Updated: Sep 13, 2020
Does the idea of taking time for yourself make you feel selfish? As a massage therapist, I've noticed people tend to wait until the absolute last minute before taking any time for themselves. Their body can be screaming at them to stop, but time and again they decide that pushing through is far more important. It's as if they're a bad person if they decide they are worthy of their own time and attention. Does this sound familiar?
As a yoga teacher, massage therapist, and meditation teacher, I like to think I have some experience in self-care (as well as the care of others). From my perspective, self-care is the most selfless thing you can do. It gives you essential nourishment for the rest of your day. This nourishment will give you the energy that you can spend on improving your life, as well as the lives of those around you. We are living in a crazy time for more reasons than we can count. We are all experiencing stress levels far beyond what one would consider "normal."
Now, more than ever, self-care should be an essential part of your routine.
Self-care allows you the time to reconnect with yourself, reassess your direction, and recharge your batteries. How can you expect to be there for anyone else if you are always half empty? Even your phone goes into "low power mode" when it has 20% of its battery left. Ask yourself; what are you operating on, on a daily basis? Are you in low-power mode? Are you in need of a recharge?
Now don't get me wrong, I understand that life is, well, life. Sometimes you need to dip into the reserves. Whenever you do this, however, you must realize that eventually, you are going to have to pony up. You are accruing a debt that cannot be paid off with one good night's sleep or an afternoon nap. Consistency creates resiliency in your system. It allows for days where you can drop into the reserves without the train coming off the tracks. So what do you do to take care of yourself on a more regular basis? Here are a few options to try out.
Read a book
Spend time in nature
Put your phone away (and on silent)
I hope this can be a gentle reminder to be easy with yourself. You don't need to be on overdrive 100% of the time. In fact, you may find that your productivity and creativity increase the more you spend time on yourself. Eventually, the scales tip in your favor, and self-care won't feel like a burden. It will be an integral part of your routine that allows the rest of your day to run more smoothly. So ask yourself... How can I take care of myself today?