Notice your energy levels right now.
Now, notice what happens to your energy levels as you read the following list:
‘I should meditate every day – at LEAST twice a day!’
‘I should be out running every day.’
‘I should be doing my yoga.’
‘I should be better at making time for quality time with my friends, family and partner – that’s self care, too.’
‘I should be batch cooking every weekend so I, too (like the imaginary multitudes in my imagination who have life sorted), can make effortless, healthy, nutritious and delicious meals throughout the week.’
‘I should be on top of my finances. I’ve been a grown up for a long time now. That’s basic self care.’
‘I should be better at asserting myself and setting boundaries.’
‘I should be doing all of this perfectly so I model good self care and my kids grow up internalising how THEY should care for themselves and how THEY’RE worthy of self care. Oh my God/dess. If I don’t get this sorted right now, I’ll be dooming the next generation!’
Do all the ‘should’s you’ve internalised about what self care ought to be like have you feeling exhausted and like you’re failing at it?
If you’re anything like me, you might notice your heart sinking and a heaviness taking over, making you want to make less healthy choices just to numb that controlling, critical inner voice.
I don’t normally tell people what to do. (My name’s Eve and I hate being told what to do.)
But I’ll make an exception.
Stop shoulding yourself!!!!
Self care isn’t about adding yet more pressures to attempt to live up to.
People (myself included) can share ideas to help you take better care of yourself and reap the rewards BUT YOU KNOW YOURSELF BEST.
Self care is about being NICE to yourself.
The practices you haven’t made time for may well be wonderfully beneficial but if you’re using them as a stick to bludgeon yourself with, the idea of self care will be triggering a stress response instead of helping you take a breath and connect with your Self,
I made it clear in my book’s intro that readers can use 365 Ways to Feel Better: Self-care Ideas for Embodied Wellbeing anyway they want. Start on New Year’s Day and work through the year, start with the day they are on or use the index or even ask for guidance ans open at random. Not all the ideas will be everyone’s cup of tea.
We have machines to tell us when to breathe and move and sleep… These activity, sleep and heart rate trackers can be wonderful but not instead of our best guide: Noticing how we FEEL.
Sleeping and resting when we need to (or want to!), spending time with people we love, doing what feels like fun to US, eating when we’re hungry, drinking when we’re thirsty, honouring our need to move and be active in different ways….
We can simply go back to basics and get into the habit of checking in with our Self.
That wise, intuitive, miraculous part of yourself.
What do you need right now?
What will support you right now?
(If you don’t know, take some extra pressure off: What MIGHT support you right now?)
You don’t need anyone else telling you what’s right for YOU.
What’s right for me might not suit you at all.
What’s right for me right now might be the opposite of what’s right for me in 30 minutes, let alone what self care would mean for me tomorrow.
The more attuned we get to our Self, the easier it gets to listen to that inner wisdom.
The easier LIFE gets because we’re using our whole self – mind, body, heart and soul – to navigate it.
Decisions get easier when we practice doing as much as possible of what feels good, what brings joy, what feels expansive and light.
And as little as possible of what feels heavy, constricting, exhausting.
If that’s all the shoulds you’ve added to your self care goals, let them go!
Trust yourself to make great decisions for yourself and everyone else involved.
The more you connect with your Self, the more open-hearted you’ll become – self care is far from selfish and it’s wonderful that so many people are embracing the idea of priorising it more.
Self care can be indulgent. It can be life saving. It can be somewhere in between.
Don’t let it become another burden.
You don’t need me or anyone else to help you listen to that wisdom you already possess.
But if you think some self care coaching or counselling would be helpful, I love supporting people as they learn to reconnect with that inner wisdom, their body’s wisdom and that part of them that’s so much more than all the stresses and strains.
Happy Monday and big love,