Self-care and self-love are the two sensational words on the Internet that are so easy to remember, but hard to practice. Knowing and practising self-love is hard, but it is worth it.
When we buy an expensive watch or a laptop, how well do we take care of it? If a mere watch or laptop that gets replaced needs so much attention, then, doesn’t body, which serves as a vessel for living needs more care and love?
Working hard for so long makes your body tired and exhausted. Every time, I look worn out, I hear suggestions that involve spending time for myself, pampering, and giving a break from the usual chores.
This valentine’s week, I hope you put yourself first before falling in love with someone else. I wish that you give the importance your body, mind and heart deserves. If that happens, people who you choose will have a benchmark of how to treat you, too.
So, where does self-care start?
When I started to realize how critical I have been about myself, I felt that self-love was the need of that hour. I had to start practising self-love, and I didn’t know where to start.
Why not start with taking care of myself? I read books, took long warm baths, and excused myself from chores for some me-time. Although it gave me a good feeling about it for one day, it wasn’t enough.
If you are here, like me, trying to learn how to love yourself, then you must know that it’s a never-ending and constantly evolving process. You keep changing, the needs, dreams and environment subjects to evolution, and therefore, learning to love yourself becomes a continuous process.
But, the basic rule of any love is the same: “Fall in love when you find a person who dynamizes your world. Fall in love with them more when you find their world collapsing one moment at a time.”
Love yourself when you find how good you are at helping others.
Love yourself when you embrace the storms and walk through it.
Love yourself when you get disappointed, cheated on, and somehow, always have belief in love.
Love yourself when things go wrong and you feel dejected.
Love yourself when you make bad choices and suffer with consequences.
Love yourself for the strength you exhibit to pull yourself out of that black hole.
Swear to love yourself at your best, and worst, health and in sickness.
Swear to love yourself no matter what.
Will you be able to take this oath? Will you try harder to keep that promise you made to yourself? Or will you take yourself for granted?
When you are ready to love yourself…
When you are ready to say “Yes, I do…” to yourself every single day, let’s start with self-care routines. As I said before, drinking wine, reading a book or heading to the spa can be relaxing, but the real rejuvenation happens when you learn these little secrets:
Any action requires energy. From moving a muscle to thinking about moving it, involves the transfer of energy. Work requires energy, so does social interactions. Exercise requires energy, so does spiritual prayers.
Hence, self-care revolves around protecting, strengthening, filtering and purifying that energy. While drinking a soda or taking a warm bath serves your body, it won’t necessarily unblock the mess in your mind. While meditation brings peace to your mind and soul, the same won’t heal the excruciating pain you suffer from bad relationships.
That’s why it is equally important to tap on to all kinds of energy every day. It is also necessary to protect and revive them all.
There are four kinds of energy every one of us must focus on: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
We know what and how these energies impact us in day-to-day life. So, let’s see what we can do to tap into each one of them daily. But, before making any change in your daily activities, remember to start smaller.
So, if you are ready…
If you are still here, then let’s start discussing our four-secret areas, shall we?
One might say that body is not something that you should care about. But if your vessel has a hole, and if it leaks, then there is not much you could do about what you are filling in it. The body is your vessel, and it is important to take care of it the way it deserves.
Three simple techniques could pave the way to improve your physical energy:
- 8 hours of sleep at night, and a couple of hours of power nap could increase your memory power. When you find an unsolvable problem or difficult-to-make decision, sleep with it. Think about it with a clear mind in the morning.
- If you could achieve self-control with what you eat, then you can achieve anything. Food occupies the majority of our living. Choose the best kind of food for your body. Add a fruit before breakfast on the menu every day. I heard this one from my cousin. She told me how beneficial it is to have 5-vegetables lunch menu. I practice that mostly and hope it helps you too.
- Yesterday, I told my sister that I am going jogging next week. She laughed at how ridiculous I sound. Exercise is not something that you should take lightly. “You might get leg cramps if you have no prior experience with running a mile before,” she explained. It is important to take it slow when it comes to physical exercise. Even if you can’t attend a gym, try smaller exercises like brisk-walk and squats. A good outdoor sport like shuttle or football could do wonders too. Find time to meditate every day, which redirects your stress and channelizes the energy.
Emotional energy, unlike other energies, doesn’t depend just on us, but on the relationships and the environment, we put ourselves into. We cannot change people or how they behave with us. But, we can establish the boundaries. We can very well define what we will allow and what we won’t.
I am an emotionally draining person, most of the times. Because I lack at setting boundaries, I find myself in deep troubles often. If you are like me, try these:
- Surround yourself with supporting and rewarding relationships. If the people around you, tear you down with their critical opinions, then it is time to ask yourself if your love is worth the pain.
- Learn how you react around some people, or under certain circumstances. You must learn to monitor, identify and acknowledge, and never control. By doing so, you thrive well under pressure, and people will trust to rely on you in a crisis. You make an excellent problem-solver because you will always try to find the root cause of it.
- “Put yourself in other’s shoes, before you speak anything.” By learning empathy, you not only comprehend what others go through but also establish your point assertively. With empathy, you get courage and clarity in setting your boundaries.
- Trust is a tricky thing. It takes years to build in some cases, and seconds to destroy. Look for an honest and vulnerable relationship always. Naked truths, despite being uncomfortable and troubling, can help you establish trust in relationships.
Do you yawn halfway through this blog post? A lot of us have a relatively short attention span. I love coffee, and I think it does me a favour by stimulating my brain. But, the researches and study ask us to ‘put that coffee down.’ Because they seem to have a better solution in hand:
- Learning: Researchers say that learning a new process rewires the brain. Read something different, or learn new technology.
- Sleep: A study at Harvard shows that good sleep increases memory power. It adds quality to the performance of your brain. (but, read the rest before you go to sleep.)
- 80/20 Rule: Focus your 80 per cent of the energy in thinking about the 20 per cent that really matters to your life. Here, I would like to mention the quote that I read long back: “You create more space in your life when you turn your excess baggage into the garbage.”
Some religions incorporate spiritualism in their foundations. Prayers, mediation and going to temples are some of the ways that our religions teach to improve our spiritual energy. But, religion and spirituality don’t have to co-exist. By that, I mean, you can still improve your spiritual energy without following or practising any religion.
- Nature: Nothing is more powerful than connecting with natural forces. Travel to places where nature is at its best. Dive deep into the sea, or do a sky-diving. Or simply, remove your shoes and put your foot firmly on the wet soil.
- Reflect: Writing a diary is the best form of reflection one can do to know about themselves. Acknowledge the questions from your inner voice, and analyze how supporting or helpful your inner critic is to you.
- Mission, Vision and Values: Find your ikigai. Ask yourself until you find an answer: “why am I living this life? What purpose do I have? What am I doing to fulfil it? What values do I respect and follow?” Keep yourself aware and informed of ‘the calling’. The path of finding one’s Ikigai is a pursuit of one’s real happiness.
Self-care is not about doing activities that make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated one single day. It is learning about yourself. How about making a simple to-do list with four points, each enlightening a small change towards the four energies described above?
With that, I will mention this one last thing before leaving you to your thoughts: “Self-care is a continual process. By tapping into different energies, we can learn to prioritize and love us the way we deserve to be loved. By making self-care an everyday choice, we could become more peaceful and stress-tolerant.”
Hope it helps you,
With lots of love,
Sahana, aka, the Tummy Mummy.