I’ve had quite a few people ask me recently what I do for self-care. It made me pause for a moment because I realized I do not have a traditional way of self-care. Many people think of doing yoga, working out, meditating, or only eating certain things. People are surprised when I say I really don’t have a formal self-care plan. Yes, I am fortunate enough to do Reiki as a business. And receiving the energy as I do sessions for clients is so beneficial. But the recent conversations made me really think about the idea of self-care and how we define it. Some people think of self-care as being restrictive. Not doing the fun things, restricting things in our life, or being “responsible” when we don’t want to. But if we think about it, is it really self-care to do something that doesn’t feel good in the moment? If your body is tired and you are stressed out, is it self-care to force yourself to do a hard workout? Or to even do a long meditation when you are exhausted? You may even criticize yourself that there is something wrong with you for being tired. Which is the complete opposite of self-care and love. So, are we looking at self-care in the wrong way? Do we need to redefine what self-care means to us? How can we truly take care of our energy, emotional and physical self?
Some of you know my story of working in a very stressful corporate job and finally getting out just a few years ago. I was like most people just doing the job, trying to get through each day the best I could. If I worked hard maybe I could get ahead, make more money, rise the corporate ladder. But what I was really doing was constantly hurting myself with the unnecessary stress, pain and unloving attitude towards myself. It took me over a year to just unwind from the stress and state of being I was so use to. And after all this time I can see just how bad that lifestyle and job where for me. My big epiphany was stress is bad, wait no stress is a killer. It didn’t matter how much I tried to improve myself by working out, eating better, or meditating. It was always going to be an ongoing battle with the constant stress I was feeding my body and then what I was doing that I thought would counter that stress. It took a while, but I finally realized for me the idea of self-care was to eliminate stress. I had to remove the sources of the stress not just deal with the symptoms. Even after quitting my job, it is still a choice of what I want and will allow in my life. Deciding what brings me happiness, love or joy? And putting up boundaries to anything that would add stress or pain to my life.
So think about how are you choosing self-care in your life? What are you choosing to participate in? Is it a stressful job, relationship, environment, or activities? Are you giving yourself the love and grace to just be? Or even to bring in energies that feel good? Are you happy with yourself? Do you love yourself? Or are you critical and have high expectations? All of these small things are the source of stress, pain and unloving energy. Some of us can treat our bodies and energy like a trash can. Overstuffing it with things that are bad for us or cause us energetic harm. We keep filling it and filling it. And then we wonder why we feel so bad or things hurt. While true self-care allows energetically aligned things to flow through you. Things that make you happy and feel love can flow through your energy easily and enhance it. If we use the trash can example, think of your daily sources of stress. How much are you piling in your body’s energy field? And then how much work does it take to get rid of the stress from your energy? And is that process of removing the stress also stressful and exhausting? Instead start by remove the sources of stress in your life.
It may sound simplistic to just get rid of stress. But for many of you it is more complicated than that. You may have to make bigger changes like leaving a job, relationship or moving. Sometimes the change can feel scarier than staying in harmful energy. It may take a lot for you to finally say it is enough and a change is needed. You may have to change your belief system in order to see a different way. And what if the only energy you receive is by being in stress or being a victim? You may actually get energy from people that feel sorry for you, give you sympathy and that may be enough for you. If you are healthy and practice self-care you may not get that sympathy energy from others, but you will be able to give the energy to yourself! So even though it sounds simple to just remove stress, there can be many things that actually keep us on the endless wheel. Can you take a hard look at your life and see what might really be holding you from removing stress? Are you at your breaking point and need to make changes? Have you had a health issue that is causing you to see how things are not working?
Take some time to figure out what self-care really means to you. It could be saying no to friends or family. It might be not overextending yourself to others. It could be a quiet morning with a good cup of coffee or tea. It could be finishing a project that you really would love to get done! It could be putting your needs first. It might mean taking a lower paying job to leave a stressful one. It can be finally removing the sources of stress in your life. So instead of letting stress in and then having to clean it out, save yourself the extra step. Take the steps needed to remove stress from your life. Make the bigger changes to true self-care and see how much easier, healthier, and successful your life can be!