Raise your hand if you think self care is selfish? It’s time to fix that! It’s time for some Self Love (checkout our game at the end for inspiration). Yup, Valentine’s Day is here and it’s a reminder of why self care matters. And no, fulfilling your basic needs – like taking a shower – do. Not. COUNT! I get it: this year has been TOUGH. We’re all hitting that pandemic wall. And while there may be a glimmer of light recently, the truth is that we’re still in the thick of it.
We may be over the virus, but the virus isn’t over.
Meeting Your Basic Needs Is NOT Self Care
As we turned the calendar to 2021, we see the messages of self care and self love plastered across our screens, social media accounts etc. But this article summed it up for me. There’s a clear distinction that I want to help you understand. Taking a hot shower or going on a quiet trip to the store without the kids isn’t going to fill your cup and allow you to pour into others. It’s basic hygiene that is a low bar standard for everyone else. What are you doing that’s special for you?
What brings you joy and truly makes you light up from the inside out? It can be simple or as elaborate as needed. Because that’s exactly it…what do YOU need and want? I’ve come into understanding this more fully as I’ve aged a decade this past year, so here are some self care tips that have worked or continue to work for me.
And yes, we’re doing this for Valentine’s. Because, as Ru Paul says…
Why Choose A Self-Love Valentine’s Day?
Self-love is about more than thinking you look good. It’s a deeper appreciation and understanding of your whole self; body, mind and spirit.
Your body is a gift. It’s a vessel which carries you throughout the trials and tribulations of everyday living. Yes, how you choose to re-fuel and take care of this vessel are acts of self love. But your body will know the difference when you are giving it what it needs and wants, versus treating it like just a box to be carried in.
We all get hung up on our imperfections, so the more we tell ourselves: I am whole, I love myself, I love my body, my body is worthy of love, and I am worthy of love, the more you will believe it. I recommend checking out my favorite show (if you haven’t already), Episode 421: Body Image. It’s time we start loving ourselves. Period.
Types of Self Care
While there are many ideas of self care, most can bucket them into a few areas:
Mind: Emotional Self Care
Mental health is so, so important. And it’s often one of the most overlooked ways of giving yourself love because of the stigmas attached to them. Put those aside, and realize that even what feels like the healthiest of minds need a break and help. Here are a few avenues worth exploring while starting a self-care journey:
If you listen to The Whole View Podcast, you probably already know how much I struggle with the idea of meditation. But the science shows meditation can actually rewire the connectivity between different areas in the brain, limit the overactive flight-or-fight response, and help regulate our hormones. If you’re like me and a guided mediation just isn’t your thing, there are alternatives you can try. It’s not one size fits all, and there are many different shades and colors of it. In Episode 432: Giving Thanks of the Whole View, we dig a little deeper into meditation’s science and practice. It can seem a little ridiculous, but it really is a great way to reflect on mindset while focusing on wellness!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it: there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Life can get messy, and after the year we all just had, it’s okay if you’re not handling as well as you hoped to. Talk therapy is a great way to decompress from the everyday stresses of life. It allows us to target and work on any toxic traits we’re harboring that can sabotage our self-care efforts. If you’re unsure where to start, one avenue is to get a referral from your primary care physician. There are also many online counselors and apps specifically designed to help.
Self Acceptance & Respect
You can both accept yourself as you are, a building block and basic tenant of self love, and want to make improvements to be the best version of yourself. I’d argue that true self love cannot possibly exist without self acceptance. Because when you lose those 5 pounds, or have that nose surgery or get the botox – what happens? Are you magically in love with every other aspect of yourself? No. It’s a perpetual thirst that cannot be quenched. We cannot love ourselves if we don’t accept ourselves. And we must respect ourself enough to strive to achieve it.
Body: Loving Your Physical Self
What we put inside our bodies is just as important as what we put on the outside. That’s why ensuring we’re giving our bodies everything it needs is an act of self love. That doesn’t mean perfectionism – in fact, it often means forgiveness for the inevitable lack of perfection. There are foods that nourish our bodies, and there are foods that nourish our soul. Respecting yourself enough to prioritize both is self care.
I love soups for just this reason. They are great sources of nutrients, including gut-healing amino acid proteins and a broad range of macronutrients from veggies. If you’re looking to try out souping for yourself, check out these 11 delicious soup recipes! All are gluten-free, paleo-friendly, and packed with vitamins, protein, and other crucial nutrients for living and feeling well, inside and out.
Smoothies are another way I love to focus on self-care and healthy choices. Fruits and vegetables are full of gut-healthy and hormone-friendly fiber, and including them in your smoothies can give you an added nutrient boost. We also use healthy fats like nut butter (for more fiber) or avocado and add protein powder and collagen for even more added benefits. Check out these Green Smoothies Recipes for a few ideas to get you started!
Move your body!
This is not about going to the gym to lose weight or become a professional athlete to bulk up! Tho, if that’s what you’re into (for you, not someone else’s opinion of you) go for it! Health is so much more than BMI or the number on the scale. Science has shown that BMI is actually more inaccurate than it is correct, since many thin people have health issues and many overweight people do not. Moving your body is an act of self love because it’s good for you – but also because it makes you feel good. I always get a rush of happy hormones when I’m active, it is the first thing I turn to for self care (other than sleep) because if I’m sleeping and moving usually the rest of my self respect and self care activities fall into place naturally.
