“Self-care equals success. You’re going to be more successful if you take care of yourself and you’re healthy.” ~ Beth Behrs
First Best Relationship With Yourself
Sometimes it feels like your thoughts and the universes are on the same page. This post has been in the works for awhile, but I just haven’t posted it until now. I have seen a lot of people talk about self-care and self-love in recent days and I am here for it and it seems like this post is timely. It might sounds like alot of buzz words, but self-care and self-love, are so important to ones health. It isn’t selfishness but necessity. ESPECIALLY right now. We can’t give love, be compassionate and kind, be of service to others, and so much more, if we aren’t feeling love towards ourselves and if the proverbial cup is well empty.
I say it often, your first and best relationship begins with yourself. You can not have a worthwhile relationship with ANYONE if you don’t love yourself and if you can’t give yourself what you need first. Not a single person whether it is friend, lover, family member, or another relationship, will be able to help you if you do not help yourself.
This isn’t to say NOT to have relationships, but so often times we look to others to fix ourselves. We hope if we find a lover, a spouse, family members, whomever that our “Shizzle” will automatically be fixed. That we will be healed, or will be able to cope with whatever is happening, when the truth is NO ONE can fix what is going on internally with in us, but ourselves. You, and you alone have to do the work, whatever that means to you. And you have to keep doing it.
Discomfort is the cost for a meaningful life
Life is a journey. Our mental health is a journey. And it is constantly evolving and changing. It isn’t always going to be easy. It is going to be filled with struggle and strive, but as my friend Alexa Silvaggio said:
“Discomfort is the cost of admission for a meaningful life. When shit is hard you are living full out.”
If we didn’t have that struggle, we would never be able to appreciate the good. This past year has shown us that. It has turned our world upside down, but it has also, at least for me, made me really appreciate and focus on what I am grateful for, what I love, and what and who I want to focus my energy on. It has also further drilled into me, the importance of self care, which is different for everyone as our needs are different.
Self care Helps Us Cope Not Stop
I truly believe that if it makes YOU feel better, it isn’t selfish, superficial, nor frivolous. Spa days are just as important as meditation or prayer. A run can be equally beneficial as baking or sitting in front of a television eating Cadburry eggs and doing some Netflix and Chill. It is the intention behind it that matters as well as the balance.
If you are drowning in alcohol or hardcore binging on food so you don’t have to deal with your emotions, that isn’t self-care. It is avoidance. If you are drinking a margarita and you are rocking out to music, because you need to let loose, and get energy out, or soaking in a tub with a glass of vino, to unwind and relax, that is self-care. It is the intention behind the actions. Are you doing something to calm yourself? Or are you doing something to avoid?
Avoidance isn’t all bad. It is a coping mechanism we sometimes need, especially when we are hit with unbearable pain and tragedy. At the same time we can’t avoid pain. It is inevitable, especially if we want to live a fulfilling life. Self-care doesn’t keep us from not experiencing pain, but it does help give us the tools to face it. To handle it, without spiraling.
Intentions and What Works For Me
When I was in recovery, I learned a lot about intention. What was my intention when I ate something? Was I using food as a crutch to avoid and forget or was I being present? Our intention shapes our self-care. Self-care isn’t designed to cleanse us of all our problems, but helps enable us to handle and channel them in a healthy manner.
Yoga is something that has helped me tremendously, both with recovery, as well as dealing with external stressors. It isn’t doing ten Sun Salutation A’s that has helped me cope, but the breathing whilst doing it. It is the learning to be present in the moment, to pause, and be conscientious of not just my movements, but my thoughts. Just the act of intentional breathing, is yoga in practice and can help calm both on and off the mat. When you can reconnect with yourself and focus on you, you are giving yourself not only self-care but tools to handle the external forces.
It isn’t just yoga, meditation or heck going to therapy, which I am a strong proponent in. I am sure you have heard the saying that “If you go to the doctor for physical health, why not go for mental health?” And it is very true. Sometimes we do need something as frivolous as a spa day, to rejuvenate ourselves, or Netflix and Chill kinda night. But self care can also be movement whether it is running, going for a walk in nature or having a dance party, even if it is a party of one, where you are bopping out to nineties boy band music.
Journaling is another way that I can give myself self-care, whether it is organizing thoughts, giving daily gratitude, scripting, or losing myself in my novel, it is a way to clear my mind and put it to paper. I know it is no surprise to you all that going to the beach is another way I give myself some self-care. Listening to the waves and breathing in the salt air is an instant mood lifter.
I am also a strong proponent that sometimes we all need extra help, not just the tools we learn to give ourselves, but sometimes we do need anti-depressants or anti-anxiety or CBD medications. And if you feel like you need something more, I strongly urge you to talk to your doctor. There is NOTHING wrong with that, nor should there be any shame or stigma attached to it.
Taking care of yourself is the ultimate act of love, and it is different for everyone. Whatever YOU need to give yourself some TLC and refill that cup that has runneth empty, do it! Because when our hearts are full and our cups are plentiful, we can share it with others. We can be love and we can help spread it and share it in this world in a truly authentic way.
What do you do to give yourself self-care? How do you practice Self-Love?