Hi Cooks, Vegans, and Lovers! I’m Stacy and I blog about healthy homemade vegetarian food. Lindsay actually won my blog’s first giveaway, so imagine my surprise when we connected as classmates at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition! Through my coaching practice I help busy people overcome overwhelm and paralyzing perfectionism to take back control of their health and lives.
Lindsay has been insanely busy, so I was thrilled when she asked me to contribute a guest post. She needs time to address all aspects of her life (that’s why we’re holistic health coaches!).
That is why I want to talk about self-care. Self-care gets a bad rap as being selfish, indulgent, luxurious, and unnecessary. Not true.
If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. And if you’re not showing up for yourself, you can’t show up for others.
This lesson can be hard to learn. I am a lifelong perfectionist who believed the mantra, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” And I tried. The results were a crabby, critical, over-caffeinated, insomniac, and unhappy person.
No matter how much easier I made other peoples’ lives, all they did was cause more problems for me to solve. They were looking out for themselves, and I wasn’t looking out for myself – my fault, not theirs. I was worn down, resentful, and couldn’t do my job as well as I wanted. I was trying so hard to be perfect that I actually made more mistakes. Enter self-care.
What exactly is self-care? Self-care is any activity that recharges and nourishes you: exercise, meditation, massage, girls’ night, a book, or a bubble bath. You might have a whole weekend away, or just 5 minutes of peace and quiet. There is no right or wrong way to fit in self-care. You have to start where you are.
Feeling stressed? Think there’s no way you could possibly have enough time and energy to do this? Let’s start small.
Are you sitting down? Posture check! You should feel as if the top of your head is suspended from the ceiling by a string. Plant your feet on the ground. Feel where your body contacts your chair. Inhale deeply through your nose – your shoulders shouldn’t move, but your belly should expand. Hold the breath for 3-5 seconds and exhale fully through your mouth. Inhale again through your nose, hold it, and exhale through your mouth. One more time.
Ask yourself what you need with curiosity, not judgment. Quiet time alone, or in nature? Physical touch? Music, laughter, a cup of tea? How can you nourish that aspect of yourself? Give yourself permission to fulfill your own needs, and banish the expectation that anyone else will do it for you.
If what you really need is a bubble bath but you “don’t have time” because (for example) you have to make dinner for your partner, you resent your partner for not taking care of you AND preventing you from taking care of yourself. Ask your partner to contribute to the meal, or to pick up pizza so that you can at least take a hot shower with an aromatic body scrub for 10 minutes after work. Then you can really enjoy that time with your partner more, without resentment.
Now that you’ve chosen a method of self-care, here comes the hard part: put it in your schedule. Write it down. Make an appointment with yourself. And then show up for it. Start with 5 to 15 minutes and see how you feel.
How are you going to start nourishing yourself?