Not to mention – sunshine (Vitamin D) is critical for your well being!
Believe it or not, a garden injury caused me to really reevaluate how I defined myself, how I took care of myself, and how I chose to love myself in the context of self-respect and self-acceptance. Before that, I was a competitive athlete and had come into a peace with my body – but only in the context of performance. When you come face-to-face with yourself, you realize there’s a lot there to like. And a lot more love to give!
No seriously. Actually go. to. bed! Silence (do not disturb) or move your phone away from where you sleep. Don’t be on screens an hour or two before you want to sleep. Make it cool and very, very dark. Take magnesium or an epsom soak. Ensure you have a “sense of well being” with yourself and/or with a partner. Do what you need to fully relax your mind and enjoy deep restorative sleep. It is when your cells replenish themselves. Those with poor sleep patterns are at high risk for a myriad of health conditions – so, taking a nap and going to be early are the ultimate act of self love!
Interpersonal: Your Relationship with Others
Zoom fatigue is a real thing and as someone who works online, manages online schooling for four children, co-hosts a podcast, and uses social media for business – I want nothing to do with yet another screen event to “hangout” with friends. However, it’s more apparent than ever how I (and we all) truly need actual connection with real humans – other than the ones you’re stuck in a house with. yes, even us introvert!
If you haven’t heard of the app Voxer or Marco Polo, you are missing out! These are free apps where you can leave short or long voice and video messages for an individual or a group. This is a perfect way to let out a vent of frustration or a primal scream to a trusted friend. You aren’t uninterrupted, so it’s almost like a mini therapy session. And the friend gets to listen when is convenient for them. I use it for both personal and work purposes.
I do think there can be good human interaction online. I’ve done girls’ night Mahjong via an app we all use to play together live while also video conferencing in, I’ve done happy hours with my team, and tonight I have a Galentine’s White Elephant planned, over Zoom. I’m looking forward to it – despite having had 4 work meetings on it earlier. The organizer pulled names for us, told us who to get a gift for, and then we’ll “pass” the White Elephant virtually and then swap gifts via doorsteps tomorrow. Maybe its the new cat filter I recently figured out how to use that I’m looking forward to most 😉
I also recommend taking intentional screen breaks. Playing games, baking, watering the plants, and working on re-arranging the house have all been ways to disconnect online and connect with people in our lives. I rarely truly unplug, but scheduling a day to disconnect – from the news, from people needing you, from the addiction of the “ding” of your phone can be incredibly restorative!
Schedule your appointments
It may seem like it needs to go without saying, but take some time this week and schedule your annual appointments. It’s so easy for those in a primary caregiver role to put their own wellness aside. And I understand more than anyone how difficult it can be to get time in for these appointments especially during a pandemic. However it needs to be done. I cannot wait another year. Schedule your annual exams, dental cleanings, functional medicine appointments, mammograms, skin checks, etc. You and your body’s health matter!
There is nothing I can describe in a paragraph here that would possibly encompass the complexities of boundaries. As someone who is turning 40 this year, I feel like I’m finally starting to understand and implement them more myself. I’d suggest doing some reading by experts and learn to start saying no. Start asking for emotional validation. Express your emotional needs – both in what you do and do not want.
As a mother, foster resource parent, virtual teacher, business woman, business partner, spouse, friend, chef, homemaker, cleaner, dishwasher, errand-runner, professional hand-washing-monitor, there are a lot of times I could have made my life a lot better by learning to draw boundaries and be clear about them. Remember this:
No one can read your mind. If you aren’t telling people what you need, you can’t expect them to give it to you.
Personal: The Things That Bring Joy
I have been hearing from all of you more than ever, “I just don’t feel myself,” and “I just feel so disconnected.” I’m right there with you. But there are small ways that you can bring that deeper connection to your soul through intentional practices.
Read, Write and Listen
Journal! Or finding an escape within a book someone else wrote. It can be so helpful to your spirit to get lost in an imaginary space, or something to improve yourself. There are also SO MANY podcasts out there to feed your mind and spirit, or distract you with true crime.
Or maybe your listening is to music – we love asking Alexa to play song quiz and as a family battling other families around the world or seeing who knows more in our own house. Make it a dance party! There’s nothing better than letting loose, letting your freak flag fly, and giggling a bit to raise my mood!
Find a hobby
Fun fact: for our training to be foster resource parents, since we are specifically paired with older kiddos who have experienced trauma, we go over ways to self soothe when triggered. Guess what always comes up: hobbies. Kids often point to cooking, baking, doing makeup, indulging in a skincare routine, painting, playing games (I love Mahjong), as ways they can cope. These same strategies work for us when stress is raging. It’s why I’ve become a recovered plant killer during quarantine!
Find your inner plant lady
To help myself through quarantine, I decided to get back into houseplants. It’s one way I can intentionally focus positive energy into something. It give me an avenue when I need a pick-me-up. Maybe you’re not a huge fan of plants, though, and that’s okay! But I can tell you, there is a houseplant for everyone!
Acts of Self Care & Self Love
I’d love for you to play a game of bingo and tag me sharing what acts of self care you’re going to enjoy this month of self love and beyond!
It’s a holiday dedicated to showing love, so why not do something a little different this year and make it about self-love? When focusing on self-love, it’s essential to reflect on your own self-worth and check-in with yourself. Feeling good is integral to overall health, and self-love is a frequent theme in everything I do.
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