We can all neglect self-care sometimes, especially when life gets busy. That looks different ways for different folks. Sometimes we let ourselves go, physically. Maybe you start to shortchange your sleep. Perhaps you start to get loose with your food choices. It might be that you skip the workout day after day.
And other times, we neglect ourselves spiritually. Perhaps you begin giving in to gossip. It might be that you find yourself complaining a lot. Maybe the judge in your head gets a little aggressive with the gavel. The worst is a bit of both, you stop taking care of yourself physically and then start berating yourself about it.
For me, I start dropping off the little things that taken alone seem harmless enough, but are such necessary steps to taking care of myself. One example is in my yoga practice. If you are not familiar with yoga, all practices end with the same pose. Savasana, the corpse pose. You basically lie on your back and relax your whole body while simultaneously doing a little mini mind clearing. It’s my favorite. However, I will start to omit it from my practice when I get too busy and am trying to squeeze as many strengthening poses as I can into a short period of time. I leave out the pose I like the best. The one I would argue is probably the most important for me. So that’s a great indicator that I need to up my self-care game.
One of the best ways to take good care of your spirit is to keep the promises you make to yourself. The flip side of that is the suffering caused by constantly breaking promises to yourself. That’s another way I know I’m letting my self-care slip. I start breaking promises to myself, promises like getting up an hour early to write, getting in a daily workout, braving the cold to take my walk, leaving the chips alone in the pantry, etc …
One broken promise doesn’t seem like much. But one broken promise every day starts to add up and then several broken promises become dozens before you know it. When you start doing that, your ego gets involved and can get pretty nasty expressing its disappointment.
For more about the ego, click here.
I once heard author Gregg Braden say that by placing your hands on your heart, you can literally shift your attention from your mind to your emotions. And when my ego is going crazy, I want to reconnect to my heart. I find that whenever I place my hands on my heart I automatically go into self-care mode. It’s like I suddenly hear a quiet and compassionate voice ask the question, “What does Stacy need?”
I like to add onto this practice if I am being particularly hard on myself. If you picture someone who loves you very much and is consoling you, they might be rubbing your arm to try and soothe you. They might be saying, “It’s okay, sweetie. No worries.”
So I rub my own arm. Our hands are wonderful little magic makers, and we can use the power of physical touch on ourselves, too. I soothe myself with those comforting words. “It’s okay, sweetie. No worries.” I find that this softens everything. It softens me towards myself. It opens up my heart again. It gives me hope that I will keep my promises in the future. It returns me to love and the importance of self-care.
Some people are really good at leaning on others for care. They are able to reach out to be soothed and consoled. I’m not one of those. I have always been very independent in the care department. (I’ll take care of myself, thanks.) I could definitely benefit from opening myself up a little more to care from others but regardless, it makes it all the more vital that I do a good job of it. I have to make it a priority if I’m leaving it exclusively up to me.
So, I try to heed the little flags that I’m neglecting it. I try to keep my promises to myself. I try to soothe myself when I’ve failed on both counts. Because at the end of the day and the end of my life, albeit one filled with so much love, I’m really all I’ve got.
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