What is Self-Care?
Self-care is a pretty common buzzword. It’s plastered all social media. It’s everywhere. You have probably been told to increase your self-care practices at some point. Amp up your self-care routine. What is it really? Rather that “shoulding” yourself for not doing enough, not knowing what to do or being overwhelmed by all the things you have compiled onto a mile long list I thought today we would lift the veil on what it is like to create a practical self-care routine. A little secret. It’s much simpler than you think. Sometimes so much so that it seems like there’s more hiding somewhere.
So, what is self-care? I like to think of it as actions we take to build our resilience, to nourish ourselves. To prevent disease and discomfort in the body and mind so we can make healthy decisions, bounce back from challenges, and reduce the impact of stress. It’s about intention, even if we don’t do it in the way we planned it still makes a difference. Our practices shift with us depending on if its a good day, bad day or somewhere in-between. If we are too stringent in our care routine we might experience some energetic backlash. For example, we wake up exhausted. Think we need to do all the things, only get to two or three of them and feel awful. Instead, hey, you did three things to take care of yourself today - that’s awesome.
I think it might be helpful if we break self-care down a bit. I like to think of it as having two primary intentions. One, preventative practices we do to keep ourselves from going deep down into the spiral in the first place. If you’ve been there you totally know what I’m talking about. Two, recovery practices to soothe and mother ourselves on a day that hasn’t been what we hoped. On a bad day...self-care can look like brushing your teeth, drinking a glass of water or taking a shower.
When you put additional pressures on yourself to do, do and do the nervous system gets overloaded and exhausted. Surges of adrenaline may cause the the body to move into a protective collapse or shut down, or it could shift us from metabolizing, assimilating, and other normal functions to all resources being moved to protect us from danger when in reality there's no danger at all. This stress takes precious resources from your immune system as well. Your body has less energy to fight disease, and with continued stress you might develop an autoimmune issue.
More stress = more sick days
According to ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, our ojas, is the way in which we stay strong, clear and resilient. When we work to build ojas we’re nourished, protected, juicy and youthful. Our self-care can also be ojas building such as walking in nature, oil massage, slow-focused asana, or eating ojas building foods such as avocados, bananas, and sweet potatoes. We’ll go deeper into ojas, what it is and how it can support you in the future. For now, I’ve included some self-care ideas that you can print out and use. If you’re feeling stressed and desire additional support tailoring a self-care plan please reach out to schedule an appointment.