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“True self-care is making the choice to
build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.”
Last week, I opened my free webinar with the above quote. It’s beautiful and timely, and cuts right through the indulgence-focused, consumerist version of self-care. This quote takes us to the meat of the issue. Before we even talk about how to kickstart your self-care routine, we need to get clear on what self-care actually is.
True self-care flows from a strong, consistent connection with your self.
It looks different for every single person.
True self-care is an extension of honesty with yourself.
True self-care is rooted in self-trust.
Ultimately, self-care is about designing a life you love.
To help you really apply this concept to your actual life, keep these guideposts in mind:
Commitment to self-care is important; flexibility is non-negotiable.
It’s important to have a throughline of commitment when it comes to self care. To decide you will take good care of yourself matters. To look ahead, from tonight on, and visualize self-care practices and routines and outcomes – that’s all important.
But commitment without flexibility is useless.
Flexibility is nonnegotiable.
Because life will happen. Life will get in the way. A kid will need help or you’ll get sick or work will explode or your marriage will flounder… Or, on the flip side, you’ll go on vacation for two weeks or you’ll welcome a new baby or you’ll plan a wedding or you’ll get a huge promotion…
It’s not only the “bad” stuff that will derail your self-care. The good, the welcome, the happy stuff can get in the way, too.
One or some or all of these things WILL happen to YOU.
You are not the exception to the rule. The key is to accept this NOW so you can lean into flexibility.
Flexibility is nonnegotiable because it connects us to self-compassion.
All roads to change are PAVED with self-compasssion.
You here with me now – you want to kickstart your self-care routine, right? You’re interested in changing your habits. You want some change. I’ll say it again:
All roads to change are PAVED with self-compassion.
Flexibility allows space for self-compassion.
So when you sleep through your alarm or miss a workout or coast through your therapy session or skip your meditation, you can take a minute to remind yourself that FLEXIBILITY IS KEY. In that minute, in that space between getting “off track” and rerouting toward self-care, flexibility encouraged self-compassion.
Gentle movement toward self-care, gentle stretching of yourself, gentle rerouting as many times as needed.
You get to decide what is actual self-care and what isn’t.
You are the expert on your life.
You are the only person who has truly lived your life and experienced your reality.
You are the only one who knows how it feels to be you.
You are the only person who gets a vote in what is actual self-care for YOU.
Self care is about the self after all… your self-care is about you.
You’ve heard me and probably lots of other people talk about the benefits of meditation and yoga and journaling.
Maybe you have a best friend or sister or mentor who trains for marathons
Repeat after me: GOOD FOR THEM. Really, truly. GOOD FOR THEM. They have found their self-care.
Instead of trying to replicate their version of self-care, use the fact that they have found a self-care routine that works for them as inspiration and permission for you to find your OWN.
Focus on how it feels to treat yourself the way you do, in every way.
How does it feel to go to bed when you go to bed, wake up when you wake up, eat what you eat, drink what you drink, think what you think, move how you move, talk to who you talk to, read what you read. Etc etc etc.
True self-care can happen in any moment, in any action, in any decision.
True self-care is never one and done. It’s an ongoing, all-important life process. Because again this is about your relationsihp with yourself – which really is truly the most important relationship of your life.
You’re already taking care of yourself. Yes, you!
It’s really valuable to recognize that you are already taking care of yourself.
First of all, you’re here, taking time to learn and connect with yourself. That counts!
More than that though, you already have some habits in place that help you take care of yourself.
If you brush your teeth, you’re taking care of yourself.
If you shower, you’re taking care of yourself.
If you pay bills, do laundry, keep some food in the house – you’re taking care of yourself.
YOU ALREADY HAVE A SELF-CARE ROUTINE
We are not starting from scratch. We aren’t reinventing the wheel. You aren’t behind.
The title of this webinar is a bit deceiving: I don’t know that we’re kickstarting anything so much as we’re acknowledging the self-care that’s already in place and expanding on it. But that’s not as neat of a webinar title so…
But really, it is so so important to acknowledge the self-care you’re already using. The tools that you have already put in your toolbox and pull out.
EVEN IF THOSE TOOLS AREN’T “HEALTHY”
Let’s take the morality out of self-care. There is no right or wrong way to practice self-care.
Eating an entire box of cookies while watching The Office at midnight IS SELF-CARE.
Sleeping until noon IS SELF-CARE.
Overspending, avoiding friends, procrastination… it’s all self-care. I promise.
HOWEVER: They don’t actually work for you if you’re feeling bad about it the entire time.
Whatever habits you have, if you’re shaming yourself for having them, they do so much more harm than good.
So again, we get to the importance of self-compassion.
All roads to change are paved with self-compassion.
Let the box of cookies and the sleeping in and the overdoing or undergoing and the avoidance and the procrastination… let it all make sense.
Because deep down, it does. You’re doing these things for a reason. You’re getting something out of it. They work for you in some way. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be doing them.
As you continue to develop true self-care, think of it as adding to, not taking away.
We are expanding your self-care practice. We are adding more tools. We’re not banning anything or villifying anything or taking anything off the table.
My hope is, by the time you’ve read this far, you have some ideas of what feels really caretaking to you.
If you’re excited about taking good care of yourself and want some concrete support, The True Self-Care Toolbox is ready to help you develop an easy and dependable self-care rhythm.
The True Self-Care Toolbox is my collection of 40+ short audios. Each recording outlines a specific mental health tool – that’s every mental health tools I’ve collected throughout the last decade in this field.
It’s structured to help you experiment and find which tools fit best for you. You get to customize your self-care toolbox and create a dependable rhythm of connecting with yourself.
These are the tools I’ve found most helpful for myself personally, and these are the tools I teach my clients.
Every monthly webinar is jam-packed with helpful information and hopeful encouragement – and they’re always FREE. Get on my email list and follow me on Instagram to snag one of the limited spots for the next one.