These days taking care of yourself is equated to being on-trend. How can you be a good employee, mother, husband or anything really, if you are not filling your own cup first? But, is self-care the same thing as self-indulgence?
If I could hop, skip and sprint to the spa every time something was stressing me out and dish out a cool four to ten thousand shillings for an hour’s treatment, my life would be sublime. But as it stands, not many of us can truly afford to do that or make time for such trips in a regular workweek. Over the past few months I have been seeking the answer to what self-care means to me and here are a few lessons I can share.
Firstly, caring for yourself does not have to drain your wallet. If anything that will simply add more stress to your life – and you won’t even have the cash left to distract you from it again! By common definition, self-care means taking action to preserve and promote your own well-being. There are activities which do not need financial investment. Taking a walk in the evening, downloading a free meditation app and sipping on some herbal tea are simple, yet effective means to ease your mind and body.
In the same vein, you may think herbal tea tastes like muddy water with bits of worm drifting on top! So, figure out what works for you. Just as every individual has a work-out routine that suits their body, your self-care routine has to cater to your specific needs – how much time you can dedicate to this, any ailments you have, what areas you need more focus on. Try different things to figure out which one you enjoy and feel comfortable adopting. This may take time, but it is eventually worth it.
Also, nothing works wonders in a span of 24 hours. As much as instant gratification would make everything a lot easier, I believe rebuilding and restoring yourself is a process; a labour of love. Creating a routine thus reinstates your commitment to the process and gives you time to adjust. Having a routine can also lead to you including various activities which benefit different parts of your being, from mental to spiritual and physical.
Finally, for the above to manifest entirely it is best to do things one step at a time. If you woke up at 5 am to meditate tomorrow morning, went for a jog right after, sipped some herbal tea from there and had nothing but a green smoothie for breakfast, it is likely that you will not find the will power to do that again for the rest of the week. This is because your body and being is not a machine.
Habits take time to form and its most likely better to introduce one change in your regular routine at a time and keep some things the same. Until that becomes a habit, then you can introduce a couple more, and the cycle continues until you are satisfied with your self-care routine.
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Going after yourself like a drill sergeant, targeting wellness as an enemy you seek to subdue won’t work because, after all, caring for your own self has to feel good! Pursuing your own well-being is a process of experimentation, persistence, patience and finally, hopefully, it leads to peace.