but I know for me, writing helps me better flesh out what I’m thinking. I think reflecting on your life is so important, because it’s so easy to fall into your routine, to settle, and not really ask yourself how you feel about your life. Are you happy? What do you want to see more of? What are you not spending enough time doing in your life? For me, I felt like I wasn’t being creative enough, and I was getting the self-expression that I so deeply crave. Ask yourself what elements in your life you’re happy with, and what you want to see in your future. You can write it down, or draw it out, or just let your mind wander.
Find time alone.
This has always been a big one for me: I tend to get very snappy and irritated when I don’t get time to myself. Whether that’s cooking in my kitchen (Allie has definitely seen the wrath of trying to lend a hand when I want alone time), going for a walk or just reading in another room, sometimes I need to be alone. I grew up in a fairly big family, so I love to be around lots of people, talking endlessly. But even my family will tell you that I’ve always needed space to myself to decompress, and recharge. I’m sure most people do. So for me, self-care looks like not being afraid to ask for that time, even if it means not going to an event or getting out my pajamas.
Be a part of a community.
On the flip side of that, I think community is huge for self-care. We need to surround ourselves with other humans, we need to feel like we’re part of something bigger than us. I am such an advocate for creating community, and to be honest, it’s still something I’m always trying to expand on here in Toronto. I go to a lot of health events around the city, like talks, workshops, trade shows, and cookbook signings; I have the fitness studios I work out at; I make regular time for my friends and co-workers. People sometimes think of self-care as being selfish, but to me, self-care also means being involved and caring about other people. It means surrounding yourself with people that make you feel good about yourself.
If you have health benefits, take advantage of them.
Okay, here’s where I think massages enter into self-care: making sure to take advantage of your health benefits. This was something I tried to make use of as a student, and something I definitely try to make use of now. Use the resources you have access to. Only it’s not just massages. It’s the dentist. The optometrist. The chiropractor. The therapist. The acupuncturist. I love having a team of people that help me to take better care of myself. And this is something I’ve had to work on: up until last year I hadn’t been to the dentist in (I’m embarrassed to say) over six years. Thankfully, my teeth were fine, but if you have the option, make sure you schedule those appointments to look after yourself. I even have my first therapist appointment next week–which I’m sure you’ll be hearing of on the blog. Even if you don’t have benefits, make sure to go see a doctor regularly, talk to a friend, call a hotline–do what you can to look after yourself.
This one may not resonate with everyone–I know not everyone feels creative, or feels the need to be creative. But still, I think being creative, and the very act of creating, gives us purpose and makes us feel capable and accomplished. I think creativity can look like almost anything. For me, it’s cooking, writing, photography, drawing, DIY projects, and moving my body. But it can be so many other things. Like math or problem solving. Building furniture. Anything that requires you to look at something different, to think outside of the box, can be a creative venture in my books.
I think fluid is going to be my word for 2018. I think it just sums up exactly how I want to be feeling in my life. To me, being fluid is going with the flow. It’s not being rigid. It’s not knowing, but moving forward anyway. It’s being uncomfortable. Uncertain. I had a conversation with a friend recently who pointed out that feeling uncomfortable and afraid was important for growth, for personal development. We don’t benefit from being stagnant, from standing still. We need the freedom to explore who we are, to transition, to embrace change. To be open.
How do you make self-care a part of your life? What are your own practices? Let me know in the comments!
Have a wonderful weekend + don’t forget to make time for yourself,